UK family function The Return of the Railway Children headlined new titles at the UK Ireland box office this weekend, releasing in 626 locations via Studiocanal.
Directed by Morgan Matthews, The Return of the Railway Children is a sequel to Lionel Jeffries’ 1970 feature film Railway children. This film was based on the novel of the same name by E. Nesbit from 1906, about a family moving from London to a rural railway station, after the father is imprisoned on trumped-up espionage charges.
The sequel is set during World War II, about a group of children evacuated from inner cities to the countryside who encounter a soldier far from home.
The first film was released before reliable box office records were available; it received reissues in 1997 via the BFI (gross: £9,985) and for the 40e anniversary in 2010 via Studiocanal (£8,760).
More prolific was an event cinema release of the 2015 stage show Railway children of the Theater Royal in York, where the first book is set. It cost £289,281 from 359 sites via Genesius Pictures when it screened in 2016.
British filmmaker Matthews’ first film was a television documentary titled Britain in a daymade up of footage shot by British citizens from a single day in November 2011.
His previous fiction feature is the 2015 BBC supported film X+Y (called A bright young mind in multiple territories) starring Asa Butterfield, Rafe Spall, Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan, which grossed £441,198 via Koch Media.
He has also directed several documentaries, including the 2013 one Shooting at Bigfootnominated for Bifa 2017 williams (£30,912 gross) and 2017 He Was My Father: The Rise and Fall of Geoffrey Matthewsabout his own father.
The heat wave is getting tougher
All versions will compete with extremely hot weather across much of the UK and Ireland for the second consecutive weekend, with temperatures expected to push towards the 40 degree Celsius mark in parts of the country .
Good weather is generally considered bad news for cinemas, as audiences choose outdoor activities. However, the peak heat this weekend will push some to air-conditioned auditoriums.
An equally hot weekend in late June 2019 saw temperatures in the mid-30s, but toy story 4 brought in another £8.3million in his second weekend, starring Danny Boyle Yesterday opening at £2.1m. The good weather last weekend did not prevent Disney Thor: Love and Thunder to bring in £9.1m, with good leftovers for Minions: The Rise of Gru, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick.
Other new titles this time include the documentary Dogwoof McEnroeabout the eponymous tennis champion turned tennis commentator, who will play at 40 venues.
Directed by Barney Douglas, McEnroe premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last month and is directed by British production company Sylver Entertainment.
Still a popular figure 38 years after his last Grand Slam victory, McEnroe was played by Shia LaBeouf in 2017 Borg vs. McEnroe, illustrating his rivalry with Swedish player Bjorn Borg. This film opened at £101,995 on 145 sites via Curzon in 2017, ending at £432,154.
Documentary John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection grossed £19,068 thanks to Modern Films in 2019.
Curzon distributes Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s dramatic comedy The good boss, with Javier Bardem, in 31 locations. Since its premiere in San Sebastián in September last year, the film has won acclaim on the awards circuit, particularly in its native Spain, where it has won six awards from a record 20 Goya nominations, including Best Film, Director, Actor and Screenplay.
The story follows the owner of a scale manufacturing company who tries to solve his workers’ problems before a committee visit.
Piece Of Magic plays Matthew Dyas documentary backed by BFI Explorer, about the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, in 120 places; while National Amusements has the Mark Moorman documentary The day the music diedcelebrating 50 years since the release of Don McLean’s iconic song “American Pie”.
Other versions include Chilli Laugh Story at 14 sites via Trinity Film; Jonas Carpignano Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Best Film Award A Chiara in 16 locations via Mubi; British documentary donna in six sites via Bohemia Media; and The warriorof RRR Dreamz Entertainment distributor.
Netflix, which does not provide location numbers, opens Joe and Anthony Russo’s thriller The gray manwith Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans, in select locations.
The Return of the Railway Children aside, the leftovers should once again dominate the chart – Thor: Love and Thunder, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick.