Family films prove big draw for cinemagoers

2017 was a record-breaking year for family films at the box office, cinema sales agency Wide Eye Media reports. There were six family films in the box office top 10, which is twice as many as last year and more than ever before. It was also the first year a family film, Beauty & The Beast, took the top spot since Despicable Me was the highest grossing film of 2013.

Final cinema admissions for 2017 are expected to be in excess of 15 million.

Family movies accounted for one in three top box office receipts with beasts, babies, bears, baddies, Batman and Buster Moon. “In an era of personal devices and multi-screening, cinema remains one of the few remaining shared experiences that parents and children can enjoy together with no distractions,” Wide Eye Media CEO Eoin Wrixon (above) said.

“The incredible performance of the family genre demonstrates again how essential and personal cinema is to us. It’s one of our first forms of entertainment. Even as adults, a trip to the cinema never loses its magic,” Wrixon added. Only four films in the top 10 were not family movies – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, It and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2.

Seven of the top 10 were sequels, remakes or part of an existing franchise, the other three being Dunkirk, Boss Baby and Sing, although sequels are now planned for both Boss Baby and Sing. 2017 was also a triumphant year for horror films with It, Split and Get Out all grabbing the critics as well as huge audiences and It making it to seventh place in the top 10.

It was the first time a horror has entered the top 10 since horror comedy Scary Movie took seventh place in 2000. Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 was Ireland’s favourite action film and Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the most-seen sci-fi movie. Daddy’s Home 2 was the biggest comedy of the year and Dunkirk was the number one drama.

La La Land was the most successful musical as well as the most popular romance. Cardboard Gangsters, which was filmed and set in Darndale in Dublin, was the top Irish film. 2018 will bring one of the biggest films to ever hit Irish cinemas back to our screens as Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again releases in July, with all the original cast returning.

Mamma Mia is the fourth highest grossing movie of all-time in Ireland, after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: The Force AwakensMary Poppins Returns is also expected to be one of this year’s top films. Disney has two other live-action family releases planned, A Wrinkle in Time and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.

Both look set to take us on spectacular journeys into intricate fantasy worlds and have impressive casts attached. Peter Rabbit gets his first big screen adventure. Illumination Entertainment, the team behind Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing introduce their remake of The Grinch, and The Incredibles 2, Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3.

Other sequels, remakes and franchise films due include Fifty Shades Freed, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, Venom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mission: Impossible 6, The Predator, Scarface, Halloween (Jamie Lee Curtis again), The Nun (a spin-off of The Conjuring), The Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Irish actor Ian Kenny, who played the bully in Sing Street, will star as Rebolt in Solo: A Star Wars Story focusing on the young Han Solo. Mortal Engines is the first in a new sci-fi franchise starring  Robert Sheehan who played Darren in Love/Hate. Domhnall Gleeson is Mr McGregor in Peter Rabbit and Dr Faraday in Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger.

Saoirse Ronan has been gathering headlines already for her role in Lady Bird and is also the star of On Chesil Beach and Mary Queen of Scots. The recent success of films with powerful female leads is heralding a new era of female empowerment on screen. We have more strong women to look forward to in 2018 with Tomb Raider being rebooted.

Margot Robbie is the star of I, Tonya which is being billed as skating’s Goodfellas. Melissa McCarthy goes back to school in the comedy Life of the Party, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon share an ex with a double life in The Spy Who Loved Me and Amy Schumer is the star of I Feel Pretty. Wide Eye Media  represents 505 screens in 74 sites nationwide.


TITLE Cert. Distributor Release Date. Total Including Previews
Beauty and The Beast (3D + 2D) PG Disney 17/03/2017 5,304,474
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (3D + 2D) 12A Disney 14/12/2017 3,949,588
Despicable Me 3 (3D + 2D) G Universal 30/06/2017 3,892,637
Dunkirk 12A Warner Bros. 21/07/2017 3,782,312
Sing (3D + 2D) G Universal 27/01/2017 3,512,086
Paddington 2 G StudioCanal 10/11/2017 2,992,070
The Boss Baby (3D + 2D) G 20th Century Fox 07/04/2017 2,987,323
It 16 Warner Bros. 08/09/2017 2,720,677
Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 (3D + 2D) 12A Disney 28/04/2017 2,632,326
The LEGO Batman Movie (3D + 2D) G Warner Bros. 10/02/2017 2,545,532

Source: Rentrak/ Wide Eye Media January 1-December 31 2017




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