Box Office: Audiences make a song and dance about La La Land

    Author Tom Linay

The Weekend Round-up

After it won a record seven Golden Globes last Sunday, and received 11 BAFTA nominations on Tuesday, Lionsgate couldn’t have chosen a better week to release La La Land, and put it on its widest ever release to give it the best chance of being a success. Well, it looks like it has paid off massively as it opened with £6.6m, which includes £944k from Thursday previews. The big film last awards season was The Revenant, which opened with £5.2m on its way to a final total of £23.4m, so La La Land will be looking at a total north of that figure.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stayed in second, falling 46% to £1.8m. That brings its total to £62.7m, and it’s now the 12th biggest film in UK history, behind Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring (£63m), which it will overtake this week.

Moana had a strong weekend, going back up from sixth last week to third this week. That’s thanks to £1.1m, which was a drop of just 11% and takes its total to £17.6m. It will have strong competition from Sing next weekend.

Last weekend’s top film, Assassin’s Creed, fell to fourth, but added another £950k for a new cume of £6.9m. It has now comfortably beaten Warcraft: The Beginning’s final total of £6.1m.

Passengers completed the top five, falling 43% to £783k and the Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence sci-fi romance has now banked £11.8m.

Outside of the top five, Manchester by the Sea had an impressive start in sixth. At just 146 locations it opened with £729k (including £108k from previews), for a location average of almost £5k, outside of La La Land by far the biggest in the top 15. With a successful awards season, it should have a long run.

Ben Affleck’s fourth film as director, Live by Night, opened in seventh with £698k (including £24k from previews). His last film, Argo opened with £1.3m, finishing on £8m and picked up the Best Picture Oscar too, so the performance of Live by Night is something of a disappointment.

Teen horror, The Bye Bye Man, opened in ninth with £535k and Underworld: Blood Wars opened in eleventh with £349k. The previous Underworld film, Awakening, opened with £1.1m in 2012, so the poor performance of this latest instalment means it could be the last.

Overall the box office was down 15% from last weekend and down 5% from the same weekend last year, when the top four films were The RevenantStar Wars: The Force AwakensCreed and Daddy’s Home.

Next Weekend

Lion is the moving tale of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. It received five BAFTA nominations last Tuesday, including Best Supporting Actor (Dev Patel) and Best Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman) and it’s the film my mum is most looking forward to this awards season.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage sees Vin Diesel return as the title character, a role he hasn’t played since 2002. Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons. The eclectic cast includes Donnie Yen, Toni Collette and Nina Dobrev.

Split is the latest brain-teasing thriller from M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth SenseSignsThe Visit) and is the tale of three girls who are kidnapped by a man with 24 distinct personalities. They must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from the others. James McAvoy plays the kidnapper and the film has been well received by critics.

Jackie stars a BAFTA-nominated Natalie Portman as First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, who fights through grief and trauma, while holding her family together after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

The Buzz

Gold sees Matthew McConaughey and Edgar Ramirez join forces and venture in to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold. It opens in the UK on 3 February but the first reviews are now in. Screen International said ‘a bravura performance from Matthew McConaughey as a schlubby, roguish mineral prospector in desperate pursuit of the American Dream is the seam that gives Gold its value’, while Variety called it ‘a lively portrayal of what's often misidentified as the American Dream, but might be more accurately described as the American Fantasy’. The Guardian weren’t quite as keen, saying ‘there's not much that glitters in Gold’.

Across The Pond

On Martin Luther King Day weekend, Hidden Figures held on to the top spot for the second successive weekend, adding $20.4m, which brings its total to $54.8m. After its record Golden Globe win, La La Land banked another $14.5m in second and has now grossed $74.1m. Sing added $13.8m in third for a new cume of $233m, while Rogue One: A Star Wars Story closed in on the $500m mark in fourth, after adding $13.8m, which brings its total to $498.9m. The Bye Bye Man completed the top five, opening with $13.4m.