The story of the Irish box office in 2018 isn’t a story at all, it’s a ballad. Musicals and musically themed films dominate the top ten chart alongside support from more familiar animated and superhero fare, with one Oscar darling thrown in for good measure.
- 1 - Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! - €5,300,794
- 2 - A Star Is Born - €5,140,894
- 3 - Avengers: Infinity War - €4,759,402
- 4 - Incredibles 2 - €4,421,028
- 5 - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - €3,935,841
- 6 - Peter Rabbit - €3,300,357
- 7 - Bohemian Rhapsody - €3,109,279
- 8 - Black Panther - €3,045,760
- 9 - The Greatest Showman - €2,408,618
- 10 - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - €2,395,240
The phenomenal success of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! and The Greatest Showman provide clear evidence that good, old fashioned musicals still hold serious sway over the Irish movie going public. Abba’s outstanding songbook and Hugh Jackman’s seemingly unending supply of charm were a big help in these cases without a doubt. The Greatest Showman's appearance in the top ten is particularly interesting given that it was knocked out for a week before returning to the fold after it was re-released in several cinemas in late November.
The number two movie on the list, A Star is Born reaped huge financial rewards with its rags to riches story that combined original songs and a romance for the ages between stars Bradley Cooper (who also directed the film) and Lady Gaga. Fans of Cooper and Gaga turned out in droves as did older audiences eager to see what’s now the fourth version of the classic film originated by stars Janet Gaynor and Frederic March.
Bohemian Rhapsody saw great success in Ireland despite largely middling reviews from critics. The film had a troubled journey to the screen, with director Bryan Singer being fired and replaced mid production with veteran English actor and director Dexter Fletcher. One imagines that the nation’s enduring fondness for the music of Queen (who recently performed two gigs in Dublin less than nine months apart) played a significant part in the film’s performance.
Marvel Studios continues to be a titan at the Irish box office with two of their three 2018 releases Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther comfortably making the top ten at numbers three and eight respectively. Special effects extravaganza Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom also made the cut despite a critical thumping.
Incredibles 2 and Peter Rabbit make up the animated films that Irish audiences flocked to this year with the former buoyed by the love for the first instalment as well as overwhelmingly favourable reviews.
The tenth film on the list, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand saw great longevity in cinemas, aided no doubt by the seven Oscar nominations it picked up eleven days after its release.
As far as home grown cinema is concerned the famine revenge drama Black '47 is the box office success story of the year, taking in close to €1.5 million. The only other Irish features to crack the top 100 at this year’s box office were Dublin Oldschool, Damo & Ivor: The Movie and Lenny Abrahamson’s The Little Stranger.
Notable major studio flops in Ireland this year include the Christian Bale starring revisionist western Hostiles, (€55,828.78) Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris (€48,036.04) and Sony’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web (€43,658).
Overall the Irish box office saw a year on year growth of 5.9 per cent with this years total of €111,482,344 up €6,218,268 from last years €105,264,066 total.