Sony Pictures Releasing International’s The Damned United was the third-highest opener in the UK and Ireland this weekend, earning $875,926 (£618,929) from 236 screens for a screen average of £2,623.
The film, a portrayal of legendary football manager Brian Clough’s ill-fated tenure as coach of Leeds United Football Club during the Seventies, reunites screenwriter Peter Morgan with actor Michael Sheen. The two have previously collaborated on Stephen Frears’ The Queen and Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon.
It enjoyed a higher screen average in its opening weekend than the £2,468 taken by The Queen in September 2006. Its total three-day gross was 7 2 % of The Queen’s opening weekend of $1,608,326 (£856,273) from approximately 110 fewer screens.
The Damned United opened almost 5% up on Frost/Nixon’s January release ($810,818 / £591,411), with noticeably fewer prints. Its screen average was higher than the £1,787 taken by the other recent UK release, Momentum Pictures’ Lesbian Vampire Killers, on its opening weekend on March 20.
In its second weekend Lesbian Vampire Killers’three-day grosses stood at $456,441 (£322,521), a 50% drop on the previous week.
The Damned United has enjoyed uniformly positive reviews in the UK, and SPRI will look to strong word-of-mouth and decent mid-week performance to convert into good holdover business in its second week. The film has also benefitted from extensive print coverage and television appearances from Sheen.
Internationally, the film will roll out later this year with release dates for Australia, France and Sweden set for August and September. As yet there is no date scheduled for a North American release.
The highest opener of the week was E1 Entertainment UK’s Knowing, starring Nicholas Cage, which, including Wednesday/Thursday previews, took $3,497,884 (£2,471,605) from 391 screens. Entertainment Film Distributors’ The Haunting In Connecticut was the second-highest debut grossing $1,595,923 (£1,127,679) from 312 screens.