An encouraging increase after an underwhelming start to the year.
Following on from an Omicron-affected January, February shone a positive light on the rise in admissions in parallel with the industry emerging out of the pandemic. Completing the month on a comfortable 11.1m admissions (null on 2021 when cinemas remained closed), the month welcomed a sizeable delivery of 92% on 2019, and a decline of just -23.4% on 2020, which are particularly promising stats given these were pre-pandemic. Actual admissions also stormed ahead of our forecast as the month experienced an enormous uplift of +53% on our prediction. Meanwhile, the MAT grew to 93.4m (+622.1% uplift year-on-year), which is now tracking at over half its average total before Covid struck the sector, showing a steady, upward trajectory. The YTD figure has risen to 19.3m admissions (null on 2021).
Scoring #1 place at the February box office was animal-tastic musical Sing 2 with a whopping £22.0m, which sped ahead of video game-inspired treasure hunt mission Uncharted, which shot to #2 with £18.3m. Kenneth Branagh’s beautiful Oscar-tipped biopic Belfast remained in #3 as it achieved £7.7m, which scraped ahead of another Branagh picture with his take on Agatha Christie’s mystery drama Death on the Nile, which reached #4 with £6.6m. Climbing to #5 place was the return of adrenaline junkies Johnny Knoxville, Steve-O and the gang in Jackass Forever, while record-breaking blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home slipped to #6, drawing £5.9m and £5.0m into the month respectively. Next, heart-warming story between man and man’s best friend Dog, starring Channing Tatum and service dog Lulu, snatched #7 with £2.2m, together with classic romcom Marry Me in #8 with £2.1m. Finishing off the frontrunners landed disaster space movie Moonfall (#9) and the fifth instalment of popular horror franchise Scream 5 (#10), taking £2.1m and £1.3m respectively.
As spring approaches, together with the Easter Holidays, so too does an April bursting with phenomenal film content as it showcases a broad and diverse slate for all audiences. Starting at the top of the box office, Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts returns – this time with The Secrets of Dumbledore – which, starring Jude Law as a young Albus and estimating a colossal £30m, is certain to scoop cinemagoers across the board. Also likely to be a hit this month – mainly for the older demographic – will be the return of the nation’s favourite period drama, Downton Abbey 2, which anticipates £25m as the Crawley family embark on a new era. School holidays will mean packed cinemas as ever-popular kids animation Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (est. £15m) returns, and children’s book series-inspired The Bad Guys hits the big screen. Next, younger audiences will be entertained by hilarious action-comedy The Lost City (£15m), starring Sandra Bullock and Brad Pitt, alongside A-list cast, Viking epic The Northman and gripping mobster-thriller The Outfit. Equally, middle-older audiences will be wowed by the WWII true story Operation Mincemeat with Colin Firth and Kelly Macdonald. Lastly, smaller titles include Indian actions Attack and K.G.F: Chapter 2, religious biopics Benedetta and Father Stu, crime-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, starring Nicholas Cage, and, finally, intriguing documentary about American TV legend Julia.