Tara Brady on the idio­syn­cra­sies of the Ir­ish box of­fice

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

Last weekend’s new re­lease slate ran into dou­ble fig­ures. But you’d hardly guess as much by look­ing at the sur­pris­ingly static ROI top 10.

Wel­come to the mil­lion-mark club: there are cur­rently four ti­tles sit­ting on seven-fig­ure hauls and sev­eral weeks of re­peat trade: Cal­vary (€1,361,449), The Amaz­ing Spi­der Man 2 (€1,411,149), Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier (€1,290,622), and Mup­pets Most Wanted (€1,037,454). Noah isn’t far be­hind, hav­ing taken €803,829in five weeks. Nor is Rio 2, with a run­ning to­tal of €958,753over the same pe­riod.

The un­chang­ing line-up made it tough for the many new­com­ers. Ir­ish con­tender Run & Jump mus­tered €15,716from 18 sites. It’s not a stu­pen­dous score for Steph Green’s af­fect­ing drama, but it’s not bad when com­pared with some of the weekend’s more se­ri­ously maimed ca­su­al­ties. The heav­ily ad­ver­tised Brit ca­per Plas­tic took less than 10 grand from 21 sites; the high-pro­file Brick Man­sions (Paul Walker’s last com­pleted film) made €21,906from 37 prints.

Take heart, Run & Jump. Cal­vary and The Stag may have bro­ken Ir­ish cin­ema’s box-of­fice duck. But a ridicu­lously busy April slate crowded out re­cent Ir­ish in­ter­ests The Sea, Songs for Amy and Last Days on Mars. Lenny Abra­ham­son’s Frank has it all to do. And we’re bet­ting it will, too, if only to an­swer a just-now-made-up Bud­dhist in­quiry: is a movie star un­der a gi­ant pa­pier mâché head still a movie star?

We do have a new, if crush­ingly pre­dictable, box of­fice champ. The in­sa­tiable Ir­ish ap­petite for daft US come­dies continues un­abated: Bad Neigh­bours is No 1 with a bul­let and a hefty €293,890.That fig­ure is all the more im­pres­sive when you fac­tor in the film’s ec­cen­tric Satur­day re­lease and con­sider that its near­est ri­val – The Other Woman – was some way be­hind with €163,451(or €621,979in two weeks).

Ex­pect Bad Neigh­bours to re­tain its crown un­til Godzilla stomps into cin­e­mas next weekend. It may not make it into Hang­over fig­ures (try catch­ing Hang­over 2’s €896,189open­ing weekend take from May 2011) but the mil­lion-mark club beck­ons. And then the twomil­lion-mark club. And then some more.

Across the At­lantic, there are mut­ter­ings about fran­chise fa­tigue. Hmm. True, in the US The Amaz­ing Spi­der Man 2 fell just short of a $100 mil­lion open­ing with $96,776,618. But, re­ally, who cares? The same film is a smash in Europe and Asia. Does a world­wide take of $374,272,587 sound like fran­chise fa­tigue? Does Cap­tain Amer­ica 2’s $680,366,580 haul sound like fran­chise fa­tigue?

No one need pull the plug on JJ Abrams’s Star Wars just yet.

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