does ‘Toy Story 3’ speak more to British audiences than ‘Inception’ does?

It’s interesting to see how Inception and Toy Story 3 are battling it out at the U.K. box office. After last weekend (for which numbers are only now available) Inception had been open for three weeks, just as in North America, and had earned a cumulative £20.8 million… which is just slightly better, comparatively speaking, than the $193 million it has earned over those same three weekends in the U.S. and Canada. Inception still had not ceded its place at the top of the North American box office, while Toy 3 had dropped, at the end of last weekend, to No. 7, having earned almost $390 million after seven weekends.

But look at this: Toy 3 has been open for only two weeks in the U.K. (though that first weekend was a phony seven-day “weekend”), and it has already earned £39.8 million… the same amount, on a relative basis, that it has taken much longer to earn in the U.S. and Canada. Inception has been pushed down to No. 4, with The Karate Kid and The A-Team in between (though they’re both new releases and have novelty on their side).
Listen to this (from Charles Gant at the Guardian’s Film blog):

Toy Story 3’s particularly aggressive preview strategy makes comparisons with other top performers tricky, but no other film has grossed so much after its second weekend of play. The last Harry Potter picture, Half-Blood Prince, stood at £33.07m after two weekends, while notable early achiever Quantum Of Solace had reached £31.45m. It’s rare for films to crack £30m within two weekends of release – no Lord Of The Rings or Pirates Of The Caribbean movie managed it. Toy Story 3 is already the third biggest hit of the past 12 months, behind only Avatar and Alice In Wonderland. It will very soon overtake Alice to become the second biggest.

Bigger than Harry Potter and James Bond? What’s going on? Is there something in Toy Story 3 that is speaking particularly to British audiences? Is it just lack of competition from other family-appropriate films? (Cats & Dogs 2 opens this week, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice won’t open till next week.) What the hell…?

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Fri, Aug 06, 2010 4:14am

I think they were extremely crafty about the timing of the release – it’s been school kicking out time staggered across the country over the last couple of weeks, so there are kids needing entertaining during the day. Toy Story is something parents can take their kids to and enjoy themselves as well. Parents busy looking after kids (probably not going to see Inception as much ’cause they’re too busy going to TS, The A Team and The Karate Kid with the kids).

Combine that with the fact that the weather has been a bit rubbish over the last couple of weeks making the cinema a better option than Alton Towers or whatever and I suppose you’ve got box office gold.

Fri, Aug 06, 2010 5:14am

Agreed with Isobel – the reason why Inception isn’t getting the same numbers as other films is partly because of the Summer Holidays but for other reasons.

Mainly the *&^%& football. Most of the films that have been ‘pushing’ Inception ‘down’ the chart are films that were released in the US between mid June and mid July when the World Cup was on. Hence the studios are flooding the market with product now.

Personally, I think Inception is likely to have the last laugh. I think it will still be in cinemas at the beginning of September when the other films are just a memory. Apart from Toy Story 3 which is just as awesome!

Fri, Aug 06, 2010 8:23am

I liked Toy Story 3 better than Inception – there I said it.