Universal’s survival thriller Beast is the widest release among the features debuting at this weekend’s UK-Ireland box office, however event cinema André Rieu’s 2022 Maastricht Summer Concert: Happy Days Are Here Again boasts the overall largest figure.
Beast is directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur. The survival thriller stars Idris Elba as a grieving widower, who must protect his daughters from a voracious lion. It is set to play at 601 sites this weekend.
Kormakur’s best known for 2015 real-life disaster thriller, Everest, which opened to £2.4m from 567 sites.
It’ll be a busy couple of weeks at the UK-Ireland box office for Elba, who also stars in George Miller’s Cannes premiere Three Thousand Years Of Longing, set for release on September 2.
Elba’s recent credits include as the voice of Knuckles in Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (debuting with £4.98m from 651 locations from April 1-3), Netflix films The Harder They Fall and Concrete Cowboy, as well as Warner Bros’ The Suicide Squad, which took £3.25m in its opening weekend from 643 locations (July 30-August 1 2021).
Piece Of Magic Entertainment has put André Rieu’s 2022 Maastricht Summer Concert: Happy Days Are Here Again in a strong 668 sites. It is the second widest release from a Rieu concert title, following 677 sites for Shall We Dance in 2019. This concert sees the Dutch violinist and conductor return to his hometown of Maastricht to perform, and will screen on Saturday and Sunday, with encores running until the end of September. Rieu has previously broken box office records in the UK-Ireland for concert movies, taking over £1.7m in January 2020 for André Rieu: 70 Years Of Young. Rieu’s Christmas With André took an impressive £707,381 from 533 sites when it opened in December 2021.
Sony’s horror, The Invitation, opens at 387 sites. After the death of her mother, a woman – played by UK actor Nathalie Emmanuel – takes a DNA test, to discover a long-lost cousin she never had. It’s directed by Australian filmmaker Jessica M. Thompson, whose credits include SXSW premiere The Light Of The Moon.
Vertigo Releasing has Mr Malcolm’s List in 234 sites. Emma Holly Jones’ debut stars Freida Pinto, Sope Dirisu, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Zawe Ashton. It is set in 1800s England, and follows a young woman exacting revenge on a mysterious and wealthy potential suitor.
Curzon is releasing Spanish-language Official Competition in 76 sites. The title premiered in Venice last year, and was also the opening night film at San Sebastian. Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz unite with Oscar Martinez for this Spanish-Argentinian comedy, about a wealthy head of a pharmaceutical corporation who decides to immortalise his name by producing a film. Gastón Duprat and Mariano Cohn direct.
Another foreign-language film out this week is Liger, released by DJ Tech. It is an Indian Telugu-language sports drama following the life and career of an aspiring MMA fighter, that stars US boxer Mike Tyson.
Black Mail opens for Evrit Films in around 35 locations. It is written, directed and produced by Nigerian-born and UK-based Obi Emelonye, set in inner-city London, and follows a collective of ruthless hackers. Emelonye is to receive an honorary award at this year’s British Urban Film Festival (BUFF).
Bohemia Media is releasing Queen of Glory in 30 sites this weekend, with an additional 22 cinemas playing the film for ‘one night only’ screenings across the following Tuesday and Wednesday. Nana Mensah’s debut premiered at Tribeca. Mensah also stars in the lead role of Sarah — a Ghanaian-American woman who decides to abandon her Ivy League doctoral programme in New York to follow her married lover to Ohio, only for her mother’s sudden death to upend her plans.
Studio Soho Distribution has Akilla’s Escape playing in 30 sites. The Toronto premiere is the second feature from Canadian-Jamaican director Charles Officer, and follows an underworld fixer about to retire from the illegal cannabis-distribution business in Toronto, only to be brought back in thanks to his boss.
Blue Finch has Her Way in 12 locations this weekend, which will get boosted to 20 later in its run. The French feature is Cécile Ducrocq’s debut, and recently played at Glasgow. A hard-working mother strives to provide a future for her teenage son, but matters are complicated by the fact that she is a sex worker, and her son has been kicked out of catering school.
Key holdovers include Nope (Universal), Bullet Train (Sony), DC League Of Super-Pets (Warner Bros), Minions: The Rise Of Gru (Universal) and Fisherman’s Friends: One And All (Entertainment Film Distributors).