THE TOP TEN
1. Avengers Assemble. Weekend/Total: £8,121,916 / £29,851,680 Sites: 523 (1)
2. American Pie: Reunion. Weekend/Total: £6,334,539 Sites: 485 (New)
3. The Lucky One. Weekend/Total: £1,159,435 Sites: 367 (New)
4. Beauty and the Beast 3D. Weekend/Total: £685,024 Sites: 357 (New)
5. Safe. Weekend/Total: £679,716 Sites: 330 (New)
6. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Weekend/Total: £641,051 / £4,470,916 Sites: 360 (2)
7. The Hunger Games. Weekend/Total: £346,807 / £23,059,924 Sites: 262 (3)
8. The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. Weekend/Total: £318,039 / £15,302,734 Sites: 507 (4)
9. Silent House. Weekend/Total: £214,731 Sites: 207 (New)
10. Mirror Mirror. Weekend/Total: £207,319 / £6,886,603 Sites: 366 (7)
(Previous week's placement in parentheses)
THE AVENGERS VS. '90s NOSTALGIA
Across the pond, The Avengers was breaking records day-by-day, but I wondered how well it would perform here on its second weekend. After last week's 4-day opening of £15.78m, Avengers Assemble faced its first real test at the UK box office with American Pie: Reunion.
However, Earth's Mightiest Heroes prevailed with a second weekend take of £8.12m winning the weekend, despite a 49% drop on last week. The Avengers' 4 day mid-week takings were £5.95m, just under the 4-day weekend opening of American Pie: Reunion (a very strong £6.33m).
During non-peak performing days, Avengers is still performing as strongly as a brand new film did during peak times. That means something; not only is word of mouth strong enough that it's likely pulling in undecideds after the opening weekend but these numbers indicate that there is some strong repeat business at work.
THE BEST OF THE REST
The remaining entries in the Top 5 are all new but all but the Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Lucky One, fell well below the £1m mark. Avengers and American Pie swallowed the majority of audiences attention.
The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, made £1.16m. The next best performance was Disney's 3D re-issue of Beauty and the Beast which made just £685k, a huge drop off from previous 3D re-issues but likely a victim of poor scheduling against bigger, fresher films and not a lack of interest. Rounding out the Top 5 was Jason Statham's Safe which performed slightly better than I expected, with £679k.
AND JUST THE REST
Of the old entries in the Top 10, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen may have fell down from #2 to #6 but saw the smallest drop off from last week, with just a 41% drop. Despite fairly sturdy business, this British comedy is far from a Best Exotic Marigold Hotel-like phenomenon but it does face much fiercer competition.
The former box office champion, The Hunger Games, which held the highest UK box office of 2012 for just a handful of weeks, has seen its weekend take drop to £346k with a £23.06m total. A total that Avengers Assemble has now crushed after just two weeks.
The Pirates! appears to be rounding off its box office run with a lifetime gross of £15m, but that's a very strong turn for a non-sequel, stop motion animated property.
One-take horror movie, Silent House, opened comparatively soft with £214k but when the per screen average of £1,038 on a scant 207 screens, that's only a marginal difference to Beauty and the Beast's PSA which boasted 150 more screens. So, despite limited coverage, Silent House did reasonably well on a relatively anaemic week.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND...
Next week will see the release of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's latest collaboration, the adaptation of 1960s soap opera, Dark Shadows, which I expect to prove another challenge for the Top 3. Burton and Depp's last film, Alice in Wonderland, went on to earn a billion worldwide; however Alice opened in a competition-free March with 3D and IMAX 3D bumps, hot on the heels of Avatar's massive success and the rejuvenation of 3D as a theatrical draw, and was based on a beloved and famous work of fiction.
Dark Shadows is based on a niche, genre soap opera that most audience members have never heard of; there's no 3D bump and the general reception so far has ranged from tepid to caustic. I expect it to topple American Pie but won't do much harm to Avengers Assemble.
Also released this weekend is Piranha 3DD, the buxom sequel to the 2010 gore-athon. The previous film opened to £1.49m on 352 screens, will the sequel manage to get that level of coverage? It cracks the Top 5, purely because repeat business for the current Top 5 will be weak, with only Avengers and American Pie guaranteed to have any staying power.