Ar­rest­ing de­but for Con­nemara cop com­edy

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

The week be­fore the most suc­cess­ful film of the year opened (come on, what else is go­ing to trump the last Pot­ter?), the box-of­fice fig­ures threw up two very in­ter­est­ing re­sults.

Tak­ing more than ¤500,000 in Ire­land alone, The Guard kicked aside var­i­ous Brides­maids and as­sorted Trans­form­ers to top the Ir­ish charts. Such was its suc­cess, that, on do­mes­tic tak­ings alone, The Guard man­aged to se­cure the No 5 spot on the com­bined UK and Ir­ish hit pa­rade and reg­is­tered as the high­est new en­try in those ter­ri­to­ries. (And it doesn’t even open in the UK un­til Au­gust.)

Ir­ish pro­duc­ers will be read­ing the en­trails to ex­plain the film’s ex­tra­or­di­nary suc­cess. De­cent re­views? An eas­ily un­der­stood premise? Af­fec­tion for Bren­dan Glee­son? The pres­ence of a US star in Don Chea­dle? A cun­ning re­lease date? At any rate, all in­volved de­serve con­grat­u­la­tion.

One place be­low The Guard in the UK/Ir­ish chart we find The Tree of Life. That plac­ing is de­cep­tive. The film opened on just 75 screens and, with tak­ings of ¤406,000, it thus ac­crued a whop­ping screen av­er­age of around ¤6,100. (The Ir­ish av­er­age was even higher). The only re­cent Palme d’Or win­ner that came close to those sorts of fig­ures was The Wind That Shakes the Bar­ley, which opened with ¤440,000.

All this must make dis­turb­ing read­ing for Icon En­ter­tain­ment, which, af­ter at­tempt­ing to shuf­fle the re­lease date, ended up los­ing The Tree of Life to 20th Cen­tury Fox. What re­ally went on there?

Don Chea­dle in box-of­fice hit The Guard

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