THE TOP TEN
1. Prometheus. Weekend/Total: £6,236,580 Sites: 514 (New)
2. Snow White And The Huntsman. Weekend/Total: £3,589,027 Sites: 473 (New)
3. Men In Black 3. Weekend/Total: £3,032,053 / £7,958,460 Sites: 533 (1)
4. Avengers Assemble. Weekend/Total: £847,598 / £48,367,585 Sites: 432 (3)
5. The Dictator. Weekend/Total: £754,068 / £9,251,635 Sites: 293 (2)
6. What To Expect When You're Expecting. Weekend/Total: £633,935 / £1,983,332 Sites: 377 (4)
7. Top Cat. Weekend/Total: £457,287 Sites: 452 (New)
8. American Reunion. Weekend/Total: £267,682 / £16,396,461 Sites: 220 (6)
9. The Angels' Share. Weekend/Total: £256,446 Sites: 73 (New)
10. Moonrise Kingdom. Weekend/Total: £210,804 / £724,870 Sites: 132 (7)
(Previous week's placement in parentheses)
PROMETHEUS, A BOX OFFICE UNBOUND
A relentless marketing campaign and unstoppable wave of hype lead Ridley Scott's grand return to science fiction to the Number One spot this weekend, with a hugely impressive £6.24m.
Take into account the 15-certificate, which renders the film inaccessible to a big demographic, and the fact it was competing with Kristen Stewart's Twilight army with the 12-certificate Snow White and The Huntsman. The marketing for Snow White was tepid, releasing an endless line of posters is not the same as generating hype, what Prometheus did was generating hype.
Reviews for both film turned out to be a mixed bag, with the most vocal voices being the negative ones (expect my voice to join them when I publish an article on the film this Friday) but by the time the reviews hit it was far too late to change anything. Prometheus was a guaranteed success, it's just a surprise at how successful even when counting the bump from both 3D and IMAX 3D shows.
Opening weekends are often said to be a victory of marketing rather than quality, while the following weeks are the test of how well received the film is by audiences. Can Prometheus find the legs to win another weekend, like The Avengers, or will it drop sharply?
MEN IN BLACK 3... PERCENT
Despite winning the previous week, good weather really affected the opening of Men in Black 3, but this weekend (sporadic weather and all) saw the sci-fi comedy rise 3% on last weeks opening, taking £3.03m over last week's £2.94m. Good (or: surprised) word of mouth likely helped give the film an extra boost.
The Avengers hold steady, only dropping one place in the chart after a miniscule 3% drop on last week. Despite being on the market for 6 weeks, the superhero battle royale is still pulling in audiences at an impressive rate. It would be no surprise if this time next week the Marvel mash-up has crossed the £50m total.
The Dictator, meanwhile, saw a 30% drop on last week, taking it down from Number 2 to 5 while pregnancy comedy, What To Expect When You're Expecting, fell an embryonic 4% on last week's meek opening. Relatively low takings but it's maintaining those numbers, which shows that there is an audience for this film and they are continuing to turn out, albeit in reduced numbers.
TOP CAT, BOTTOM FEEDER
Top Cat scammed its way into the Number 7 spot, aided by a 3D bump and misguided nostalgia. The Argentine/Mexico co-production (and what I can only assume is a money laundering scheme, based on the quality of animation) did better than expected with £706k, although only managing a paltry £1,564 per screen average on 452 screens. That's a higher screen count than all but three films in the chart.
Delivering a better per screen average, despite having considerably lower screen counts, are the bottom three films in the chart. American Pie: Reunion managed £1,881 on 220 screens. Ken Loach's Cannes hit, The Angel's Share, manage £5,430 on just 73 and Wes Anderson's critically acclaimed Moonrise Kingdom hit £2,468 on 132 screens, a respectable taking considering the indie darling is on Week 2 of its run.
Meanwhile, previous Top 5 placement, Dark Shadows, plummeted 52% and saw the Tim Burton adaptation reduced to 11th place.
SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND...
Opening wide this weekend: The directorial debut of R&B act Plan B, Ill Manors ("iLL Manors" to its friends), the George Lucas-produced WW2 movie Red Tails, oddball Simon Pegg comedy, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, and horror movie The Pact.
Of this line-up, I would expect Red Tails to do modestly well, as the trailers are really pushing the aerial action over the civil rights struggle - which may be off-putting to some audiences (cough-racists-cough).
The Pact, being a horror movie, probably has the next best chance of a decent performance because audiences will pay to see a horror movie no matter what the premise/critical response.
A Fantastic Fear might coast on the nations love of Simon Pegg but it's out-there weirdness may also frighten away more casual viewers. The terrible reviews won't help matters. Ill Manors will likely scrape through in the bottom half of the charts.
Opening to limited engagements are the Will Ferrel subtitle-centric comedy Casa De Mi Padre and Ti West's spookhouse indie, The Innkeepers. Out of the two I would say Innkeepers (being a horror and riding a lot of critical acclaim) will fare the best and stands a strong chance of breaking into the Top 10, maybe circling the middle of the charts if the per screen averages are good.
The Top 5 will be harder to crack than usual, I would expect Avengers and Men in Black 3 to retain most of its audience, both being blessed with good word of mouth. Snow White and The Huntsman could hold on to the more dedicated audience members, although dropping into the £1m range would not be unexpected.
Assuming Prometheus does not lose a huge number of its initial audience, and given the almost 50/50 split on reactions we're probably only looking at an above-average drop from an already high starting point, I would say it has a strong chance of retaining the top spot.