Sony’s 3D sequel scores $4.9m (£3.2m) debut, including previews, to lead busy field of new releases; Warner Bros’ The Conjuring leads Fri-Sun weekend; eOne’s Now You See Me crosses £10m mark.
In one of the busiest release windows of the year to date, The Smurfs 2 outmanoeuvred The Wolverine to top the UK box office on its debut.
Sony’s family sequel scored a $4.9m (£3.2m) opening to take the number one spot, including $2.7m (£1.8m) in previews; a decent start in a crowded family field with midweek figures likely to be strong as a result of the summer holidays.
Despite this, the opening is below that of its predecessor which took $5.8m (£3.8m) including $2.3m (£1.5m) in previews. That film went on to take $26.5m (£17.25m) in the UK and the sequel’s holdover performance this week will go a long way to seeing if it can challenge that.
Without its previews, The Smurfs 2 would have found itself in third place.
A preview boost saw Fox’s The Heat chart second on its UK debut with a very respectable $3.8m (£2.49m).
The result is however behind director Paul Feig’s best-ever UK opening, Bridesmaids’ $5.4m (£3.5m), with that film going on an excellent run which saw it end up at $35.4m (£23.02m).
It is ahead though of Melissa McCarthy’s last main lead role, Identity Thief, which could only manage $2m (£1.3m) on debut.
It’s worth noting that the action comedy’s Fri-Sun take of $2.4m (£1.5m) would have seen it chart fifth, without its $1.5m (£955,427) previews.
Also for Fox, last week’s UK champion The Wolverine held well in its second weekend, clawing its way to a further $2.8m (£1.8m) for $14.7m (£9.54m) to date.
In terms of X-Men outings, it still has a bit to go before topping the lowest grosser of the franchise to date, X-Men
Without The Smurfs 2 and The Heat’s preview boosts, Warner Bros’ The Conjuring would have found itself in the number one spot.
Topping the chart on Fri-Sun figures, The Conjuring scared up $3.3m (£2.2m) from its 376 sites at an excellent average of $8,891 (£5,794). That marks director James Wan’s best-ever UK opening, topping the $2.2m (£1.4m) debut of Insidious.
With strong word-of-mouth, there’s every chance The Conjuring can enjoy a prosperous run in the UK and prove to be savvy counter-programming by the distributor.
Also for Warner Bros, Pacific Rim added $432,000 (£281,693) for $12.2m (£7.98m) to date.
Crossing the £20m mark in its fourth weekend, Disney’s Monsters University took $2.7m (£1.75m) to climb to $32m (£20.8m).
In terms of Pixar features in the UK, the sequel has now surpassed both Cars outings, with Brave ($34.1m/£22.16m), Toy Story ($34.6m/£22.5m) and Wall-E ($35.2m/£22.9m) the next targets in its sights.
Continuing its march up the all-time animation chart, Despicable Me 2 took an additional $2m (£1.28m) in its sixth weekend to climb to a formidable $59m (£38.44m) to date.
The animated sequel is now the fourth biggest animation of all-time in the UK, behind only Toy Story 3, Shrek 2 and Toy Story 2. It won’t catch Toy Story 3’s $113.3m (£73.8m) but could potentially still top the final results of Shrek 2 and Toy Story 2 at $73.9m (£48.1m) and $69.6m (£45.3m), respectively.
Either way, it’s likely to become 2013’s biggest hit in the coming weeks, surpassing Les Misérables’ $62.2m (£40.5m) UK haul.
Also for Universal, The World’s End dropped 53% in its third weekend, adding $1m (£676,000) for $11.5m (£7.46m) to date.
The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy closer has at least now surpassed Shaun of the Dead’s $10.3m (£6.69m), but won’t catch Hot Fuzz’s $32.3m (£20.99m).
With such a deluge of new releases, there had to be one affected and that was eOne’s Red 2.
The action sequel recorded a somewhat soft $1.6m (£1.02m) UK opening from its 430 sites to chart seventh. That result is behind its predecessor’s $2.6m (£1.66m) debut from less sites (402).
Given its older-skewing audience though, Red 2 could prosper midweek.
Also for eOne, Now You See Me added $670,000 (£436,292) to cross the £10m mark. The heist thriller is now at a terrific $15.8m (£10.3m), undoubtedly one of the summer’s best performances.
Nicolas Winding Refn’s controversial Cannes title Only God Forgives enjoyed a sturdy UK debut, slicing its way to $715,000 (£465,000) from its 189 sites at a healthy average of $3,782 (£2,460).
However, that result is behind the UK opening of Winding Refn’s previous collaboration with Ryan Gosling, Drive, which took $934,000 (£607,454) on debut from 176 sites.
Arguably, Drive was a slightly easier sell though and enjoyed more unanimous critical acclaim.
Frances Ha grossed a non-final $137,000 (£89,126) in its second weekend through Metrodome for a ten-day total of $581,000 (£378,276).
In another busy week, this week sees saturation releases for Fox’s Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (opens Aug 7), StudioCanal’s Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (opens Aug 7), Disney’s The Lone Ranger and Sony’s Grown Ups 2.
UTV’s Chennai Express receives a wide release, while New Wave’s Silence and Arrow Films’ Looking for Hortense are among the films receiving a limited release.