Critics may have been largely unimpressed, but Suicide Squad defied sunny skies to deliver a robust UK opening of £11.25m from 573 cinemas.
The winner: Suicide Squad
The film’s most apt comparison is probably Guardians of the Galaxy, because both comic-book properties were little known to broad audiences until their respective owners, Warner/DC and Disney/Marvel, announced movie adaptations. Guardians of the Galaxy began two years ago with £6.36m, including £1.37m in previews.
Another comparison for Suicide Squad might be Deadpool, which was also given a 15 certificate in the UK. Deadpool debuted in February with £13.73m, including £3.76m in previews. Strip out the previews and Suicide Squad has the bigger opening number.
In fact, discounting previews, Suicide Squad has delivered the third-biggest UK opening of the year, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (£14.62m) and Captain America: Civil War (£14.47m). In August 2015, no new release opened bigger than £3m.
There is a big disparity between critical and fan appreciation of Suicide Squad, which has a 40/100 score at Metacritic and a 7.0/10 user rating at IMDb. At Rotten Tomatoes, the critics’ rating is 26%, which compares with an audience score of 72%.
The runner-up: Finding Dory
In term time, family films earn the vast majority of their takings on Saturday and Sunday, and showtimes typically reduce on weekdays. In the school holidays it’s a different story, with every day of the week a potential opportunity for a cinema trip. A case in point is Finding Dory, which debuted a week ago with £8.12m and added another £3.98m at the weekend. The film’s cumulative total is £20.25m, which means it grossed £8.15m during the Monday-to-Thursday period. Over its first 10 days, the daily average gross is an impressive £2.03m.
Among Pixar films, only Toy Story 3 reached £20m at a quicker pace. In fact, Finding Dory has already exceeded the lifetime grosses of the three Pixar titles (Cars, Cars 2 and The Good Dinosaur), and is closing in on Brave (£22.2m), WALL-E (£22.9m) and Ratatouille (£24.8m).
Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets remains the biggest-grossing animated film of 2016 so far, with £32.1m. That film had reached £16.62m after two weekends of play, so Finding Dory is currently 22% ahead of the pace set by its rival.
The BFG is also performing well on weekdays, adding £5.73m over the last seven days, for a 17-day total of £20.21m. After the US, the UK is by far the most successful market for The BFG, with Australia in third place.
Third place: Jason Bourne
It’s official: Jason Bourne is the second-biggest-grossing film in the Bourne franchise, and after just 10 days of play. The film has grossed £14.06m so far, which compares with lifetime tallies as follows: The Bourne Identity (£7.88m), The Bourne Supremacy (£11.56m), The Bourne Ultimatum (£24.00m) and The Bourne Legacy (£11.11m).
The latest instalment fell 54% at the weekend – in line with other adult films in the market, which were all affected by the particularly sunny weather. Among the major films on release, only animated ones had drops of less than 50%, with The Secret Life of Pets, Ice Age: Collision Course and The Angry Birds Movie all falling 39%.
The Irish hit: Bobby Sands
Data gatherer comScore lumps together takings in Ireland and the UK, treating the territories as one marketplace. And it’s thanks to success in Ireland and Northern Ireland that documentary Bobby Sands: 66 Days has landed at No 11 in the chart, with £46,410 (including £11,840 in previews) from 28 cinemas. Of that total, £43,556 was earned in Ireland and Northern Ireland, from 24 venues. (Mainland UK delivered £2,854 from four sites.) The film recounts the 1981 hunger strike that led to the death of Sands, who became an elected MP during the protest, and nine other IRA prisoners.
In Northern Ireland, it ranked fifth at the box-office, and in Ireland it was in eighth. Distributor Wildcard reports that Bobby Sands: 66 Days delivered the biggest ever opening for an Irish documentary in Ireland, and the second biggest documentary overall, behind Fahrenheit 9/11, bumping Amy into third place.
The lopsided marketplace
The current UK Top 10 shows a stark contrast between top and bottom, with top title Suicide Squad earning 166 times the weekend box office of 10th-placed The Legend of Tarzan. With just £68,000 weekend gross, Tarzan had the lowest weekend takings of any film in the Top 10 since the first session of July 2015, when Minions was the top film on release and the Keanu Reeves thriller Knock Knock was in 10th, with takings of £67,000. Only eight films managed six-figure takings last weekend, which compares with sessions earlier in the year where you would regularly see 17 or 18 films grossing £100,000-plus.
Suicide Squad couldn’t quite compensate for the declines of every other title on release, wilting in the August sun, so takings are overall 10% down on the previous frame. No matter: they are also a very encouraging 105% up on the equivalent weekend from 2015, when the rebooted Fantastic Four debuted weakly at the top spot. Cinema programmers now have their hopes pinned on a quartet of wide new releases, beginning on Wednesday with the comedy Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, starring Zac Efron, Adam DeVine, Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza. Teen-skewing thriller Nerve (which may lose some of its potential audience due to a 15 rating) follows on Thursday. On Friday arrives shark-peril thriller The Shallows, starring Blake Lively, and Disney remake Pete’s Dragon. Indie cinemas, which are crying out for an indie hit, and many of which are currently playing wall-to-wall summer blockbusters – will be welcoming Todd Solondz comedy Wiener-Dog. Alternatives include Valley of Love, The Wave, The Idol, the documentary Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words and football hooligan sequel ID2: Shadwell Army.
Top 10 films, 5-7 August
1. Suicide Squad, £11,252,225 from 573 sites (new)
2. Finding Dory, £3,975,736 from 624 sites. Total: £20,251,204
3. Jason Bourne, £2,448,307 from 593 sites. Total: £14,062,015
4. The BFG, £1,713,088 from 614 sites. Total: £20,207,813
5. Star Trek Beyond, £894,739 from 529 sites. Total: £12,945,488
6. The Secret Life of Pets, £449,472 from 481 sites. Total: £32,070,805
7. Ghostbusters, £284,109 from 344 sites. Total: £9,995,592
8. Ice Age: Collision Course, £114,961 from 357 sites. Total: £6,485,440
9. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, £85,319 from 135 sites. Total: £15,608,295
10. The Legend of Tarzan, £67,766 from 154 sites. Total: £9,071,717
Bobby Sands: 66 Days, £46,410 (including £11,840 previews) from 28 sites
Up for Love, £13,751 from 27 sites
Kasaba, £7,657 from 43 sites
Sid & Nancy, £6,048 from 15 sites (rerelease)
Thirunaal, £5,920 from 13 sites
Sweet Bean, £4,669 from seven sites
How to Be Yours, £4,348 from three sites
The Carer, £2,974 from eight sites
Fever, £1,245 from four sites
• Thanks to comScore. All figures relate to takings in UK and Ireland cinemas.
This article was written by Charles Gant, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 9th August 2016 15.06 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010