Irish audiences have gotten religion, says Tara Brady
Despite President Higgins’s recent jaunt to Windsor, our British chums could not be persuaded to take much interest in the muddled Hibernian musings of Calvary.
Officially, writer-director John Michael McDonagh’s hit blatherfest placed 7th with a haul of €693,411 on the box office chart that covers the UK, Ireland and Malta. Unofficially, it’s a mostly Irish-made smash, taking €358,790 from 65 ROI sites last weekend, with a screen average of €5,519. In the UK, it managed a comparatively modest €334,621 from 85 sites, with a screen average of €3,936.
We call that differential the Gleeson Ratio. The actor’s presence has attracted unexpected quantities of footfall into Irish cinemas plenty of times before now. But we might equally call it the Late Late Factor. Calvary is the second of this season’s splashy and effective rollouts from the House of Tubridy. Last weekend, Irish comedy contender The Stag – a movie featured twice in recent Late Late episodes - sailed past €600,000 on its sixth week on release.
We have additional theories. Calvary may have benefitted from some kind of latent religiosity buried deep within the national psyche. Here’s the flimsy evidence: In the UK, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has topped the chart for three weeks running. In ROI, the same movie managed one week at No 1, before Noah smote the Marvel hero with €253,761 to Cap 2’s second-place €209,082.
Last weekend, priestly Brendan Gleeson smote Noah, which dropped to No 2 with a running box office total of €517,580. Captain America fell to fourth, adding €122,793 to a solid €1,039,608 take.
We’re not sure if a religious figure ever suggested that “The Lego Movie will always be with us”, but they should have. The plastic adventure continues to prop up the nation’s top 10 movies with €3,274,305 in the kitty after nine weeks on the go. That’s just behind this season’s most unexpected hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which has now made €757,738 seven weeks into a limited (currently 29 sites) release.
Meanwhile, Irish punters could not be persuaded to take much interest in the muddled British horror of The Quiet Ones. The Hammer film was released here without a press show last week – an “oversight” that almost invariably drags down the numbers. Thus, The Quiet Ones placed fifth in the UK rankings but landed in a comparatively lowly seventh spot in ROI. All told, Irish audiences accounted for just €34,793 (from 42 locations) of the film’s €827,869 take from the UK/ROI zone.
The Raid 2 faired only a little better, with €27,926 from 17 locations. As with its predecessor, cult status doesn’t always translate into huge profits. Just ask the people behind the horror/sci-fi thriller Last Days on Mars, which charted way down in 20th place. Does anyone know how to perform the Last Rites?