Highest-grossing Films Due In Q4

Monday, September 16 2013
Highest-grossing Films Due In Q4

As the kids return to school, the nights begin to draw in and what we had of the summer begins to fade from memory, the summer theatrically blockbuster season is now officially over.

And as box office analysts such as Charles Gant, Heat’s film critic who doubles up as The Guardian’s expert on UK theatrical revenues (among other things too) assess the winners and losers of the summer months, our industry is turning its attention to those self-same summer cinema hits arriving on home entertainment formats.

For as sure as autumn follows summer, with winter following autumn, then so the theatrical hits from the school holidays of July and August, will arrive on DVD, Blu-ray and now other formats before December 25.

Some of those – the first out of the blocks at theatrical, such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness – have already arrived on physical and digital formats, with a further big hitter, Fast And Furious 6, arrives next week.

With so much bluster and braggadocio surrounding the Q4 season (“it’s the biggest opening including previews for an action film released in July with the letter M in the title”), we thought we’d present the top 10 highest grossing films at UK cinemas due on DVD in the final quarter.

There are some interesting titles in there, not least those not based on comic books, existing franchises, or bestselling novels. It’s fascinating to see how both Universal (with Despicable Me 2) and DreamWorks and Fox, with The Croods and Epic, are effectively challenging the dominance of Pixar and Disney in the animated sector.

It’s also worth noting how The Croods and Nativity 2, both pre-summer titles, the latter released as far back as 2012, are strong performers that have yet to arrive.

We’ve run through the top 10 here, with the next 10 mentioned in dispatches too.
1.s Despicable Me 2 £44.8 million
Everyone knew it would be big, but this big? Surely not. And yet, aided by an impressive theatrical campaign from Universal, which continued to market the title throughout the holidays, this sequel outstripped them all to become the summer’s biggest. What’s more, it also gave a massive boost to the home entertainment drafting campaign, which sold 250,000 and then some during the summer. Interestingly, as noted by Charles Gant, its UK performance outdid its US showing too. It’s hard to say just why it’s so popular, although our junior correspondents were won over, it was their favourite of the summer, partly down to the “bottom” gag. Due on November 25, with all the surrounding brouhaha. As Universal’s Rachel Graye recently said on our newsletter: “We are extremely excited to announce the home entertainment release of Despicable Me 2 – the biggest box office film of 2013. Releasing on November 25, in the heart of Q4, was a natural choice as we will aim to ensure that there is a minion under every Christmas tree in the UK this year.”

2. Man of Steel £29.9 million
Bang on the money in terms of its US to UK conversion rte, this was a worthy addition the Superman canon, and, if anything, helped detoxify the brand after his last ill-fated outing. It also paved the way for the 2015 pairing of the man from Krypton and the Dark Knight. Due on December 2 from Warner.

3. Monsters University £28.5 million
Another hugely popular children’s franchise from the Pixar stable, which showed no sign of flunking despite the age gap between the original Monsters Inc and this sequel (many of its original fans are now considering university). This will come to market ahead of Christmas, although another sequel to a Pixar creation, Planes, will not see the light of day until 2014.

4. The Croods £26.42 million
It’s easy to forget about this title, seeing as it arrived in cinemas ahead of the summer months, but anyone who underestimates this dies so at their peril. For starters, it’s from DreamWorks, no slouch when it comes to this kind of fare, while the fact that it’s the first film to fall under the studio’s deal with Fox means that the major will be going all out to show how well it can handle the animation giant’s product.

5. The Hangover Part III £19.3 million
According to standard thinking along these lines, most UK theatrical releases should earn about 10per cent, dollars to pounds, of their US cinema totals. By that logic, The Hangover Part III, or Part III as it appeared to be called judging by the posers, which took $112 million in the US, should have earned a lot less than the whopping £19 million it took in the UK. All of which makes its performance on these shores, all the more impressive.

6. The Great Gatsby £15.7 million
Its theatrical release and the resultant publicity now seem like an eternity ago, but let’s not forget Warner’s impressive performance with this title on its bow over here. Given the performance of previous Baz Luhrmann spectacles such as Romeo + Juliet over here, aided, in no small part, by not only their longevity, but also the packaging and other elements, then this could well over-perform.

7. World War Z £14.6 million
In a summer where the Internet pronounced judgement on films even before they were released, World War Z has risen above the chat and taken enough at cinemas not just in the UK, but around the world, to make a sequel to the bestselling book, once seemingly an impossibility, a much more likely occurrence.

8. The Wolverine £13.6 million
Another UK over-performer, this has, many pundits suggest, helped reinvigorate not just Wolverine as a character, but the whole X-Men franchise too. Fox too has a track record of making this kind of title work, giving it further potential.

9. Epic £13.59 million
Fox and Warner between them are, in top 10 terms, the best performers, this is the former’s third entry and another impressive early summer theatrical performer. Its due on October 7, making it effectively the first big box office release of Q4…

10. Now You See Me £11.04 million
Arguably the surprise package of the summer. And seeing as it wasn’t based on either an existing film franchise or a comic book or well-known novel or existing source material, it makes it the most successful “original” film of the summer. As box office expert Charles Gant told our newsletter recently: “With Now You See Me, the dating worked out great. eOne released it against The Internship, the week after Despicable Me 2 and the week before Monsters University and Pacific Rim. Summer blockbusters such as Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Fast & Furious 6, Man Of Steel and World War Z, plus blockbuster wannabe After Earth, had already opened and most were significantly played out. In fact, none of those titles grossed £1 million on the weekend Now You See Me opened, and only World War Z and Man Of Steel were still reaching decent-size audiences. I just think audiences were ready for something different. Now You See Me is concept-driven rather than cast-driven, although I guess an assemblage of recognisable names didn’t hurt, and the film felt fresh and fun. I think audiences had had their fill of CGI blockbusters by then, and it’s perhaps pertinent that the ones that followed Now You See Me – Pacific Rim and The Wolverine – didn’t reach their maximum market potential to greater or lesser degree. The trailer focused more on the magicians than the cops’ storyline which drives the narrative, and that was a smart move.”

The next 10
11. The Smurfs 2 £10.85 million
An impressive performance for this sequel featuring the annoying/lovable creatures (delete as applicable).

12. The Conjuring £9.94 million
Another original film that’s outperformed expectations. It arrived at the end of summer, then proceeded to show that, with the right marketing and word of mouth, an inventive horror film can still perform. Not yet slated for home entertainment release, so it may arrive in 2014, but worthy of inclusion here because at least it’s original…

13 Nativity 2 Danger In The Manger £9.11 million
The only title in this 20 that didn’t come out in 2013, its distinctly seasonal nature has led to a delayed release strategy, both its theatrical and home entertainment bows can be timed for the Christmas season. This, however, is a title that shouldn’t be forgotten. Remember, the original Nativity has notched up sales of 750,000 since its release, while this sequel far outperformed its predecessor too.

13 The World’s End £8.62 million
The latest Pegg, Frost and Wright collaboration due from Universal; not only does it offer potential on its own, in assorted DVD and Blu-ray SKUs, but also boxed alongside the other parts of their self-styled Cornetto trilogy, Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. Their fans are notoriously loyal, so expect this to over-perform.

14 Pacific Rim £8.38 million
Another title that we can’t help feel underperformed at theatrical. A packed summer release schedule didn’t offer films an opportunity to find and build their audience. But its supporters are vocal in their support for this, expect it to convert strongly.

15. Grown Ups 2 £7.44 million
Another surprise package. Its success must be admired and showed films can work in spite of the critics, rather than because of them. No press screenings, constant sniping from Twitter and elsewhere, and it still does a hefty amount.

16. The Heat £7.06 million
Another title that has quietly amassed a healthy sum at the box office while all eyes were focused on superhero and sci-fi films.

17. One Direction This Is Us £6.80 million
Listen, we’re not going to say anything about this film, we’d rather not risk the opprobrium of their fans. It didn’t make the kind of numbers some more optimistic pundits were expecting – bookies offering odds on it becoming the UK’s biggest earner ever were a great publicity stunt, but hugely wide of the mark. Charles Gant called it correctly when he said it should be concerned with outperforming Michael Jackson’s similarly titled This Is It.

18. Percy Jackson 2 £6.30 million
In a packed summer, this didn’t quite get the attention it deserves and should pick up interest come its release, no date is yet slated.

19. After Earth £ 6.29 million
Critics decided that Will Smith and family were due a kicking, so After Earth earned their scorn, but, despite the brickbats chucked its way, it did earn a decent amount, even if, by Smith’s standards, it was a touch disappointing. Having said that, Charles Gant’s line above (“would-be blockbuster”), is a masterful put-down of this sci-fi tale.

20. Alan Partridge Alpha Papa £6.1 million
In a year that many experts believe offers a lacklustre stand-up comedy slate, Steve Coogan and his alter-ego Partridge could be the saviours of British comedy. Expect this to boast one of the year’s best conversion rates.

With thanks to Charles Gant for his help in putting this feature together. You can see his columns here

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