The official UK and Ireland box office figures for 2018 have provided producers with advice on how to get their money back, and then some; make a sequels, spin-off or superhero film. In short, put a colon in your film title .
And if you can’t tick those boxes, making a film about familiar characters is another way to boost your chances of box office gold.
The BFI’s figures show that Disney’s Marvel topped the list with the latest in its highly successful Avengers franchise, Infinity War , taking nearly £71 million, well ahead of the Mamma Mia sequel, Here We Go Again, on nearly £66 million – but well behind 2017’s highest earner, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and even that year’s second placed film, Beauty and the Beast.
Third on the list for 2018 is Incredibles 2, from another company in the Disney family, Pixar.
After the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody in fourth place, there are two more Disney productions on the list; Marvel’s SAG Award-winning Black Panther and parent company Disney’s follow up to its 1960s classic, Mary Poppins Returns.
The rest of the top ten included three more sequels – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald and doubling up, with the superhero tag too, Deadpool 2.
The final film in the top ten, at number 8, was the animation based on Beatrix Potter’s much-loved children’s character, Peter Rabbit.
Following the formula didn’t help Tom Cruise, whose Mission Impossible franchise instalment Fallout failed to make the top tier, as did Disney’s other major brand, Solo, from the Star Wars franchise, which could manage only 18th on the list, behind the most successful independent British production, Darkest Hour, in 14th place.
By buying up many of Hollywood’s most valuable brands, Disney, which is about to close the deal to buy Bohemian Rhapsody’s 21st Century Fox, for now has only five of the top ten spots but with its latest acquisition, it will, for many years to come, be the studio to beat.
The figures also show that overall admissions were up 3.7% on 2017 at 177 million, the highest level since 1970. The BFI says this increase, while cinema audiences elsewhere in the world are falling, is particularly notable in a World Cup year. The figure led to a box office total, for the UK and Ireland, of £1.387 billion – slightly up on last year’s record.
As well as considering how much money is taken at the box office, the BFI also uses its annual statistics report to reveal how much money was spent on film and high-end TV production in the UK during the previous year. In 2018, the total spending on film production in the UK was £1.924bn, fractionally down on the previous year’s record; £1.628bn of that total came from outside the UK.
The Digital and Creative Industries Minister Margot James said, “These statistics confirm yet again that the UK is truly a global powerhouse for the screen industries, with a strong showing from our independent film sector.”
And here is the full 2018 box office Top Ten for the UK and Ireland:
1. Avengers: Infinity War (UK/US) £70.8 million – Marvel (Disney)
2. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! (UK/US) £65.5 million – Universal
3. Incredibles 2 (US) £56.2 million – Pixar (Disney)
4. Bohemian Rhapsody (UK/US) £52.0 million -Fox (About to be acquired by Disney)
5. Black Panther (US) £50.6 million – Marvel (Disney)
6. Mary Poppins Returns (UK/US) £42.1 million – Disney
7. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (UK/US) £41.6 million – Universal
8. Peter Rabbit (Aus/US/UK) £41.1 million – Sony
9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald (UK/US) £34.0 million – Warner Bros
10. Deadpool 2 (US) £32.7 million – Marvel (Disney)