HITS AND MISSES 27-29 JULY: HOLY OLYMPICS BATMAN!
With audiences shying away from cinema in favour of four hours gaping at Danny Boyle’s expansive opening and the first couple of days of sweaty Olympian action, only the final, breathless hurdle of Christopher Nolan’s spandex clad threesome, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES made a significant splash this weekend, with a cool £7.1M total. The figure put the film at £30M to date and easily placed Batman and co. at the top spot for a second weekend running. At second place, consistent performer ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT clocked a decent £1.5M, to count as a major upset for kids opener DR SEUSS’ LORAX, which, after disappointing previews last weekend, only managed £1.2M, to scrape third place. What went wrong?
At fourth place, front-loaded smash THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN took a not to be sniffed at £679K in week four, at fifth Steven Soderbergh’s sleeper smash MAGIC MIKE continued to strip the assets of eager punters with £531K in week three, while at sixth place a swift drop in takings for the remainder of the top 10 set in with THE FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT on just £75K in its sixth week. At seventh place in a 29-site launch, acclaimed doc SEARCHING FOR SUGARMAN opened with £46K to average £1.6K, with results perking up on Sunday after the first burst of Olympic enthusiasm had died down. At eighth meanwhile, in a surprise re-entry THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS benefited from a promotional screening across the Vue circuit to clock a healthy £44K from a 170 site special. This put the 18 week old release well above Sony’s other family friendly actioner MEN IN BLACK 3 at tenth, with £34K in week 10.
Of the remaining openers only Bollywood caper CARRY ON JATTA registered an impressive opening with £36.5K and a £4K average from a concentrated nine-site release. A re-release for Antonioni’s classic THE RED DESERT underwhelmed with £4.5K from a three site release, while culinary doc EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS took just £2.6K from a four site launch to average an uninspiring £659.
Over in the States, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES continued to prove the Bane of all other competition, holding the top spot with $64M in week 2, to put the film at a running total of $289M. At second place, third week hold ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT took $13.3M, while at third place R-rated comedy THE WATCH underwhelmed with $13M in its opening weekend, to count as a major disappointment following the whilrlwind smash of similarly targeted risqué comedy TED a month back. Independent success stories proved to be William Friedkin’s Kentucky-Fried Noir KILLER JOE, which opened to an impressive $37.9K from a three site launch and registered the strongest average outside of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, as well as cutesy Fox Searchlight Indie RUBY SPARKS, which opened in 13 screens to clock $151K after midweek previews to put the film at a stonking $191K thus far ahead of aggressive expansion. In its third week, acclaimed doc THE IMPOSTER expanded from one to two screens to take $13.5K and put the film at $61K ahead of further expansion in the coming weeks. But the most impressive result arguably came in the form of sleeper smash BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, which in its fifth week of play expanded to 208 sites to take $914K and put the film at over $4M so far. It’s the indie gift that just keeps on giving.
From this Friday, expect a threequel to match the gravitas of a Nolan in the form of a saturation release for DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS, as well as foul-mouthed bear antics from Seth McFarlane’s TED. At the independent end of the spectrum, punters can look forward to limited debuts for riveting documentaries EAMES: AN ARCHITECT AND A PAINTER and UNDEFEATED, as well as launches for charming Chinese weepie A SIMPLE LIFE, epic Zhang Yimou actioner THE FLOWERS OF WAR, and camp burlesque musical LEAVE IT ON THE FLOOR. Happy viewing.