Magazine article Screen International

Box Office 2015: Brits Share Summer Spoils

Magazine article Screen International

Box Office 2015: Brits Share Summer Spoils

Article excerpt

Leading the charge at the UK box office this summer was Jurassic World, as Universal continued its banner year by dominating the period between May 1 and September 3.

Landing with the distributor's biggest ever UK opening of £19.4m, Jurassic World roared its way to £64.1m and became the eighth biggest film of all time in the territory, while laying down a marker to Spectre and Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. The opening alone surpassed the efforts of previous instalment Jurassic Park III, which wheezed its way to £18.3m in 2001.

Niels Swinkels, executive vice-president of international distribution at Universal, credits the film's success to its "all-audience" appeal and the deliberate creative choice to remind audiences of Steven Spielberg's game-changing 1993 original: "Jurassic World is both a homage to and celebration of the original Jurassic Park, as well as a fresh start for the franchise," he says.

Getting animated

As in the US, Jurassic World wasn't the only success story for Universal this summer. The distributor also provided the second biggest film of the period, with animated spin-offMinions achieving a £45.8m summer performance (£46.2m to date), after setting the biggest ever three-day opening for an animation at £11.6m.

Like Universal's domination of the box office this summer, the Minions were everywhere. "We were able to mount a release strategy that included an unprecedented number of promotional and licensed partners," says Swinkels. "The timing and momentum of the omnipresent campaign helped open Minions to record-breaking numbers."

Universal didn't have it all its own way as Ted 2 struggled - a £10m total tally just about scraped past Ted's £9.3m opening (and was a better showing for the sequel than in most territories), but the distributor can console itself with several records. As a result of the earlier successes of Fifty Shades Of Grey and Furious 7, Universal became the first distributor in the UK to have four £30m hits in a calendar year, and to open four films over £10m in a calendar year.

The nearest challenger to Universal's dominance was Disney. Despite opening on April 24, Avengers: Age Of Ultron was the fourth biggest performer over the summer period, taking £24.6m of its final £48.3m; a strong run even if it fell short of Avengers Assemble's £51.9m result in 2012.

But the real star for Disney was Inside Out; with £35.3m, it became the fourth biggest original animation of all time. The critically acclaimed Pixar outing is the second biggest original animation in the UK.

Tom Batchelor, director of theatrical sales at Disney UK, believes Pixar's brand equity made Inside Out stand out in a summer of returning franchises. …

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