The winners: Warcraft and Turtles

With an official opening number of £3.62m, Warcraft: The Beginning wins the box-office chart, just ahead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on £3.5m. Both are seven-day figures. The films opened on bank holiday Monday last week with the half-term holiday under way. Warcraft’s figure includes £2.17m in previews earned on its first four days, while the Turtles picked up £2.02m over the Monday-to-Thursday period.

Apt comparisons for Warcraft are hard to frame, since notable big-screen adaptations of video games have been scant in recent years. Reboot/sequel Hitman: Agent 47 debuted last August with £961,000 including previews of £171,000. As for Out of the Shadows, predecessor Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began in October 2014 with £4.79m, including £1.56m in previews. A comparison of the three-day weekend periods reveals that the new film is significantly behind the pace: £1.47m, compared with £3.22m.

The real winner: Me Before You

Landing at number three in the chart with £1.79m, Me Before You in fact outgrossed both Warcraft: The Beginning and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows on the weekend period. The film’s preview takings were a negligible £42,000. The adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ bestseller faced the challenge of a controversy erupting over the film’s storyline: paraplegic accident victim (Sam Claflin) chooses to end his life. While the news stories increased awareness, it’s hard to say how they affected box-office takings.

Me Before You enjoyed a happier start than Claflin’s previous chicklit adaptation. Love, Rosie, based on the Cecelia Ahern novel, kicked off with a disappointing £482,000, including £110,000 in previews in 2014. That film was more of a traditional romantic comedy, whereas Me Before You is a tragic romantic drama with comedic elements. The film’s success follows that of teary teen-cancer romance The Fault in Our Stars (2014), which earned £11.4m at the UK box office.

The half-term performers

Tim Burton on Alice Through the Looking Glass – video interview

The fact that the Warcraft and Turtles movies played for seven days in the reporting period allows easy comparison with films that were already on release. Over the same period, Alice Through the Looking Glass saw its total rise by £4.77m – significantly more than both of the top two films in the chart. Alice now stands at £7m after 10 days, a number that looks rosier than its anaemic £2.23m opening. Still, the film is way behind the pace of its predecessor: Alice in Wonderland stood at £22.75m at the same stage of its run. Through the Looking Glass is at 31% of that figure.

‘It’s nice for the ego’: Oscar Isaac on X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse also enjoyed a half-term boost, adding £3.72m in the seven days to 5 June – more than Warcraft or the Turtles managed over the same period. Apocalypse now stands at £15.86m, which is ahead of the lifetime total of X-Men: First Class (£15.10m) and the first X-Men (£14.98m) as well as 2013’s The Wolverine (£13.77m). These figures are not adjusted for inflation. Apocalypse will soon overtake X-Men Origins: Wolverine (£16.38m lifetime).

The indie hit

Declining just 4% from the previous frame, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship continues its domination of the arthouse space, with second weekend takings of £240,000, and £844,000 after 10 days. That’s more than the lifetime totals of Stillman’s previous biggest hits The Last Days of Disco (£619,00) and Metropolitan (£516,000) – although both those numbers were achieved at a time of significantly lower ticket prices.

Russell Crowe on The Nice Guys and his toilet chat with Ryan Gosling

Helping Love & Friendship was its expansion from 80 to 118 cinemas. Still, a screen average above £2,000 in the second week of release is impressive, and the film should hold its venues for a third session. It doesn’t face much competition for the audience that veers away from mainstream films, unless you count Shane Black’s The Nice Guys or Jodie Foster’s Money Monster – both playing widely in multiplexes. The Nice Guys opened with just over £1m. Black’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005) grossed £1.71m over the course of its UK theatrical run.

The flop

At the foot of our Other openers chart is Misconduct, with a very weedy £97 from five cinemas – that’salmost four people per venue. It stars Josh Duhamel, Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino, Alice Eve and Malin Åkerman, and is the directorial debut of writer/producer Shintaro Shimosawa (The Grudge, Grudge 2). The film is available on VOD at iTunes.

The experiment

Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach: exclusive clip

Documentary specialist Dogwoof released Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach into 28 cinemas at the weekend, grossing £12,454. It also presented the film more widely on Sunday, with an innovative “pay what you can” offer. In total, 43 venues participated, and there were introductions (from actors who had appeared in Loach films) at several venues, plus post-screening Q&As (with Loach, screenwriter partner Paul Laverty, Versus director Louise Osmond and Kes star David Bradley) at others. Takings are still being tallied by Dogwoof.

The future

Thanks to the arrival of the decent crop of new titles, takings overall are 66% up on the previous frame and 68% up on the equivalent weekend from 2015, when Spy landed at the top spot. The coming frame is unlikely to compare well to a year ago, since the second weekend of June last year saw the arrival of Jurassic World. This time, cinemas are greeting Melissa McCarthy comedy The Boss, and ensemble comedy Mother’s Day, featuring Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis. Alternatives include Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There, Michael Moore documentary Where to Invade Next and Christian-themed illness family drama Miracles from Heaven.

Top 10 Films June 3-5

1. Warcraft: The Beginning, £3,623,698 from 500 sites (new)
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, £3,495,445 from 513 sites (new)
3. Me Before You, £1,790,657 from 445 sites (new)
4. Alice Through the Looking Glass, £1,352,548 from 583 sites. Total: £7,003,004
5. X-Men: Apocalypse, £1,248,770 from 509 sites. Total: £15,855,091
6. The Nice Guys, £1,004,622 from 484 sites (new)
7. Angry Birds, £850,764 from 546 sites. Total £8,699,283
8. The Jungle Book, £570,486 from 491 sites. Total: £44,581,352
9. Money Monster, £362,425 from 389 sites. Total: £1,996,038
10. Housefull 3, £272,705 from 93 sites (new)

Other openers

Race, £39,990 from 149 sites
The Measure of a Man, £14,107 from 14 sites
Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach, £12,454 from 28 sites
Iraivi, £8,408 from six sites
Love Me Tomorrow, £5,610 from six sites
Velainu Vandhutta Vellaikaaran, £4,994 from five sites
Holding the Man, £3,585 from one site
Only Yesterday, £3,473 from 12 sites (rerelease)
Breaking the Bank, £1,743 from eight sites
Misconduct, £97 from five sites


Charles Gant

The GuardianTramp

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