The UK box-office may only be 4% down on last year (which with things as they are going is a blessing in disguise) but when one considers that this week heralds the arrival of a 0 million Disney production you’ve got to wonder where it all went wrong.

Here’s our look at the UK box office this week and my stab at answering that question.

The Dubious Winner  – John Carter

With a weekend intake of £1,960,414 from an actually quite low 456 sites may have temporarily won the day but what John Carter bound to lose is a shed load of cash. Where did it all go wrong? There was $250 million dollars, 26 months in production before release and a supremely confident Andrew Stanton at the helm. Well is obvious isn’t it? All of the above.

Whoever thought that a supremely average IP such as John Carter of Mars would be the next big thing really wasn’t thinking straight. Avatar had James Cameron behind it, years and years of preparation behind it and some mind-blowing innovation. John Carter was seemingly spewed out on a whim with producers obviously putting as much confidence in Stanton as he obviously has in himself.

When asked about budgets he simply replies that big budget is all he knows. That he wouldn’t know what to do with $5 million. When asked about audience expectations he said he doesn’t care, that he makes films for himself. These are all statements of a man that you don’t want helming one of the most expensive films ever made. Disney are soon to feel that.

It’s been well touted that in order to be considered a success the film would have to turn over $200 million worldwide in it’s opening weekend. It’s done half that. Word of mouth and the future of the supposed John Carter trilogy aren’t looking promising.

The Loser – Bel Ami

Build it, stick him inside it and they will come. The building in question here is anything, the him is R-Patz and they will come means teenage girls from miles around all hoping to get to their seat before swooning in the aisles and missing the first half of the film through unconsciousness.

I’m guessing that the money behind Bel Ami was hoping for cinemas nationwide to be packed to the gills with swoonsome 15-somethings all paying handsomely to get a look at R-Patz’s handsome face and handsome hair and handsome handsomeness. As will Disney for John Carter they may pay for their miscalculation.

Making only £296,341 from a whole 21 sites all involved have really dropped the ball on this one. That’s nowhere near enough to cover Pattinson’s salary surely, unless of course he’s taking a cut of the profits, by which I mean absolutely nothing.

The Disappointment – The Raven

I don’t think anyone ever had high hopes for The Raven. John Cusack isn’t the draw he never really once was and a speculative horror based around the last days of Edgar Allen Poe are never going to be a mainstream pull. Even so, with a paltry £299,254 from a princely 300 sites no one’s going to be pleased with how the first weekend has gone.

I recently re-watched V for Vendetta and James McTeigue did a great job there. Will he ever reach those heady heights again?

The Highest Grossing Film of the Year So Far – The Woman in Black

War Horse may have been the huge hit of January but February and March belong to dark horse The Woman in Black which has stood resolute giving two fingers to box-office underperformance and all comers as it rakes in the dough and laughs in John Carter’s hugely overblown face.

Yes that’s right, Daniel Radcliffe has opened the biggest hit of the year so far. So there. Who needs a nuance or variety in your performances when you can have a widower Harry Potter wearing the constant expression of Harry Potter in the scarier moments of the Harry Potter films? You know. When he was Harry Potter.

However the cynics (by which I mean me, of course) have been thoroughly shown who’s boss. Radcliffe is a proper leading man! The Woman in Black is a properly good film! Hammer have made a successful comeback to horror! 2013 is going to be full of 12A horror films! The world is now upside down! Black is white, white is black! Red is a startlingly unexpected shade of turquoise! What’s happened to the world?!

I’m not sure, but whatever it is The Woman in Black is now sitting pretty at number 3 after 5 weeks with a grand total of £19,485,541 to its name. And it’s British. Superb.

Next Time:

We Bought a Dramatically Uninteresting Zoo is out next week. That’s right. We’ve got Cameron Crowe, Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson lining their A-list selves up to flog a film about a couple buying a dramatically uninteresting zoo. I think it may actually just be called We Bought a Zoo but either title is as terrible as the other. Who needs guns, explosions and fun when you’ve got lemurs and mischievous monkeys and the director of Elizabethtown? I’m looking forward to Stallone’s reactionary rehash The Expendables 2: We Bought An Aquarium. I think I might die from a sentiment overload. That or the overwhelming cuteness of a slow lloris. If they put a slow lloris in their zoo I’m there. If not I’m sure we won’t see it topping the charts next week so who cares?

Next week is sure to belong to The Devil Inside. Smashing it’s way to number 1 in the US it’s extremely well targeted ‘scraggy woman with cut lip and murky religious undertones’ poster has done its job and many an impressionable wimp has wimped at the sight of it. That’s the key to a smash hit. Horror is all about mind games and so far The Devil Inside is winning them. I predict big things. It’s not like everyone has spent their cinema budget for the month this week now is it…

It will however have to contend with Marky Mark Wahlberg in seemingly routine heist-actioner Contraband and more importantly with reboot 21 Jump Street which is getting some good press. With the box-office as it’s been recently though who knows what will win?We can only hope that it’s the film that deserves it.

UK Top 10 Films:

  • 1. John Carter, £1,960,414 from 456 sites (New Entry)
  • 2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, £1,787,352 from 499 sites. Total: £10,855,596
  • 3. The Woman in Black, £1,131,402 from 435 sites. Total: £19,485,541
  • 4. This Means War, £1,017,075 from 439 sites . Total: £3,591,896
  • 5. Safe House, £774,745 from 382 sites. Total: £6,131,580
  • 6. The Muppets, £667,231 from 485 sites. Total: £15,297,128
  • 7. Project X, £412,883 from 286 sites. Total: £1,486,494
  • 8. The Raven, £299,254 from 300 sites (New Entry)
  • 9. Bel Ami, £296,341 from 261 sites (New Entry)
  • 10.The Artist, £211,427 from 227 sites. Total: £9,028,092

Other New Releases:

Top Film This Time Last Year: Battle: Los Angeles

Source: DCM