With its tightly framed close ups, wonky angles, relentless singing and Russell Crowe involvement, it came as no surprise that big budget musical adaptation LES MISERABLES proved the biggest player this weekend. By Friday, the film had already presold four hundred thousand tickets across the country, and by close of play Sunday the weekend gross stood at £8.1M, making for a staggering average of £14K from saturation play. This compares to the £5.2M Fri-Sun figure for MAMMA MIA back in 2008 – a film that that also benefitted from a significantly shorter runtime, allowing for greater frequency of shows. MAMMA MIA went on to gross £68M in the UK over many weeks of sustain, and only time will tell if LES MISERABLES can ape this longevity. But it is still an incredible start for 24601, Javert and company. Never forgive, never forget. He stole a loaf of bread.
At second place, fourth week hold LIFE OF PI took a handsome £2.3M to make a running total of £22M, while at third place, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY took an additional £1.9M to add up to £48M to date for the dwarf-driven caper. While the figure is of course impressive, the slowdown nevertheless indicates the first film in Peter Jackson’s new franchise will probably fail to hit even the lowest local gross of his LORD OF THE RINGS films. 2002’s THE TWO TOWERS hit a £58M total even without a 3D premium, a figure THE HOBBIT will struggle to reach.
At fourth position, epic weepie THE IMPOSSIBLE took a further £1.9M in a second weekend of play; at fifth, new opener GANGSTER SQUAD launched to a decent enough, but hardly gang busters £1.8M; while at sixth, second week grey pound guzzler QUARTET zimmered its way to another £891K, with Picturehouse Cinemas taking a very encouraging 7.3% of the market share. At seventh place, Tom Cruise misfire JACK REACHER slowed to £690K in weekend 3; at eighth, new opener TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D failed to ape its US smash with £633K and a total of £1.2M after previews; at ninth, a cappella femme-com PITCH PERFECT sang its way to another £453K in a fourth weekend of play; and finally at tenth, family squib PARENTAL GUIDANCE filed for divorce from the top ten in weekend three, with an underwhelming £397K and cumulative total of £4M to date.
Of the remaining openers, striking Irish drama WHAT RICHARD DID took an impressive £25K from limited opening to average a guilt-free £3K, while culinary doc JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI took a fairly delicious £8.9K from six sites. No other new titles stood out in a weekend dominated by big hitters.
Over in the states, the big performer proved to be Bigelow Bin Ladin kill chronicle ZERO DARK THIRTY, which expanded to saturation after three weeks of comparatively limited play. Despite considerable controversy, the tough title water-boarded its way to $24M and the top spot. At second place, gross out horror comedy A HAUNTED HOUSE took $18M in its opening weekend, while at third, new opener GANGSTER SQUAD clocked a decent enough $16.7M. On the independent circuit, the biggest success story proved to be Michael Haneke’s Golden Globe winner AMOUR, which continued its softly-softly expansion from 3 to 15 screens. The film grossed a massive $271K, making for an average of $18K per site and a 352% increase on last weekend’s total. The biggest new opener proved to be grey dollar magnet QUARTET which launched in two screens to $50K and a banging $25K average. Bring it.
From this Friday if punters aren’t too busy bawling their eyes out at Anne Hathaway dreaming her dream, there are saturation launches for Quentin Tarantino’s latest roaring rampage of revenge, DJANGO UNCHAINED and a 3D reissue for Pixar classic MONSTERS INC. Limited launches for disability sadcore sexboiler THE SESSIONS and portmanteau horror V/H/S mix things up a bit. Cinema.