Ant-Man and the Wasp buzzes in at box office but Mamma Mia! real winner

Diminutive superheroes are No 1 after previews added despite Mamma Mia! 2 recording bigger weekend takings, while indie films fall on hard times

Lighten up … Ant-Man and the Wasp
 Lighten up … Ant-Man and the Wasp

The winner: Ant-Man and the Wasp

Marvel has found another UK chart champ with Ant-Man and the Wasp, topping the box office with £4.99m – albeit thanks to the inclusion of £1.23m in Thursday previews. The figure for the Friday-to-Sunday weekend period was £3.76m.

The original Ant-Man film debuted in July 2015 with £4.01m, without the benefit of previews, so Disney UK will be a little disappointed to see the weekend number soften. In other Marvel franchises – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy – UK box office rose with each instalment. Disney will point to the sweltering weekend weather and also the intense competition in cinemas currently as mitigating factors.

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In North America, Ant-Man and the Wasp opened with $76m – a nice rise on Ant-Man’s debut of $57m. And with $196m so far, the sequel has already out-grossed Ant-Man’s North American total of $180m. The pressure will be on Disney in the UK for Ant-Man and the Wasp to exceed Ant-Man’s UK total of £16.3m.

The real winner: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Once again, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was denied the top spot due to previews inflating the figures for a rival title. (Last week, it was Mission: Impossible – Fallout that did so.) Based purely on weekend takings, the Abba musical was No 1, with £4.12m box office. Its total after 17 days is a very impressive £39.3m. The original Mamma Mia! film stood at £24.6m after three weekends, so the sequel is currently running 60% ahead of the pace.

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Although Black Panther opened bigger than Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the Abba film is now ahead of where the Marvel title was at after three weekends (£35.4m). Only one 2018 release – Avengers: Infinity War – has had a faster start. Infinity War had reached £60.4m after three weekends.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again beat Ant-Man and the Wasp on both Friday and Saturday. However, Wasp won the day on Sunday – a surprising outcome, since Marvel titles might be assumed to play big with the Friday and Saturday night crowd. Older-skewing titles are often quite robust on Sunday – as well as on weekdays.

Family battle opens up new front

TV spinoff … Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
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 TV spinoff … Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.

Animated titles Incredibles 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacationfaced a fresh challenger at the weekend in the shape of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. The TV spinoff didn’t prove so formidable, however, with a UK debut of £390,000 – way behind the weekend takings of its rivals. Incredibles 2 has now reached a very healthy £39.9m.

Arthouse market dips

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Another week, another batch of under-performing indie titles. Latest films to arrive in indie cinemas include British relationship drama The Escape, Italian crime tale Sicilian Ghost Story, US indie Hearts Beat Loud, French drama The Apparition and French animation (with an English dub) The Big Bad Fox andOther Tales. Collective box office, including any previews, is £77,100 from a total of 116 sites.

This summer has been pretty disappointing overall for indie films, with the ambitiously released Whitney underperforming, The Secret of Marrowbonemissing its target, Sicario 2: Soldado (£2.10m) falling well short of the original Sicario (£4.98m) and smaller titles such as Mary ShelleyA Prayer Before Dawn and In the Fade also struggling at the box office.

Things that cannot be explained away … The Apparition.
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 Things that cannot be explained away … The Apparition. Photograph: Shanna Besson

Bright spots include June releases Hereditary (£5.59m), The Happy Prince(£821,000), McQueen (£624,000) and Leave No Trace (£338,000). The latter title has already achieved 6.7 times its opening number – evidence that it has delivered as a word-of-mouth hit. July releases have been weaker, although First Reformed has reached £295,000, and British indie Apostasy is at £146,000 after 10 days.

The market

Snappy title … The Meg.
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 Snappy title … The Meg. Photograph: Allstar/Warner Bros

Data gatherer comScore has released UK box office figures for the month of July (more accurately for the four-week period 6 July to 2 August inclusive), and also for the year to date. July 2018 takings at UK cinemas were 10% down on 2017, hit by very hot weather and also the last two weeks of the World Cup, which ended on 15 July. For the year to date, box office is running 3% behind 2017.

August has started reasonably well, with the first session delivering a 6% uptick on the equivalent weekend from 2017. The coming frame is hard to call – new titles include Jason Statham shark thriller The Meg, young-adult dystopian sci-fi The Darkest Minds, and screen-based horror Unfriended: Dark Web. Cinema operators will also be pinning hopes on decent holds for titles such as Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Incredibles 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3.

Top 10 UK films 3-5 August

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1. Ant-Man and the Wasp, £4,988,747 from 586 sites (new)

2. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, £4,121,275 from 705 sites. Total: £39,324,001 (three weeks)

3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout, £2,471,073 from 600 sites. Total: £13,357,630 (two weeks)

4. Incredibles 2, £2,391,917 from 692 sites. Total: £39,869,498 (four weeks)

5. Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation, £1,451,295 from 596 sites. Total: £7,761,551 (two weeks)

6. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, £389,726 from 458 sites (new)

7. The First Purge, £172,871 from 169 sites. Total: £5,507,600 (five weeks)

8. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, £166,187 from 201 sites. Total: £40,979,530 (nine weeks)

9. Skyscraper, £118,809 from 225 sites. Total: £5,126,110 (four weeks)

10. Ocean’s 8, £58,824 from 96 sites. Total: £10,923,384 (seven weeks)

Other openers

Fanney Khan, £37,743 from 44 sites

The Producers (50th anniversary), £35,745 from 142 sites

Sicilian Ghost Story, £21,937 from 19 sites

The Escape, £21,797 from 24 sites

Mulk, £18,094 from 26 sites

Karwaan, £15,331 from 22 sites

The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, £11,371 from 40 sites

The Apparition, £11,124 from 17 sites

Hearts Beat Loud, £10,871 from 16 sites

The Beaches of Agnés, £3,425 from one site (reissue)

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Cléo from 5 to 7, £1,451 from one site (reissue)

La Pointe Courte, £1,228 from one site (reissue)

The Gleaners and I, £352 from one site (reissue)

 Thanks to comScore. All figures relate to takings in UK and Ireland cinemas.

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