ROT­TEN POTA­TOES

Tara Brady on the idio­syn­cra­sies of the Ir­ish box of­fice

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

Our Amer­i­can chums sur­vive killer heat­waves by tak­ing refuge in mul­ti­plexes, where the AC is al­ways turned up to an Arc­tic 11. That’s how sum­mer block­busters came to be sum­mer block­busters. But in the UK and Ire­land, heat­waves are a com­par­a­tive rar­ity. And so the year’s must mus­cu­lar ti­tles must do bat­tle with the lure of the beach and the call of the gar­den cen­tre. Oh . . . and the foot­ball. 22 Jump Street is the reign­ing box of­fice champ both here and in the US, where it de­buted with $57.1 mil­lion last weekend. Jump cer­tainly has no com­peti­tor here.

Fol­low­ing on from last week’s crazy counter-pro­gram­ming burst, this week’s 10(!) new re­leases had best be­ware. Smaller alt.ti­tles all tanked last weekend: The Young and Prodi­gious TS Spivet opened to a pal­try €484; Ice­landic dram­edy Of Horses and Men fared even worse with €224.

Higher pro­file ti­tles strug­gled: in the case of Devil’s Knot, the lack of an Ir­ish press show and dread­ful State­side notices has­tened the film to­ward a dis­as­trous €14,581 from 21 lo­ca­tions.

Ocu­lus sounded like a bet­ter bet: the film has re­ceived uni­ver­sally pos­i­tive notices and is fronted by such pop­u­lar TV ladies as Doc­tor Who’s Karen Gil­lan and Bat­tlestar Galac­tica’s Ka­tee Sack­hoff. Sadly, the gap be­tween the film’s US launch (in April) and the UK open­ing en­sured the ti­tle was al­ready “avail­able” for global law­break­ers. Ocu­lus scored just over ¤37,000 from 54 sites.

The ut­terly dis­mal faith drama Heaven Is for Real opened on 29 prints here, to the baf­fle­ment of reg­u­lar in­dus­try watch­ers and any­one who knows any­thing about ex­hi­bi­tion. Or busi­ness. Or film. The Chris­tian-themed pic­ture fin­ished with €8,363.

Mean­while, the folks at 20th Century Fox took on the World Cup with not one but two girlie pic­tures. The Food Guide to Love prof­ited lit­tle from its coun­ter­pro­gram­ming strat­egy: the film peaked at No 21 in the ROI chart, earn­ing just €1,618from two lo­ca­tions. The sump­tu­ous pe­riod drama Belle fared bet­ter, tak­ing home €15,277from 11 prints.

Where have all the the­o­ret­i­cal foot­ball wid­ows gone? Maybe it’s time for dis­trib­u­tors to stop think­ing in terms of Vic­to­rian gen­der stereo­types.

But not just yet. Hang on to your hats for the in­com­ing non­stop hen party that is Walk­ing on Sun­shine. And stay tuned this weekend for The Fault in Our Stars. John Green’s dy­ing young weepie has reigned over the book chart for at least a gazil­lion weeks. The film’s trade dropped off heav­ily dur­ing its sec­ond weekend on re­lease in the US. But ex­pect fans to flock to Ir­ish mul­ti­plexes from to­day.

Foot­ball wid­ows? Ha. Ex­plain Road. This stir­ring por­trait of the mar­vel­lous mo­tor­cy­cling Dun­lop dy­nasty has al­ready taken €29,755 in the ROI and a whop­ping €42,387 in the North; an all-is­land haul of €72,142.

We’ve said it be­fore and we’ll say again: even against the Great­est Show on Earth, those Dun­lops are some boys.

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