Source: Universal

‘Fast X’

Universal’s high-octane Fast X is the leading opener at the UK-Ireland box office this weekend, starting in 653 cinemas – more than any previous title in the Fast And Furious franchise.

Directed by Louis Leterrier, Fast X sees Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto and his family targeted by the vengeful son of drug kingpin Hernan Reyes.

The previous widest opening for a Fast And Furious film was 2019’s Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw – a spin-off to the main franchise - which started in 618 sites with £6.4m, ending on £20.7m.

The highest-grossing title in the series is 2015’s Fast & Furious 7, which opened to £12.7m from 534 cinemas, ending on £38.7m and still in the top 100 highest-grossing films of all time in the territory.

The first seven films typically increased in total takings, having started with the £6.6m of 2001’s The Fast And The Furious; however numbers eight (£29.7m) and a pandemic-afflicted nine (£16.5m) saw total grosses drop.

Lionsgate is opening Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret in 575 locations – an adaptation of Judy Blume’s book about an 11-year-old girl navigating new friends, feelings and the beginnings of adolescence after her family moves to the suburbs.

The adaptation has been written and directed by US filmmaker Kelly Fremon Craig, whose debut feature was 2016 release The Edge Of Seventeen (£273,272; £540,878).

Sony is starting Ari Aster’s psychological comedy-horror Beau Is Afraid in 241 cinemas. Having previously been titled Disappointment Blvd., the film eschewed a festival berth to launch straight into cinemas in the US, where it has grossed £6.5m ($8.1m) as of last weekend.

Joaquin Phoenix stars as a mild-mannered, anxiety-ridden man who confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on a Kafkaesque odyssey following the sudden death of his mother.

It is a third feature for US indie darling Aster, who broke out with 2018’s Hereditary (opened: £1.9m; closed: £5.7m) and followed that with 2019’s Midsommar (£810,680; £2.8m).

Dogwoof is starting Amanda Kim’s documentary Nam June Paik: Moon Is The Oldest TV in 11 cinemas. The film, which debuted at Sundance in January, depicts the life and times of Nam June Paik, the father of video art, who coined the phrase ‘electronic superhighway’.

With this year’s Cannes Film Festival in full swing, Modern Films is releasing Cannes 2022 title Under The Fig Trees. The Directors’ Fortnight entry depicts young men and women working the summer harvest who both find and flee from deeper connections.

Further titles include All The Anime’s Japanese title Cycle Of Penguindrum; Reliance Entertainment’s Bollywood comedy-drama Charles Enterprises; and Bulldog Film Distribution’s documentary The Other Fellow, about real men with the name James Bond.

In event cinema, Trafalgar Releasing is playing Met Opera Don Giovanni in 152 cinemas, predominantly on Saturday, May 20. Park Circus is conducting a 43-site release for Bill Forsyth’s 1983 title Local Hero.

The number one reign of Disney’s Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 will come under threat from Fast X, but it should lead the holdovers; from Universal’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Book Club: The Next Chapter.