Tara Brady on the idio­syn­cra­sies of the Ir­ish box of­fice

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - OPINION -

We know what you’ve been do­ing this month. You’ve been go­ing to Les Misérables, haven’t you? With tak­ings of $314,031,845 world­wide (in­clud­ing ¤1.6 mil­lion from this ter­ri­tory), the Os­car con­tender looks al­most cer­tain to leapfrog over Mamma Mia! and Chicago to be­come the sec­ond big­gest movie mu­si­cal of all time. It may even top­ple Grease from the top spot.

Les Mis, de­spite a healthy ¤220,959 show­ing last week­end, wasn’t even the na­tion’s favourite film. That hon­our fell to Lin­coln, with its ¤324,536 take. It’s not usual for US pres­i­den­tial biopics to make that kind of noise on this side of the At­lantic. In ROI, how­ever, Daniel Day-Lewis counts as a ma­jor box of­fice player. There Will Be Blood did more than

“Pi’s success is due, in part, to the fam­ily trade. For the same rea­son, the unlovely Parental Guid­ance clings to the top 10”

a quar­ter of its UK busi­ness here.

Ditto Quentin. Django Un­chained is an­other Jan­uary win­ner with ¤754,875 and the cer­tainty of pass­ing the mil­lion mark. Tarantino has al­ways played well here. Even lesser out­ings and mi­nor works – Death Proof, you say? – have rus­tled up dis­pro­por­tion­ate busi­ness in Ire­land.

Are th­ese ti­tles all coast­ing their way to su­pe­rior Jan­uary trade on the back of Os­car nominations? That seems doubt­ful. The heav­ily tipped Sil­ver Lin­ings Playbook is cur­rently lan­guish­ing at No 26 in the Ir­ish box of­fice, hav­ing trick­led its way to a rather unim­pres­sive ¤358,373. The Ses­sions took only ¤812 from three sites last week­end. Zero Dark Thirty, for all its pre-re­lease swag­ger, de­buted with an un­re­mark­able ¤140,423 this week.

Mean­while, films with fewer nominations con­tinue to thrive. To date, The Im­pos­si­ble has notched up an im­plau­si­ble ¤1.3 mil­lion from the 26 coun­ties. Down the chart, Argo’s healthy run­ning to­tal (¤1.2 mil­lion) has earned the film a mi­nor re-re­lease into 12 lo­ca­tions. Life of Pi con­tin­ues to thrive with ¤1.5 mil­lion.

Pi’s success is due, in part, to fam­ily trade. For the same rea­son, the unlovely Parental Guid­ance is cling­ing to the top 10 for a fifth week with ¤844,247, Rise of the Guardians is still the 13th big­gest movie in Ire­land af­ter nine weeks, and Tinker­bell has winged her way past half a mil­lion euro.

Away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the chart, there’s the JDIFF box of­fice to con­tend with. By now fes­ti­val pun­ters have surely heard that Joss Whe­don’s un­veil­ing of Much Ado About Noth­ing is sold out (no, we can’t get you a ticket), and be aware: The Body, White Elephant, The Place Be­yond the Pines and the sub­lime Blan­canieves are all sell­ing very fast.

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