Tara Brady on the idiosyncrasies of the Irish box office
Can you hear it? It’s the sound of big guns firing all over the movieverse. Boom! Skyfall rakes in $796,574,734 worldwide and, with a ¤5,528,884 take from ROI, looks certain to be Ireland’s favourite film of 2012.
Boom! The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 hits $598,140,798 in just two weekends, and the film’s ¤2,025,540 Irish haul seems set for a top six finish.
It’s a tough time for the little fish. But then, it’s always a tough time for the little fish. With Twilight and Bond standing strong and The Hobbit looming, even the canny Weinsteins have had difficulty with its Oscar-bait stealth release strategy. Silver Linings Playbook, the bookies’ choice, struggled toward $6 million from 367 US sites last weekend. The same film placed fifth here with a solid if unexciting ¤83,665 from 41 prints.
This Christmas, won’t you spare a thought for small fry Irish releases Death of a Superhero (see review, page 13) and Dollhouse (opening next week)? As supersaturation releases peak, how on earth as these titles going to hang on in cinemas?
Get used to it. Disney’s recent $4 billion purchase of LucasFilm – a fire sale bargain by any estimation – has inspired a good deal of chatter about contentand property-driven cinema. Huh? Isn’t that like saying “franchise“? Yes, but with bells on. Who, in the coming decades, can compete with Disney? The House of Mouse’s holy trinity of recent acquisitions (LucasFilm, Pixar and Marvel Entertainment) is a gateway to the profitable reboot dimension, a place where such fanboy nightmares as Indiana Jones Babies and Matthew Vaughn’s Star Wars come to pass.
Let the superhero wars commence. Warner Bros, which once looked immortal with Dark Knight and Harry Potter on the books, are fighting back. This week’s chatter has Joseph Gordon Levitt playing Batman in 2015; a cameo at the end of next summer’s Man of Steel will be mandatory. Can Wonder Woman match the collective might of Hulk and Darth Vader? Our truth lasso says “doubtful”, but it’ll still make a fortune on 4,000+ prints in the US.
Back at home, the dire Nativity 2 stands as a the grim reminder that even the most diabolical fare can find an audience provided the backers pony up for a blitzkrieg TV campaign and there’s something Christmassy in the title. It certainly didn’t help that none of the studios had the foresight to release a family film since Halloween. (Hotel Transylvania and Madagascar 3 are still sitting pretty in the Irish top 10 with rolling seven-figure takes.)
Happily, with only a fraction of the same marketing budget, End of Watch scored a sensational ¤64,320 from 20 ROI prints, with screen averages comparable to Bond.
Huzzah. The system works. Just about. For the moment.