Loach film breaks Irish box-office records


The controversial political drama and award-winning film The Wind that Shakes the Barley has become the highest-grossing independent Irish-made film at the box office in Ireland, according to the Irish Film Board.

The Palme d'Or recipient, which was the subject of intense political debate following its release on June 23rd, has accounted for €2.7 million in takings to date at the Irish box office.

It supersedes previous records set by Intermission, starring Colin Farrell, which grossed €2.5 million in 2003, and Man About Dog, a farcical tale about stealing a greyhound, which grossed €2.1 million in 2004.

Currently residing at fourth and fifth positions of the top-grossing independent Irish-made films at the Irish box office are John Boorman's The General and Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters.

Based on the story of two brothers who fought in Ireland's War of Independence, The Wind that Shakes the Barley was financed without the involvement of major US studios.

The production costs of €6.5 million were incurred by director Ken Loach's Sixteen Films and Irish company Element Film. On its opening weekend alone, the film made €377,000. Six weeks later, it remains in the top five attended films in Ireland, according to Carlton Screen Advertising.

In the context of overall box-office receipts in Ireland, the film starring Cillian Murphy, Liam Cunningham and Padraic Delaney has become the fourth-highest-grossing film in Ireland this year, fending off competition from Hollywood studio productions such as Mission Impossible and Chicken Little.

Responding to the new records achieved by The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Simon Perry, chief executive of the Irish Film Board, reasoned that local audiences for Irish films are continuing to grow on an annual basis.

"The strong support the film industry has received from Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John O'Donoghue and the Irish Government is making a real impact and we look forward to seeing more Irish films top the Irish box office," he said.

The next Irish film to be released to cinema audiences will be The Front Line, directed by David Gleeson. His previous work includes Cowboys and Angels.