Box Office: Napoleon Victorious!

    Author Mia Blakeney

Box Office Round-up

Ridley Scott is a legendary filmmaker, but it’s fair to say commercially he’s a bit erratic. In November 2021 he released the excellent The Last Duel which finished its run with £870k, and in November 2022 he released House Of Gucci which finished its run with £10m. Now in November 2023 he’s released Napoleon and it looks like being his biggest box office hit since 2015’s The Martian (£23.7m). Napoleon opened with a terrific £5.2m, which includes £1.4m from Wednesday and Thursday. This is the second major film produced by Apple to be released by a major studio, in this case Sony Pictures. The first, Killers Of The Flower Moon (Paramount working with Apple) is creeping towards £10m but Napoleon is going to surpass that comfortably. Apple have really got behind cinema and bodes well for their upcoming release Argylle in conjunction with Universal in February.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes fell to second, adding £2.7m, a 50% drop from last weekend. After 10 days in cinemas it has banked a solid £10.1m and while it looks like being the lowest performing film in The Hunger Games series (the first film finished with £24.1m), it should be in cinemas across the Christmas period which will see it get past £15m and inch towards £20m.

Celebrating their 100th year, Disney released Wish this weekend, and while it hasn’t scaled the heights of their classic animated titles it’s opened with a solid £2.4m. Disney like to release a big animated title in late-November to cash in over the Christmas holiday period. In the post-covid era they’ve released Encanto in 2021, which opened with £1.7m (including £192k from previews) and in 2022 they released Strange World, which opened with £833k (including £116k from previews), so Wish has started well ahead of those two. Encanto finished on £8.6m, although it was on Disney+ before Christmas, so Wish should soar past that total. Earlier this year Elemental opened with £2.9m and currently sits on £18.5m, so hopefully Wish can get up towards that.

Emerald Fennell’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning Promising Young Woman, Saltburn stayed in fourth with £573k, a drop of just 26% from last weekend. On its second weekend this time last year The Menu fell 55%, so Saltburn is holding up much more strongly. Saltburn is up to £2m after 10 days in cinemas and The Menu finished its run with £4.1m, so hopefully Saltburn can match that.

The Marvels rounded out the top five, dropping a hefty 61% this weekend, its second hefty drop in a row, to £485k. That takes its total after three weekends in cinemas to £6.6m. In the Marvel vs DC battle that neither wants to be part of, The Marvels needs to top £8.9m to gross more than June’s The Flash and it looks like it may not get there.

Outside of the top five, concert film Cliff Richard: The Blue Sapphire Tour 2023 achieved just under £330k. Trolls Band Together crossed the £15m mark in seventh. That takes its total to £14.8m and it’s currently the fifth highest grossing animation of 2023, behind The Super Mario Bros. MovieSpider-Man: Across The Spider-VersePuss In Boots: The Last Wish, and Elemental.  Eli Roth horror Thanksgiving crossed the £1m mark in eighth, South Asian film Tiger 3 achieved another £217k in ninth, and the 20th anniversary re-release of Love Actually opened with £105k in 10th.

Next Weekend

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé is a film about Beyoncé’s record-breaking RENAISSANCE World Tour and the creative mastermind behind it.

Fallen Leaves is the latest film from Aki Kaurismäki and won the Jury Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. In modern-day Helsinki, two lonely souls in search of love meet by chance in a karaoke bar. However, their path to happiness is beset by obstacles - from lost phone numbers to mistaken addresses, alcoholism, and a charming stray dog.

Eileen is the second feature film from William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth). A woman's friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility where she works takes a sinister turn. Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway star.

Elf (20th Anniversary) is the anniversary re-release of one of the most beloved Christmas films of the 21st century. Raised as an oversized elf, human Buddy (Will Ferrell) travels from the North Pole to New York City to meet his biological father, Walter Hobbs (James Caan), who doesn't know he exists and is in desperate need of some Christmas spirit.

The Buzz

The Color Purple is the big major awards contender that hasn’t played in any of the autumn film festivals. Based on Alice Walker’s novel, it’s a decades-spanning tale of love, resilience and one woman's journey to independence. A Tony-award winning musical, the cast includes Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Halle Bailey and Colman Domingo. The film has started to be screened in the US and the first reactions are hugely positive. Jazz Tangcay tweeted ‘Oscars, make room for Fantasia!... this film is perfection on every level’. The Playlist’s Gregory Ellwood tweeted ‘Danielle Brooks and Taraji are truly great’, while Deadline’s Rosy Cordero tweeted ‘I fear I don’t have the right words to express the impact The Color Purple has made on me. It’s the most beautiful movie I’ve ever seen. It deserves everything. Give Fantasia Barrino all her flowers. Wow.’ It looks like it’s going to be a major awards contender in multiple categories and is in cinemas on 26 January.

Across The Pond

On the big Thanksgiving weekend The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes held on to the top spot with $28.8m, down 35% from last weekend. That takes its total after 10 days in cinemas to $98.4m. Napoleon opened on Wednesday and in five days has banked $32.5m, just ahead of Disney’s Wish which has banked $31.7m in its first five days. Trolls Band Together added $17.5m in fourth for a new total of $64.5m. Thanksgiving opened in fourth with $10.2m and Five Nights At Freddy’s added $3.5m in fifth for a new total of $132.6m.