So much for the Avatar effect! Welcome to the King’s Speech effect!
After the first seven weekends of 2010, Avatar had hauled in £50.1m from the UK box office (of course that’s in addition to £26.9m it had already grabbed in the final weeks of 2009).
Avatar, with its long running time, dominated screens throughout the UK, effectively starving many other films of the oxygen of screen space.
Surely the first seven weeks of 2011 can’t be as massive for the box office? Enormo box office films like Avatar come but once in a generation – the year in which they are released can never be compared with the years before it or after such is the distortion effect.
In fact, not only is 2011 as good as 2010, it’s better:
• After the first seven weekends of 2010, the top weekly combined hauls of the top 15 films was £102m.
• After the first seven weekends of 2011, the top weekly combined hauls of the top 15 films was £107.2m – 5% better than 2010.
Even if you take out the first weekends out of the equation (the first weekend of 2011 featured a seven-day take for Gulliver’s Travels!), the numbers look like this:
• 2010: £86.1m
• 2011: £89.6m – 4% better than 2011
And rather than one film consuming everything in its path (Avatar), 2011 is typified by a number of quality, awards-laden movies performing well beyond their distributors’ greatest expectations:
• The King’s Speech - £33.7m
• Black Swan - £12.7m
• The Fighter – £4m
• True Grit - £1.8m
Those four films’ combined total box office so far (remember True Grit’s figure represents its opening weekend and that the BAFTAs were announced as that weekend concluded, so those awards’ impact will not been seen until this weekend’s figures are confirmed) is £52.4m – 4.5% better than Avatar in the same period a year ago.
I need hardly point out that each of those four films is considerably more than 4.5% better to watch than James Cameron’s Smurf movie!