Tara Brady on the idiosyncrasies of the Irish box office
Oh how Rotten Potatoes yearns to devote this column to the pants-round-the-ankles catastrophe that is Run for Your Wife.
Ray Cooney’s adaptation of his own long-running sex farce opened – without reviews for some reason – at the Irish box-office with a stunning total of ¤37. That’s a screen average of, well, ¤37. Frankly, we’re surprised so many people turned up to watch Danny Dyer stand dangerously on the wrong end of a rake. (Mind you…)
No, given the weekend that’s in it, our time would be better spent examining the returns for this year’s crop of Oscar nominees. Wreck-It Ralph’s two-week total of ¤1.2 million is hugely impressive. However, though it is favourite to take the best-animated feature prize, you couldn’t really call it an Oscar movie.
Argo is a different matter. Looking like a dead cert for the big prize, Ben Affleck’s historical romp has also been declared a box-office champ. Well, maybe. We’ve come to expect that films directed by Affleck – who’s sort of Irish, remember – do proportionally better here than in the UK. Sure enough, grabbing a hefty ¤1.2 million of its ¤7 million combined British/Irish takings, we’ve again waved the Tricolour in Ben’s direction. But Argo is not quite the colossal smash some have claimed.
Westerns aren’t supposed to play overseas. But Django Unchained has passed out Argo in a third as many weeks: in this part of the world Tarantino trumps national fervour every time. Life of Pi, a film nobody felt particularly commercial, is still hanging in at the bottom reaches of the top 20 with a grand cumulative total of ¤1.6 million.
We’ve already mused on Les Misérables’ extraordinary performance. Victor Hugo can surely never have (sorry) dreamed a dream in times gone by that some weepy musical of his fattest novel would win over so many space-age Celts in a distant century. It will surely register as the biggest earner of the best picture nominees.
Let’s pass over the distinctly fringe takings for Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild. The so-so returns for Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty (both still to reach ¤500,000) are also of only moderate interest.
What’s really striking about the current run of best picture nominees is the very healthy return for Lincoln. Having become a major hit in its home territories, everyone assumed this most American of stories would play to three men and a horse in “rest of world”.
Well, many more than (sorry again) four score and seven Irish punters have turned out to watch Daniel Day-Lewis shepherd the 13th amendment through congress. The picture has already taken twice as much as either the supposedly gung-ho Zero Dark Thirty or the supposedly date-friendly Silver Linings Playbook. Once again, with ¤1.05 million in the bank, it is doing proportionately better here than in the UK.
Ah, the Irish and history.