Warner Bros’ DC League Of Super-Pets receives the widest release ever in the UK and Ireland for a fully-animated title this weekend, opening in 725 locations.
It is the joint-eighth widest release of all-time in the territory, alongside Disney’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi from 2017.
Among animated films, DC League Of Super-Pets tops the 719 locations of Disney’s 2019 The Lion King remake. It is slightly behind the 743 opening sites of Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns from 2018 – a predominantly live-action film featuring animated sequences.
It is a second-widest opening ever for Warner Bros, behind Elvis from June this year in 744 sites and ahead of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore in 712 sites from April.
The figure is the latest in a pattern of substantial openings for studio titles, with five of the 10 widest openings of all time now happening since cinemas reopened after the pandemic.
However, a wide opening does not guarantee a large total in the eight-figure region. Elvis started on £4m (although is now at a healthy £18.4m and still in the top five), while Universal’s Downton Abbey: A New Erathe second-widest release of all time in 748 sites, started with £3.1m, closing out on £14.9m.
Fellow animated feature, Universal’s Minions: The Rise Of Gru, started top with £10.4m in early July; it retook the number one spot last weekend, rising to £28.2m. DC League Of Super-Pets does not have the same franchise support as that film, although it will hope to benefit from the DC name, the school holidays and the voice pairing of regular live-action collaborators Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Kevin Hart to draw in audiences.
Directed by Jared Stern and Sam Levine, the film follows two inseparable dogs who fight crime; one of them must master his powers for a rescue mission when the other is kidnapped.
With only one new studio title this weekend, opportunity awaits for several independent releases, including a couple of festival favorites from the past year.
Picturehouse Entertainment is debuting comedy-drama Hit The Road in 37 locations. The film is the feature debut of Iranian filmmaker Panah Panahi – son of acclaimed director Jafar Panahi, who was recently arrested by Iranian authorities and ordered to serve a six-year prison sentence he was awarded in 2010.
Hit The Road debuted to acclaim in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2021 – Screen‘s review called it a “phenomenal debut feature” that is “riotously funny at times and quietly devastating at others.”
It picked up prizes including best film in the official competition at the BFI London Film Festival, plus awards from Mar del Plata, San Francisco and Singapore.
Jafar is a producer on his son’s film; Panah had previously edited his father’s 2018 drama 3 Faces.
Dogwoof is distributing Sara Dosa’s documentary Fire Of Love in 68 sites, with further Imax screenings to come on Tuesday, August 2.
The film, composed of footage shot by and of volcanologists and lovers Katia and Maurice Krafft, debuted at the online Sundance Film Festival in January. It has since played a host of festivals including SXSW, Sundance London and Jerusalem, plus non-fiction events True/False, CPH:DOX and Hot Docs.
Vertigo is opening Emer Reynolds’ UK-Irish drama Joyride in 255 sites. Starring Olivia Colman and newcomer Charlie Reid, the film follows a woman looking to give away her newborn baby, who is joined on the run by a street urchin.
Curzon is conducting a 35-site release of the 1984 classic Paris, Texas as part of its ongoing Wim Wenders season; Dreamz Entertainment is releasing its latest Bollywood title Vikrant Rona; while Anime Ltd is playing The Deer King in eight locations this weekend, after it took £21,703 from 109 sites on Wednesday and Thursday.
DC League Of Super-Pets will look to challenge last weekend’s holdovers, which include Minions: The Rise Of GruDisney’s Thor: Love And Thunder and Sony’s Where The Crawdads Sing.