This weekend was a proud weekend not only for horror fans, but also for British cinema. Not only did the BAFTA’s show off the incredible talent of British filmmakers, but on top of that a British horror conquered the box office here in the UK, after doing pretty much the same in the US (where it was in competition with Chronicle). Yes dear readers, James Watkins’ superb Hammer produced ghost story The Woman in Black (review) has revitalised horror in a big way! See, last year it was Insidious and Scream 4 which gave horror a much needed boost in the early part of 2011, and it was’t until Paranormal Activity 3 arrived for Halloween that horror finally picked up again. Big budget films like Fright Night 3D, Final Destination 5, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Shark Night 3D failed to make any impact at all, and after Paranormal Activity 3 horror has taken another slump. Underworld: Awakening didn’t do great here in the UK, but was the top film on its opening weekend in the US a few weeks back, and with The Grey also doing some pretty decent business both in the UK and the US, horror is off to a good start in 2012. It has now peaked as The Woman in Black proudly took the top spot here in the UK for its opening weekend.
Here in the UK the Daniel Radcliffe starring horror took a very respectful £3.1 million over Fri-Sun, opening in 412 cinemas across the country, Momentum happily gained a per screen average of £7500. Momentum, who released The Woman in Black, held the top spot last year for the biggest independent British film of the year with the superb The King’s Speech, and now have taken the the biggest opening independent film of 2012. A proud time for Momentum Pictures:
“This is a fantastic result. The buzz in cinemas and online suggests great word of mouth which bodes well for the half term week ahead. Our congratulations to James Watkins, Jane Goldman, Daniel Radcliffe, and all those at Hammer,” said Xavier Marchand, Managing Director Momentum Pictures.
Hammer are also very happy, for The Woman in Black marks the production company’s biggest opening EVER! Something which I did predict in my many news articles about the chilling film:
Simon Oakes, President & CEO of Hammer and Vice Chairman of Exclusive Media added: “We are delighted The Woman in Black has performed so well here and in the US. This is Hammer’s first ghost story and we’re delighted UK audiences have embraced it with so much enthusiasm and shows that British audiences enjoy intelligent genre which are the types of films Hammer is known for.”
Nigel Sinclair, CEO and Co-Chairman of Exclusive Media, which is Hammer’s parent company, added: “This is a great result for Hammer in the UK and follows on from the film’s strong performance at the US box office. This project, like The Ides of March and Rush, further underlies Exclusive’s commitment to making great mainstream movies with top tier talent, and I’d like to congratulate our partners Momentum and of course Cross Creek Pictures on this success.”
The film also opened to great reviews and a strong performance in the US, taking $21 million, making it the top film in the US on its opening weekend. This truly is great news for horror and British cinema, and is great news to see that the classic ghost stories of old can still captivate and scare audiences. Who needs blood and guts when you can have well designed and truly terrifying scares.
Daniel Radcliffe took the very brave move to leave Potter behind and take a risk with starring in a horror like this, and I think the challenge has paid off. I am hearing so much respect for him, and this sudden shift in films means he can now move on to do anything he wants. Seeing him at the BAFTA’s, introducing clips from his film on TV shows, doing interviews and even introducing public screenings of the film at Vue Westfield and The Empire Leicester Square, Radcliffe has really come into his own and proved he is not just a one trick pony. He also comes across as the nicest guy you are ever likely to meet, and is clearly relishing all the praise he is getting:
Radcliffe plays Arthur Kipps in the film, and here is what he said about working on the film:
“The whole experience of working on The Woman in Black has been truly magical, eerie and amazing. It’s been an honour to work with Hammer and continue to contribute to British film after ‘Harry Potter’. I found Hammer’s legacy fascinating and it was great to be able to draw upon such a rich heritage as the influence for my role as Arthur Kipps.”
Tobin Armbrust, President of Worldwide Production & Acquisitions of Exclusive Media added: “We are thrilled to share in the success of The Woman in Black with our close family, Daniel Radcliffe, Jane Goldman, James Watkins and the entire cast and crew who all worked incredibly hard on this great project. Hammer is one of our key production brands and to see it embraced in the US is a great show of support for its production philosophy.”
Ah, happy days!
By Matt Wavish