Building a blockbuster brick by brick

In a cluttered few weeks at the multiplexes, the kids came out on top

Virtual bricks of course, it would actually take 15,080,330 real bricks to re-create the digital world created by production designers using the free software LEGO Digital Designer.

 

January is rarely a bumper month for the retail sector. But in the movieverse it invariably makes for an interesting spike in footfall and trade. There are plenty of reasons for plenty of punters. There are Xmas
holdovers: Hunger Games and The Hobbit are still knocking around select sites, each with more than three million yoyos from their respective ROI runs.

Colder weather brings out the family sector, already an increasingly important demographic for this territory. Thus, Frozen can boast€3,357,905 after 10 weeks on release; Mr. Peabody and Sherman has €429,152 in the kitty after just one weekend (and previews) and The Lego Movie has made €233,413 from previews alone. There’s plenty more where that came from.

The same excellent plastic brick-related product took $72,544,343 in the US last weekend, marking the biggest February opening since Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ attracted the godly and the curious in multitudes back in 2004.

Proper movie buffs, meanwhile, are busy working through their Oscar betting forms. Last weekend, Dallas Buyers Club – the film that has made Matthew McConaughey the runaway favourite to take home the Best Actor gong next month – took €133,724 from just 25 prints. 12 Years a Slave – the title that ought to win Best Film but probably won’t – has taken €1,482,252 in the ROI after five weeks.

The biggest splash last month, however, was caused by The Wolf of Wall Street , which topped the chart for three weeks to the tune of€1,890,363 and counting.

Elsewhere, the traditional January counter-programming bill – horror, action, comedy – has been squeezed rather more than usual. Peter Berg’s Afghanistan- set actioner Lone Survivor has taken €203,642 to date, a figure that doesn’t keep pace with last year’s similarly themed Zero Dark Thirty . Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit exited the top 10 last weekend, having made a lacklustre €190,225 from 56 sites after two weeks on release.

Even Robocop is feeling the counter-programming pinch: the latest studio reboot did okay business (€158,907 from 50 prints) but not the numbers one might have expected from a potentail franchise launchpad.

Last Vegas , of all things, fared better; that film has just crept up to €911,762 on its sixth weekend in the running. That Awkward Moment , the other comedy in the marketplace, has made €251,457 after its second weekend.

Counter-programming, we learn, not for the first time, needs to be focussed and needs room to breathe: see unlikely Stateside smash Ride Along , a US box-office topper with a $105 million January haul, thanks to an absence of similarly themed competitors. There’s a lesson in there somewhere about clutter and overload.

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