Animated features have topped the U.K.’s first box office since the lockdown. Disney-Pixar’s Onward and Universal’s Trolls World Tour came first and second over the weekend, respectively.
Unsurprisingly, the numbers were low: Onward took £21,626 (USD$27,000) from 47 locations and Trolls World Tour took £16,941 (USD$21,000) from 33 locations, according to market research firm Comscore. In all, 72 theaters reported takings in England and the Republic of Ireland; all venues remained shut in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. English cinemas reopened on Saturday, so reported no Friday takings.
What’s more striking is that, once again, animated films have demonstrated their pulling power amid the pandemic. Four years after its first run, Zootopia leapt back to the top of the U.S. rankings the weekend before last. Meanwhile, last weekend in Japan, Studio Ghibli’s library titles claimed the top three spots.
Of course, these are all examples of a certain type of animated feature: family-friendly tentpole films from familiar studios. When movies like Trolls World Tour and Scoob! went straight to VOD during the pandemic, executives and analysts explained the decision by arguing that housebound families wanted comforting escapism at a time like this.
It looks like cinemagoers want that too, even if no firm conclusions can be drawn from such meager box office numbers. It’s worth pointing out that both Onward and Trolls World Tour are available on premium VOD in the U.K. But while Onward was fast-tracked to Disney+ in the U.S., it has yet to hit the streaming service in the U.K.
The weekend top five was rounded out by three live-action titles: Bad Boys For Life (£16,070), The Greatest Showman (£14,499), and 1917 (£12,744).