After We Collided delivers stunning screen average
Most practitioners in the film industry, looking at the UK release calendar for early September, would have identified Disney’s The New Mutants as the exciting new release. A spinoff of Marvel’s X-Men franchise, the film is directed by Josh Boone, who earlier made hit young adult romance The Fault In Our Stars.
In pure box office terms, The New Mutants did indeed prove the top new release (see below). But its thunder has been stolen by a rival new film, which landed just one place below it in the chart – and playing in less than a tenth of the number of its cinemas.
After We Collided stunned observers with its opening weekend gross of £175,000 from just 40 UK and Ireland venues, and £255,000 including takings from last Wednesday and Thursday.
The screen average of £4,366 (or £6,369 if previews are included) would be considered strong at any time. But in an age of social distancing, when half a cinema’s seats go unsold, it’s extraordinary.
After We Collided is the second film in a series adapted from books by Anna Todd. Originally written for social storytelling platform Wattpad, After and its sequels depict the tumultuous romantic relationship between initially shy, studious Tessa Young and unpredictable bad boy Hardin Scott. Film adaptation After was a global hit in 2019, grossing $70m, but skipped UK cinemas and landed on Netflix.
For the sequel, rights holders worked with independent distributor Shear Entertainment to get the film into UK cinemas. After We Collided landed on the UK release calendar with little fanfare, and was not reviewed by major critics.
Roger Kumble (Cruel Intentions) directs the romantic drama, with a screenplay by Anna Todd and Mario Celaya. Australian actress Josephine Langford stars opposite the gloriously named Hero Fiennes Tiffin– who played the 11-year-old Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort) in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and is the son of filmmakers Martha Fiennes and George Tiffin (and the nephew of Ralph and Joseph Fiennes).
In Europe, where After had already established a cinema audience for the film, After We Collided is shaping up to be a major hit, opening number one at the box office in Italy, Spain and Portugal, and strongly in territories including Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The film is expanding to more than 100 UK and Ireland cinemas from Friday.
Tenet holds on to top spot with 35 per cent decline
Given the huge excitement among Christopher Nolan fans for the arrival of Tenet, Warner Bros will be fairly pleased with a moderate 35% decline for the film in its second session in UK and Ireland. Second-weekend takings of £2.15m take the film’s total after 12 days to £10.0m.
Nolan films not based on Batman comicbooks have traditionally held up pretty well, and both Inception and Interstellar fell 29% in their second sessions. Dunkirk did even better, declining 18% on its second weekend. There is a school of thought that suggests that reduced capacities because of Covid will see audiences spread out over a longer period of play with blockbuster films.
The New Mutants is top new title
With £360,000 from 538 UK and Ireland cinemas, and £686,000 including previews from the previous weekend, The New Mutants landed in second place in the chart, just below Tenet. These are the weakest numbers so far of any film associated with X-Men.
Last summer, the critically lambasted X-Men: Dark Phoenix began with £2.75m (and £3.77m including previews), on its way to a £7.28m total – the lowest so far for any film featuring X-Men and/or Wolverine. It now looks like Dark Phoenix’s total is a very distant prospect for The New Mutants to match.
The New Mutants was filmed in summer 2017, and was originally slated for release by 20th Century Fox in April 2018. In November 2017, Disney began the process of acquiring 20th Century Fox, and The New Mutants seemingly was identified by Disney as one of the studio’s less-favoured children. Mooted reshoots were abandoned, and the film was re-edited. Various release dates came and went – although Covid was also a factor here.
Black Panther back in Top 10
In tribute to its star Chadwick Boseman, who died on August 28, Disney rereleased Black Panther into 239 cinemas, earning it a place in the UK and Ireland Top 10. Weekend takings of £48,300 push the total to £50.7m after 134 weeks of release.
Since cinemas reopened in early July, classic titles and blockbusters from recent years have regularly appeared in the UK box office chart, due to the dearth of new releases. These have included the likes of Dirty Dancing, The Greatest Showman and The Empire Strikes Back.
However, recent weeks have seen the chart dominated by new releases and titles (such as Pixar’s Onward) that saw their original cinema run cut short by Covid.
Les Misérables is top foreign language film
Also earning a spot in the UK and Ireland Top 10 is Les Misérables – not to be confused with the musical of the same name. This contemporary urban drama is set in the working-class Paris suburb of Monterfermeil – which is where Victor Hugo wrote his 1862 novel of the same name, and where it’s partially set.
Les Misérables premiered at the Cannes film festival in May 2019, winning the Jury Prize for filmmaker Ladj Ly. It was selected as France’s entry to the International Film Oscar category, picking up a nomination (but losing to Parasite). It went on to earn 11 César nominations, winning four awards, including Best Film and the Audience Award. It was a commercial hit in France, achieving 2.17m admission prior to lockdown.
In UK and Ireland, the film opened with £41,500 from 130 sites for the weekend period, and £48,100 including previews. Distributor Altitude will be hoping for a long and sustained run.
Following two weeks with big-budget releases (Tenet and The New Mutants), the coming weekend looks relatively quiet for major new titles. Sony presents romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery, which is set in New York, but stars two Australian actors (Geraldine Viswanathan and Dacre Montgomery) in the lead roles. The film has so far earned warm reviews, with Variety acclaiming “a witty and spirited commercial voice” from writer director Natalie Krinsky.
Universal offers a film from its indie division Focus Features: Sally Potter’s The Roads Not Taken, starring Javier Bardem and Elle Fanning. This drama premiered in Competition at the Berlin Film Festival in February, and has achieved a mixed reception.
Alternatives include New Zealand gang drama Savage, Max Richter’s Sleep, a rerelease of Parasite director Bong Joon Ho’s 2003 film Memories of Murder, UK indie drama Real, Czech arthouse drama The Painted Bird and a 25th-anniversary rerelease of Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine.
Top 10 Films September 4-6
- Tenet, £2,151,490 from 613 sites. Total: £10,006,540 (2 weeks)
- The New Mutants, £686,407 from 538 sites (new)
- After We Collided, £254,771 from 40 sites (new)
- Onward, £135,669 from 456 sites. Total: £6,942,823 (27 weeks)
- Unhinged, £97,221 from 351 sites. Total: £1,436,244 (6 weeks)
- 100% Wolf, £96,970 from 455 sites. Total: £1,026,699 (6 weeks)
- Pinocchio, £56,928 from 366 sites. Total: £685,332 (3 weeks)
- Trolls World Tour £49,533 from 275 sites. Total: £762,929 (22 weeks)
- Black Panther, £48,334 from 239 sites. Total: £50,674,103 (134 weeks)
- Les Misérables, £48,090 from 130 sites (new)
- Truth Makes Free, £5,762 from 73 sites
- Socrates, £642 from 2 sites
- Lynn & Lucy, £628 from 2 sites
Thanks to Comscore [@cSMoviesUK].
All figures relate to takings in UK and Ireland cinemas.