It’s the tail end of half-term and The Woman in Black and The Muppets have cleaned up for the second week in a row.

The weekend has also thrown up a terrible selection of new releases with only one smashing its way into the currently robust top 10. Not surprising considering the strong releases of the past few weeks but still it’s a rare, rare thing. So here we go. My review of the weekend that was, in winners, losers, rubbish and my own ill-judged opinions.

The Winner – The Woman in Black

When I saw that Daniel Radcliffe was to be leading the big-screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black my opinion was divided. It was divided between whether Radcliffe would be as twitchy and ineffectual as usual or whether he might pull the biggest coup since the time he managed to bump faces with Cho Chang inside what was ostensibly a fully functioning chemistry vacuum replete with dark matter, atomic repulsion and furious priapic fervour.

I haven’t seen it so I can’t really pass comment (something which should colour almost the entirety of this article but conveniently doesn’t) but nevertheless it’s held the top spot for the second week in a row garnering yet another £3.5 million+ revenue with £3,501,601 from 433 sites.

It’s per screen average in what has been a relatively underperforming box-office of late is really quite miraculous. Holding off strong competition (in every sense of the phrase) from The Muppets which has similar box office returns from a monstrous 539 screens both films have now topped £10 million. I’m sure that everyone involved in both is chuffing well chuffed and from the reviews it sounds like they deserve as much.

The Loser – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Oh dear, oh dear. One minute you are nominated for an extremely trumped-up Best Picture nomination (a crime against Drive, Tinker Tailor, We Need to Talk About Kevin and cinema in general I’m sure you’ll all agree)  the next you’re flopping around in the foyer of Cineworld’s around the country, gasping for air, begging to be thrown back into the pond of an all too fleeting pre-release Oscar hype that has evidently managed to do nothing for it.

It was meant to be so much better. They’ve got a big selling book to work from, you’ve got Hanks, Bullock, an Oscar nominated Von Sydow and a child actor who can say very long words with the requisite authority. What ever happened?!

An opening weekend box office of £354,409 happened, from a relatively humongous 304 sites. If you care to look up the per screen average there you’ll find your answer lacking a whole load of digits before the decimal point. Yes, if you ever wanted to know what it’s like to sit in a cinema entirely alone, surrounded by tumbleweeds blown along only by a gust of Oscar desperation, then pop down to whatever cinema is stupid enough to show it next week.

Yes I indeed did do just this and d’you know what? I don’t think I liked it much. Have I made that clear?

The Rubbish – Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Riding through a critical storm into the top three this week came the sequel/reboot/re-imagining of 2007’s Ghost Rider. Helmed by the like totally rad Mark “super awesome yo” Neveldine and Brian “mo’ ‘splosions” Taylor it all looked surprisingly promising. Dude.

Alas their attempt to make Nicolas Cage’s most pointless of star vehicles interesting has fallen up deaf ears with the critics earning a completely rotten 15% on everyone’s favourite mostly unflawed review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

I myself happen to be a massive fan of Neveldine and Taylor’s past work what with my liberal sensibilities when it comes to extreme violence, horrible misogyny and shotgun usage. Their camerawork and general cinematography is often a joy to behold but it’s fair to say that they aren’t the most tactful of men. While this may work in the short term with their calling card opening gambit now cemented in my good books they need to prove they can direct outside of that. I doubt that this effort will convince me.

Even so it’s done well for itself and is the only new release to break into a solid box-office top 10. £1,340,000 from 362 is the best it could have hoped for really.

Next Time:

Even though the market is still down 19% on the equivalent time last year, come next week The Woman in Black and The Muppets should still be going strong (even if their increased performance this week is down to the half term).

Looking to de-throne the two is Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds two-hander Safe House (doing very well for itself in the US currently) and Saga advertisement The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which for all the world looks like a very gentle affair. I don’t hold out huge hopes for either.

I’m also not holding out for any fireworks from Black Gold, Rampart or the utterly atrocious looking One for the Money which is surely going to be another oh so rubbish brick in the rubbish wall of Katherine Heigl’s cinema career. Stop doing terrible rom-coms Kath. Please.

UK Top 10 Films:
  1. The Woman in Black, £3,501,601 from 433 sites. Total: £10,487,648
  2. The Muppets, £3,411,698 from 539 sites. Total: £10,671,787
  3. Ghost Rider 3D: Spirit of Vengeance, £1,340,000 from 362 sites(New Entry)
  4. Star Wars: Episode 1 3D, £1,077,302 from 366 sites. Total: £4,114,828
  5. Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, £1,061,550 from 435 sites. Total: £5,205,652
  6. The Vow, £953,165 from 326 sites. Total: £3,640,608
  7. Chronicle, £727,871 from 375 sites. Total: £5,948,679
  8. The Descendants, £564,536 from 320 sites. Total: £6,977,898
  9. The Artist, £527,358 from 283 sites. Total: £6,826,135
  10. War Horse, £450,073 from 292 sites. Total: £17,694,439

Other New Releases:

  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, 304 sites. Total: £354,409
  • Woman in the Fifth, 20 sites. Total: £46,940
  • Ek Deewana Tha, 41 sites. Total: £22,995
  • Fetih 1453, 2 sites. Total: £19,243
  • Muppozhuthum Un Karpanaigal, 13 sites. Total: £14,283
  • Kadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi, 3 sites. Total: £4,142
  • Pata Nahi Rabb Kehdeyan Rangan Ch Raazi, 3 sites. Total: £1,815
  • Hadewijch, 3 sites. Total: £1,272
  • Position Among the Stars, 1 site. Total: £1,229
  • ID:A, one site. Total: £620


Top Film This Time Last Year: Paul

Source: DCM