The UK box office showed the first green shoots of recovery last weekend after a torrid period that has seen numerous releases overshadowed by the hot weather and the World Cup.
Disney’s Incredibles 2 bucked that trend with a £9.7m opening last week, and will be looking to build on that strong start this weekend. However, most attention now turns to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which rolls out wide via Universal today (July 20).
The sequel to smash-hit comedy-musical Mamma Mia!, which grossed an enormous £68.6m in the UK in 2008 (still the 11th highest-grossing film of all time in the country), should be a long-awaited shot in the arm for cinemas and the early signs are positive; one indie cinema owner is already reporting that the film is one of his top-grossing titles of the year, purely on pre-bookings for this weekend.
The original title was something of a sleeper hit, opening with £6.6m in July 2008, a number that one analyst predicted the sequel should comfortably top, though ultimately it may be unlikely to match the first film’s lifetime gross. Universal could occupy up to four of the top five spots in the box office chart this weekend, with Skyscraper, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and The Purge all likely to be there or there abouts.
Another good news story for the UK box office this week was the one-day event cinema release of Altitude’s documentary Spitfire, about the famous British wartime aircraft, which was screened in 230 cinemas across the country on Tuesday (July 17), seeing healthy returns of more than £200,000. The film has its official release today and will be looking to build on that strong start.
Altitude is also releasing Jean-Stephane Sauvaire’s fighting drama A Prayer Before Dawn this weekend. The film stars Peaky Blinders actor Joe Cole as a young English man who gets locked up in one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons, entering Muay Thai tournaments in an attempt to earn his freedom. It premiered at Cannes in Directors’ Fortnight in 2017 and has earned some good write-ups since then.
Also in the indie sphere this weekend will be Dogwoof’s feature doc Generation Wealth, Lauren Greenfield’s investigation of the pathologies behind the wealthiest members of society. The film premiered at Sundance at the beginning of this year and also travelled to SXSW, CPH:DOX and Sheffield Doc/Fest. It will be rolled out into an initial 15 screens.
Elsewhere, Signature is putting thriller sequel Escape Plan 2, starring Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista, into a limited number of sites, Zee Studios International is rolling out Shashank Khaitan’s Hindi love story Dhadak, and the ICA’s distribution label ICA Cinema is releasing Salome Lamas’s Extinction following the film’s premiere at CPH:DOX.
Further releases include Warner Bros’ Hotel Artemis, the dystopian crime thriller starring Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella and Jeff Goldblum and produced by The Night Manager outfit The Ink Factory, and Studiocanal’s Madame, featuring Toni Collette and Harvey Keitel in the story of a wealthy couple who try to add spice to their waning marriage by moving into a manor house in Paris.
Holdovers this week include Skyscraper, which will be hoping to make up some ground after a slow £1.8m opening, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and The First Purge (all Universal) as well as First Reformed (Picturehouse Entertainment).