Source: Warner Bros


Luca Guadagnino’s love triangle drama Challengers starts its UK-Ireland box office campaign this weekend through Warner Bros.

Opening in 702 sites with additional venues still being added, the film stars Zendaya, 2016 Screen Star of Tomorrow Josh O’Connor and Mike Faist in the story of three aspiring tennis professionals fighting both for championships and romantically.

Initially programmed as the opening film of last year’s Venice Film Festival, Challengers was withdrawn following the actors’ strike, which would have prevented its starry cast from promoting the release.

It is Italian filmmaker Guadagnino’s eighth feature film. He broke out internationally with his fifth, 2017’s Call Me By Your Name, which opened to £236,406 and ended on £1.8m, securing four Oscar nominations and one win for best adapted screenplay.

It remains Guadagnino’s highest-grossing film in the territory; he has subsequently made 2018’s Suspiria (£351,171) and 2022’s Bones And All (£806,578). Challengers is written by Justin Kuritzkes, who has also written Guadagnino’s next feature Queer, based on William S. Burroughs’ novel and starring Daniel Craig.

Tennis films make occasional appearances at the box office, typically through stories of well-known stars or events, such as 2017’s Battle Of The Sexes (£1.5m) and 2021’s King Richard (£1.6m), about Richard Williams, father to tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams. 

Fictionalised stories such as Challengers are more rare; previous highlights include Woody Allen’s 2006 Match Point (£2.5m) starring Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Richard Loncraine’s 2004’s Wimbledon (£7.2m) starring Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany.

World debut

Signature Entertainment is opening Moritz Mohr’s action thriller Boy Kills World, based on Mohr and Arend Remmers’ short film of the same name, in 305 sites. Produced by South Africa’s Nthibah Pictures, the film stars Bill Skarsgard as a deaf person with a vibrant imagination, who, after the murder of his family, is trained to become an instrument of death.

It is a debut feature for German filmmaker Mohr, and debuted at Toronto film festival last September.

Anime Ltd is opening anime title Spy x Family Code: White in 261 cinemas. Based on the Spy x Family manga comics series, the cooking-based comedy already has $52.8m in the bank from international territories – primarily $40.6m from its homeland of Japan.

Sony is starting Jon Gunn’s drama Ordinary Angels in 244 sites. Starring Hilary Swank, the film is inspired by the true story of a hairdresser who rallies a community to help a widowed father save the life of his critically ill young daughter.


Source: Courtesy of Bleecker Street


Universal has two new titles in cinemas this weekend. Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s sci-fi thriller I.S.S. stars Ariana DeBose in a story set aboard the International Space Station, as conflict breaks out on Earth. The film starts in 138 sites.

The studio is also opening Kobi Libii’s The American Society Of Magical Negroes, a fantasy comedy starring Justice Smith as a young man recruited into a secret society of Black people who dedicate their lives to make white people’s lives easier. Lobii’s feature debut premiered at Sundance in January, and starts in 119 sites this weekend.

Independent releases 

Irish drama That They May Face The Rising Sun heads this weekend’s independent releases, starting in 117 sites through Conic and Break Out Pictures. The film is adapted from John McGahern’s novel of the same name, which depicts a rural 1980s community in Ireland.

Curzon is opening Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes 2023 Competition title Kidnapped, about a Jewish boy kidnapped and converted to Catholicism in 1858, in 30 sites. A lengthy festival tour since Cannes has included Munich, Toronto, New York and London, with 11 nominations at Italy’s upcoming David di Donatello awards on May 3. 

606 Distribution is opening Milena Aboyan’s German drama Elaha, a Berlinale 2023 premiere about a woman who believes she must restore her virginity before marriage, on five screens; while Aya Films is starting Baloji’s Cannes 2023 title Omen in 10 sites, expanding to 21 across its run.

Screenbound Pictures is playing a double-bill of two horror titles, in eight sites: Greg Swinson and Ryan Thiessen’s Hunt Her, Kill Her, and Anthony DiBlasi’s Malum.

As well as screenings of Italian box office hit There’s Still Tomorrow, Vue is playing videogame tournament ESL One Birmingham as an event release on Sunday, April 28.

Further independent titles out this weekend include Melanie Manchot’s addiction documentary Stephen through Modern Films; Australian animation Scarygirl through Vertigo Releasing; MusicFilmNetwork’s On Resistance Street, about the role of music in the fight against fascism; Swipe Films’ documentary Quintessentially Irish featuring Pierce Brosnan and Jeremy Irons; and Georgia Scott and Sophia Scott’s documentary Tomorrow’s Freedom in two sites through Journeyman Pictures.

Amy Winehouse biopic Back To Black heads the holdovers after two weeks on top for Studiocanal; followed by Entertainment Film Distributors’ rising Civil War and Universal’s Kung Fu Panda.