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Frozen puts out the Hunger Games’ Fire in the UK

Straight to the top spot is computer animated musical fantasy, Frozen, released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film tells the story of a fearless princess who sets off on an epic journey alongside a thrill-seeking mountain man, his loyal pet reindeer, and a hapless snowman to find her estranged sister, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter. Frozen received critical acclaim upon its release, with several film critics considering it to be the best Disney animated musical since the studio’s renaissance era which saw films such as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Alonso Duralde of The Wrap hailed the film as “the best animated musical to come out of Disney since the tragic death of lyricist Howard Ashman, whose work on The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast helped build the studio’s modern animated division into what it is today.” Frozen reached the top spot by making £4,704,940 in its opening weekend.

Thrown off the top spot was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as it slipped down to second after three weeks on release making £2,694,862. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, return as they have become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparked a rebellion in the Districts of Panem. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has totalled £26,358,083 in the UK, received broad acclaim from critics with many praising Lawrence and Hutcherson’s performance.

Gravity remains strong in the box office chart in third position grossing £1,092,998 in cinemas. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play two astronauts who survive the mid-orbit destruction of a Space Shuttle and attempt to return to Earth. The film has been long listed for a nomination for visual effects at the 2014 Oscars. Gravity has made £24,557,256 in total in the UK.

The biographical comedy drama, Saving Mr. Banks stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks and is at fourth making £547,881 on its second week on release. The film explores the story of author P.L.Travers, who wrote Mary Poppins, her life, the fortnight long briefing in LA when filmmaker Walt Disney pursues her for screen rights and the final production of Mary Poppins.Saving Mr. Banks has received acclaim from film critics; with major praise directed to the screenplay, John Lee Hancock’s direction, and the acting, particularly Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks’ performances, with the film-making a total of £1,986,253 in the UK.

In fifth place is American action thriller, Homefront, with a star studded cast consisting of Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder, and Kate Bosworth. The film revolves around DEA agent Phil Broker (Statham) who sees his quiet family life turned upside down when his path crosses with a band of drug traffickers, led by Gator (Franco), a meth kingpin. Homefront made £440,306 and was received to mixed to negative reviews with Jason Korsner of UK Screen stating, ‘the action is niftily handled and while there’s no point trying to get too involved in a plot that can be predicted down to the last beat, it’s entertaining enough as a Sunday afternoon B movie.’

Free Birds has landed at sixth place making £314,242 in its second weekend out, bringing its total to £1,538,518. The 3D animated comedy follows two turkeys, voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson, from opposite sides of the tracks who must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history and get turkey off the holiday menu for good.

Horror film Carrie, the third adaption from Stephen King’s’ novel of the same name, is down from fifth to seventh place on its second week. Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother,  unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. Carrie was received by generally mixed reviews which has led to it making a total of £1,368,064 with £284,798 coming from last weekend.

Forest Whitaker stars in American historical drama The Butler, which made £250,828 in the UK after four weeks on release. The film tells the story of Cecil Gaines, loosely based on real life white house butler Eugene Allen, who serves as a butler at the White House from 1957 to 1986. The Butler has made £3,466,288 gross in the UK and finds its position in eighth.

An impressive six weeks in the UK box office charts for Thor: The Dark World, which has made $610,340,000 (£372,489,220.77) worldwide, (it surpassed its predecessor, Thor which made $449,326,618 (£274,237,500.66), within 19 days of release) is in ninth making £165,017 last weekend in the UK. Thor: The Dark World has made a gross of £19,572,482.

Lastly is Nebraska, an American comedy drama directed by Alexander Payne, who also has directed films such as Election and About Schmidt. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where Bruce Dern won the Best Actor Award. Upon receiving a sweepstakes letter in the male, a tetchy father (Dern) believes he has won the big time and convinces his son into going on a road trip to reclaim the money. Nebraska, which made £151,332 last weekend in the UK, tells the story of family life in the heartland of America. After Nebraska’s world premiere at the 66th Cannes Film Festival, the film was met to broadly positive reviews. Jason Korsner of UK Screen stated, ‘Payne’s story is a sharply observed but simple narrative, unrolling with wry humour, love and understanding and his ability to elicit continued sympathy for such a cantankerous central character is remarkable.’

Look out for next week: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tamla Rose and The Christmas Candle.

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