'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire', 'Immaculate'

Source: Sony / Black Bear

‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’, ‘Immaculate’

Spooky titles lead the new openers at the UK and Ireland box office this weekend with Sony’s Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire unleashing into 687 cinemas.

The fifth addition to the ghoul-hunting franchise is slightly up from its predecessor Ghostbusters: Afterlife which opened in 670 locations in 2021. That film had an opening weekend of £3.7m and ended shy of £12m. It also has more locations than Paul Feig’s female reboot which debuted in 581 sites in 2016 before making £4.4m in its opening weekend.

The first Ghostbusters made an impressive £12.4m at the box office back in 1984 while Ghostbusters II  scored £8.3m in 1989. 

Gil Kenan directs Frozen Empire which sees the new generation team up with old favourites to defeat an evil force and save the world from a second ice age. The cast includes Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, Patton Oswalt and James Acaster as well as the stars of the original films Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson and Annie Potts.

More scares await

In event cinema, National Theatre is screening The Motive And The Cue in 710 cinemas across Thursday-Sunday (March 21-24). Johnny Flynn and Mark Gatiss star in the live stage play about actors Richard Burton and John Gielgud during the 1954 Broadway production of Hamlet.

Sydney Sweeney continues her cinematic rise in SXSW horror Immaculate, opening in 511 locations for Black Bear. The Anyone But You star plays a nun who moves to a convent in the Italian countryside harbouring dark and horrifying secrets. Michael Mohan directs with a script from Andrew Lobel while Sweeney also produces - her second credit after Anyone But You which is still riding high at the box office on a near £12m after 12 weeks.

Topping off a scary weekend is Vertigo Releasing’s Late Night With The Devil which opens in 220 cinemas. Set in 1977, when a guest of a live talk show unleashes evil into the nation’s living rooms, the film first premiered at SXSW last year before screening at various festivals including Sydney and Fantasia. It is directed, written and edited by Australian duo Cameron and Colin Cairnes.

Sony is also opening romantic comedy The Persian Version in 162 locations. Winner of the 2023 Sundance audience award in US dramatic, Maryam Keshavarz’s film centres around an Iranian-American family who uncover a big secret which may bring the clashing mother and daughter together.

Trafalgar Releasing is screening a livestream of Romeo Et Juliette – Met Opera tomorrow (March 23) in 113 venues. The operatic rendition of Shakespeare’s classic plays live from the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Curzon has Oscar-nominated animation Robot Dreams in 89 cinemas. Pablo Berger’s dialogue-free film about a dog and a robot in New York City during the 1980s first premiered at Cannes 2023 and won several awards on the festival circuit.

Indian biopic Swatantra Veer Savarkar is being released in 85 venues for Zee Studios. Randeep Hooda writes, directs and stars in the film exploring the life of a famous Indian freedom fighter and reformer.

Mubi has Rodrigo Moreno’s crime drama The Delinquents in 22 locations. The Spanish-language title first premiered at Cannes Un Certain Regard and follows a bank employee whose plan to steal a large amount of money and take the fall while his accomplices hide the cash goes awry. 

Martin Scorsese’s 1985 comedy After Hours plays in 11 sites for Park Circus. The cult classic about a New York office worker on his way home won Scorsese best director at Cannes and two Independent Spirit awards.

Other openers include Icon’s thriller Baltimore which stars Imogen Poots as a wealthy English woman who joins the Provisional Irish Republican Army.

Warner Bros’ Dune: Part Two remains the key holdover title to look out for.