Box Office: Downton holds the crown

    Author Tom Linay

The Weekend Round-up

  • Downton Abbey made it three weekends in the top spot, posting a terrific hold, falling just 18% to £2.7m. It has also been performing very strongly in midweek showings – last week between Monday and Thursday it banked £3.5m, compared with £3.2m across the previous weekend. It’s now up to £19.4m and in the next couple of days should cross the £20m mark. It’s certain to overtake Murder On The Orient Express’ final total of £24.2 and with a couple more holds like this weekend’s, still has a chance of getting close to £30m.
  • Ad Astra also starred this weekend, falling just 25% to £1.3m. That takes its total to £4.5m after two weekends in cinemas and while Arrival’s final total of £9.7m looks out of reach, for meditative, thoughtful sci-fi, Ad Astra’s box office is still impressive. 
  • Hustlers was again one of the weekend’s big success stories, falling just 4% to £1m. That takes its total to £5m and it has a good chance of becoming Jennifer Lopez’s biggest ever live-action hit in the UK, which is currently Maid In Manhattan with £8.4m. It’s also very close to being distributor STX’s biggest ever hit, which is I Feel Pretty with £5.5m. They’ve had a tough 2019, with their biggest hit this year, January’s The Upside with £2.2m.
  • Horror film Ready Or Not opened in fifth with £948k, which includes £250k from previews, making it the fifth-highest horror opening this year behind Pet Semetary (£1.5m) and ahead of Midsommar (£810k, both including previews).
  • It: Chapter Two completed the top five and added £940k, the best hold of its run so far – a drop of just 32%. That takes its total to £17.8m and while £20m looks like it might be too far off, it’s still one of the biggest horror films of all-time. 
  • Outside of the top five, the summer’s big family films are still proving a draw as The Lion King is just £17k away from £75m, and Toy Story 4 has crossed the £65m mark.

Overall the box office is down 11% from last weekend and up 20% from the same weekend last year when the top films were Night School, The House With A Clock In Its Walls, A Simple Favour and Crazy Rich Asians.

Next Weekend

  • Judy is a biopic of legendary performer Judy Garland who arrives in London in the winter of 1968 to perform a series of sold-out concerts. Renee Zellweger as Garland is an early front-runner for awards recognition.
  • Joker is the origin story for Batman’s most famous foe. Joaquin Phoenix stars in this gritty character study of Arthur Fleck, a man disregarded by society. It has already won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and DCM’s Zoe Jones, Zoe Aresti, Jeremy Kolesar, Phil Jones and Antonio Garcia have all seen it and given it the full five stars. That’s five stars each, a total of 25 stars, not one star each.

The Buzz

Knives Out is an all-star whodunnit from Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi). Daniel Craig stars as a detective who investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family. It is the prestigious American Express gala at the BFI London Film Festival next week and it’s already had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and the critics have gone for it in a big way. The Playlist said Johnson ‘has his audience in good hands, “good” in this instance meaning both “skilled, capable, expert” and “decent, ethically sound.’ IndieWire called it ‘a crackling, devious, and hugely satisfying old-school whodunnit with a modern twist’, and The Hollywood Reporter said it’s ‘a delicious throwback to the all-star whodunit, this juicy comedy thriller is a treat from start to finish.’ It’s in cinemas on 27 November.

Across The Pond

Dreamworks animation Abominable opened in the top spot with $20.9m, which is the biggest opening for an original animated film in 2019. Last week’s top film, Downton Abbey, came in second adding $14.5m for a new total of $58.5m, while Hustlers in third posted a terrific hold, falling 32% to $11.5m, for a new total of $80.6m. It: Chapter Two fell 32% to $10.4m for a new total of $193.9m. Ad Astra completed the top five, falling 47% to $10.1m, which takes its total to $35.5m.