Marking the 3rd strongest month since the pandemic, the ‘Barbenheimer’ effect continued to keep admissions on the up across August.
It comes as no surprise that the ground-breaking success of ‘Barbenheimer’, together with extreme action movie The Meg 2 and the latest instalment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem fired August admissions to a formidable 14.6m, far outpacing August 2022 by as much as +57.3%. Ranking #3 only to July (#1) and October 2021 (#2) when No Time to Die saw its release, August admissions made for a major milestone in the cinema comeback story post-pandemic. What’s more, July and August weekly admissions averaged an impressive 3.6m, which even surpassed 2019’s average weekly total, producing a very welcome boost for 2023.
Regarding the rest of the year, the MAT has grown to 121.2m, reducing the year-on-year decline to just -6.5%. Meanwhile, the YTD total has increased to 88.1m, overtaking last year by a small, but significant +4.6%. Should September and Q4’s film slate perform as expected, 2023 should sustain this uplift on 2022.
Looking at the August box office, having now broken multiple industry records both at home and abroad, Greta Gerwig’s sublime comedy Barbie (#1) naturally came out on top with a whopping £40.0m. The hot-pink hit has gone on to become the 6th biggest movie of all time with £94.5m (20.9.23), even edging past admissions juggernaut Avatar (2009) and closing in on Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE (2015). Comprising the other half of ‘Barbenheimer’ was, of course, none other than Christopher Nolan’s science epic Oppenheimer, which scored a solid #2 place with a weighty £25.4m. This wartime masterpiece has now become the highest-grossing biopic in history at the global box office!
Following these heavyweights returned sea monster action flick The Meg 2, which hauled in a hefty £11.3m in #3 as it sped ahead of popular youth animation Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem in #4 with £7.9m. Next, Tom Cruise and the all-star cast of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One fell to #5 after a relatively short theatrical release, which landed just in front of children’s uplifting origin story Elemental in #6, scooping £5.3m and £5.2m respectively. Remaining chart-busters included Disney’s horror-comedy Haunted Mansion, based on the real-life theme park ride, in #7 with £3.6m, DC Comics’ latest leading champion Blue Beetle in #8 with £3.5m, and adrenaline-fuelled motor story Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story, starring Orlando Bloom and Archie Madekwe, in #9 with £2.5m. Finally, rounding off the frontrunners this month came Bollywood’s latest romcom, Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani in #10 with £1.7m.
With next month in mind, October will showcase a varied movie roster, packed with premium films aimed at older audiences, family features, comedies, and, of course, horrors ahead of Halloween. The month’s biggest release will be Martin Scorsese’s hotly-anticipated Killers of the Flower Moon, a historical epic exploring the financially motivated murders of the native Osage tribe. It will be joined by wholesome veteran piece The Great Escaper, and quaint Irish dramedy The Miracle Club, which will pull in middle-aged and older patrons. With sights set on a male audience will come action-thriller Retribution, starring Liam Neeson and Matthew Modine. Meanwhile, The Exorcist: Believer will return for spook-seeking fans, making for a direct sequel to the ground-breaking 1983 original. This iconic horror will be bolstered by Indian supernatural horror, It Lives Inside. Alongside this already enticing slate, will see the video game horror phenomenon Five Nights at Freddy’s get an eagerly-awaited adaptation. For laugh-hungry teens and twenty-somethings, there will be Sumotherhood, a comedic sequel to Adam Deacon’s Anuvahood, together with Seize Them!, which is a British-led comedy charting Queen Dagan’s fall to Humble Joan. Colourful animated blockbuster Trolls Band Together will shoot for the family audience, bringing a dose of boy band nostalgia to the trilogy. Lastly, Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie will see families’ favourite puppies obtaining superpowers, and teaming up to fight a group of feline super-villains.