No room in the million-mark club for the little guys

The blockbusters are still smashing up the box office

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - still packing a punch at the multiplexes

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - still packing a punch at the multiplexes

Fri, May 9, 2014, 10:46

Last weekend’s new release slate ran into double figures. But you’d hardly guess as much by looking at the surprisingly static ROI top 10.

Welcome to the million-mark club: there are currently four titles sitting on seven-figure hauls and several weeks of repeat trade: Calvary (€1,361,449), The Amazing Spider Man 2 (€1,411,149), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (€1,290,622), and Muppets Most Wanted (€1,037,454). Noah isn’t far behind, having taken €803,829 in five weeks. Nor is Rio 2, with a running total of €958,753 over the same period.

The unchanging line-up made it tough for the many newcomers. Irish contender Run & Jump mustered €15,716 from 18 sites. It’s not a stupendous score for Steph Green’s affecting drama, but it’s not bad when compared with some of the weekend’s more seriously maimed casualties. The heavily advertised Brit caper Plastic took less than 10 grand from 21 sites; the high-profile Brick Mansions (Paul Walker’s last completed film) made €21,906 from 37 prints.

Take heart, Run & Jump. Calvary and The Stag may have broken Irish cinema’s box-office duck. But a ridiculously busy April slate crowded out recent Irish interests The Sea, Songs for Amy and Last Days on Mars. Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank has it all to do. And we’re betting it will, too, if only to answer a just-now-made-up Buddhist inquiry: is a movie star under a giant papier mâché head still a movie star?

We do have a new, if crushingly predictable, box office champ. The insatiable Irish appetite for daft US comedies continues unabated: Bad Neighbours is No 1 with a bullet and a hefty €293,890. That figure is all the more impressive when you factor in the film’s eccentric Saturday release and consider that its nearest rival – The Other Woman – was some way behind with €163,451 (or €621,979 in two weeks).

Expect Bad Neighbours to retain its crown until Godzilla stomps into cinemas next weekend. It may not make it into Hangover figures (try catching Hangover 2’s €896,189 opening weekend take from May 2011) but the million-mark club beckons. And then the two-million-mark club. And then some more.

Across the Atlantic, there are mutterings about franchise fatigue. Hmm. True, in the US The Amazing Spider Man 2 fell just short of a $100 million opening with $96,776,618. But, really, who cares? The same film is a smash in Europe and Asia. Does a worldwide take of $374,272,587 sound like franchise fatigue? Does Captain America 2’s $680,366,580 haul sound like franchise fatigue?

No one need pull the plug on JJ Abrams’s Star Wars just yet.

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