‘Barbenheimer’ effect sent July admissions stratospheric as cinemagoers flocked to the big screen in droves

Thanks to the wildly popular phenomenon that is ‘Barbenheimer’, July admissions shot to an enormous and encouraging 17.6m. This is made more impressive by fleeting past last July by as much as +32.4%, which saw the release of box office heavyweights Minions: The Rise of Gru and Thor: Love and Thunder. July 2023 has made for a significant and memorable milestone in the post-pandemic period with the world over catching Barbenheimer fever – the month has even been branded the ‘Summer of Cinema’ by our Irish neighbours. Meanwhile, back home, the month has seen the strongest admissions since December 2019 when big-hitters Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerJumanji: The Next Level and Frozen 2 saw their release pre-Covid.

Looking at the rest of the year, the MAT has increased for the first time since April as it finished on 115.9m, which is -11.4% down year-on-year. However, in more positive news, the YTD figure has risen to 73.6m, which has substantially shrunken the slump on 2022 to almost flat at -1.9%. As the Barbenheimer hype heaps into August, it is likely this decline will turn into the positive by next month.

In terms of July’s frontrunners, it comes as no surprise that Greta Gerwig’s take on the famed doll Barbie catapulted into the no. #1 spot as Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling shone with a whopping £50.9m into the month. The smash-hit has since gone on to claim a spot in the UK’s top ten films of all time and is likely to climb even further as its theatrical window continues. In #2 place, skyrocketed Christopher Nolan’s Oscar-worthy epic Oppenheimer as the feature took a tremendous £29.1m into the month and now ranks as #3 biggest box office of 2023 behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Next, Tom Cruise took to the skies again in the latest instalment of Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, which scored a comfortable #3 with a weighty £20.6m. This was followed by the long-awaited next chapter of the adventure saga Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, starring staple Harrison Ford, which achieved £15.9m in #4 place, as it sped ahead of uplifting family animation Elemental in #5 with £12.1m. Next, the Conjuring Universe brought blood-chilling horror Insidious: The Red Door, which scooped £7.4m in #6 place as Marvel’s superhero favourite Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse slipped to #7 with £5.4m. Rounding off the top ten this month landed Disney’s enchanting live-action The Little Mermaid (£2.7m), which dropped to #8; and was followed in close pursuit by Wes Anderson’s wacky sci-fi comedy Asteroid City in #9, and kids’ magical underwater tale Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken in #10, pulling £2.6m and £2.1m into July respectively.

Regarding the month ahead, September is a real bumper for horror movies and awards films, offering a broad range of titles set to pull in the youth audience. The biggest release is A Haunting in Venice, which is the third movie in Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot trilogy, aimed at entertaining older audiences up and down the country. Next up, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 becomes another trilogy-maker, taking aim at the comedy-lovers out there. Queer romance Passages, Korean-led drama Past Lives and Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, are all gripping culture flicks primed to ignite awards debates. Lastly, for younger audiences comes supernatural horror The Nun 2 – another continuation of the popular Conjuring Universe – and the next instalment of the bloodthirsty prequel SAW X, led by sadistic serial killer Jigsaw. Completing the month is explosively topical sci-fi thriller The Creator, starring Gemma Chan and John David Washington.