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11 Jan 2018

How we went to the cinema in 2017

2017 was a record-breaking year for family films at the ROI Box Office. There were six family films in the box office top ten, that’s twice as many as last year and more than ever before. It was also the first year a family film took the top spot since Despicable Me was the highest grossing film of 2013.

Family movies accounted for 30% of all box office receipts with beasts, babies, bears, baddies, Batman and Buster Moon among the biggest attractions. “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. The incredible performance of the family genre at the ROI Box Office in 2017 demonstrates again how essential and personal cinema is to us. It is one of our first forms of entertainment and one we return to again and again. Even as adults, a trip to the cinema never loses its magic.” said Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media.

Only four films in the top ten weren’t family movies - Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, It and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2. Seven of the top ten 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 ten. This was the first time a horror has entered the top ten 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 No. 1 drama. La La Land was the most successful musical as well as the most popular romance. Maze, which was about the notorious 1983 escapes of IRA prisoners and starred Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, was the top Irish film. This was written and directed by Stephen Burke and shot in Cork Prison.

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 as well as some new additions and new songs too. Mamma Mia was the No. 1 film at the ROI Box Office in 2018 and is the fourth highest grossing movie of all-time in Ireland, after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It’s going to be another exceptional year for family films. A beloved classic is revisited in Mary Poppins Returns which is expected to be one of the top films of 2018. Disney has two other intriguing 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 the 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 are expected to be even bigger hits than their predecessors.

Other sequels, remakes and franchise films to watch out for include Fifty Shades Freed, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, Venom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mission: Impossible 6, The Predator, Scarface, Halloween (with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode), 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 which focuses on the adventures of the young Han Solo and is a strong contender for next year’s ROI Box Office Top Ten. Another is Mortal Engines, the first in a new science-fiction franchise which stars Robert Sheehan who first rose to fame as Darren in Love/Hate. Domhnall Gleeson is Mr. McGregor in Peter Rabbit and Dr. Faraday in Lenny Abraham’s latest film The Little Stranger. Saoirse Ronan has been gathering headlines already for her role in Lady Bird and she 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, the all-female Ocean’s 8, Saoirse Ronan’s award-winning performance in Lady Bird, and award-tipped portrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots and Margot Robbie is the formidable star of I, Tonya which is being billed as skating’s Goodfellas. There are also lots of female comedies to look forward to as Melissa McCarthy goes back to school in Life of the Party, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon share an ex with a double life in The Spy Who Dumped Me and Amy Schumer is the star of I Feel Pretty.

Final cinema admissions for 2017 are expected to be above 15million for the second year running and are predicted to rise even higher in 2018. “2018 will be an extraordinary year as there is at least one massive blockbuster scheduled to release every month. High-profile sequels and the return of beloved family classics are among the most-anticipated releases as well as some seriously strong women! No matter how much society and even popular entertainment changes, nothing beats the thrill of the big screen” according to Eoin Wrixon CEO of Wide Eye Media.