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Transformers crashes into the UK top spot

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Transformers: Age of Extinction smashes the top spot with £11,751,427, which makes it the biggest opening of 2014 in the UK, although it had the advantage of a nine day opening after debuting on a Saturday and not being eligible for last week’s chart. The film is the fourth instalment of the franchise about the Autobots, a faction of sentient robots from the planet Cybertron led by Optimus Prime, and features an entirely new cast of human characters with a new leading man; Mark Wahlberg. The plot takes place four years after the third film following a mechanic (Wahlberg) and his family as they join the Autobots as they are targeted by a bounty hunter from another world.

Overseas, in the US, the film sparked controversy over the North American box office figures as in its debut weekend the film grossed $100,038,000 (£58,553,974.06), which is the highest opening for a film in 2014. However, various critics and reviewers have assumed that Paramount inflated the number and a rival Studio has claimed that the figure was close to $97 million (£56,775,780.04).

However, the Age of Extinction has become the highest grossing film of all time in China, which held the world premiere was held, and has therefore overtaken James Cameron’s Avatar with a staggering $222.74m (£130,373,579.86) in just 10 days compared with Avatars’ total of $222m (£129,940,445.04) over a two month period.

Imagine Dragons performed a live concert at the world premiere featuring a single written specifically for the film itself, titled ‘Battle Cry’, that was implemented in key parts of the film by Michael Bay. Imagine Dragons also worked with Steve Jablonsky and Hans Zimmer to contribute additional music to the  score.

Despite the film’s impressive box office figures, it’s films reviews were negative with critics expressing special dislike for the acting, directing, writing, and length, however some praised the action scenes, visual effects, and Wahlberg’s and Stanley Tucci’s performances. It received an average rating of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the lowest rated film of the franchise, with the consensus stating, ‘With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is in disguise: Fans of loud, effects-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.’

With many children already on their school holidays, How to Train Your Dragon 2 has risen from fourth place to second bringing in a impressive £7,779,040 in its third week on release and making its total in the UK at £9,577,152.

Comedy Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie sits comfortably at third with £1,081,303, amounting to a gross of £11,872,300 in three weeks. Romantic drama The Fault in Our Stars falls to fourth place after making just over half of the third place film with £558,626 and after four weeks on release, it’s total has reached £9,887,813 in the UK.

New in the charts is American musical comedy Begin Again which entered in fifth place with £456,438 last weekend. Directed by John Carney, who also directed Once – an Irish musical, the film is about a chance encounter between a disgraced music-business executive and a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan which turns into a promising collaboration between the two talents and features an impressive cast of actors and singers with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, James Corden, CeeLo Green and Yasiin Bey, known to many people as Mos Def. Begin Again was received with generally positive reviews with Jason Korsner of UK Screen stating, ‘The music is all pleasant enough, but the closest you get to a hit is quite a catchy ditty that forms a key plot point; we’re told that the version that is likely to be in contention for awards is shallow and commercial, rather than the meaningful and gritty arrangement originally written – in that sense, a film that’s presenting itself as musically authentic is really promoting a lack of integrity.’

Six weeks on release for comedy 22 Jump Street which made £416,025 settling it on sixth place and also bringing its total to £17,968,329.

Another new release in the charts this week with American drama Boyhood, written and directed by Richard Linklater, entering in seventh place with £332,834 on its opening weekend. The film stars Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Ethan Hawke and tells a story of a divorced couple, Mason and Olivia, raising their young son, Mason Jr. Boyhood follows him for twelve years, from first grade at age 6 through twelfth grade at age 18, and examines his relationship with his parents as he grows. The film was shot intermittently over a twelve years from 2002, as Coltrane grew from childhood to adulthood. Boyhood premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival  and opened to critical acclaim with particular praise being aimed at the direction, acting, and the film’s sheer scope. Jason Korsner of UK Screen states, ‘In some senses, this feels like a very well executed film-school exercise, and while it’s certainly an impressive feat to shepherd a cast through such a long adventure, persuading most of the key cast and supporting characters to reunite during the process to film stage after stage of the story, from a narrative point of view, the film’s main failing was that, well, there wasn’t really much of a story.’

Eighth place sees Disney’s Maleficent un-moveable from the charts with £312,747 from last weekend and after seven weeks totalling £17,968,329. Maleficent is now the fourth highest grossing film sold on a single movie star’s name, meaning films that have been marketed specifically with a single name on the poster and its advertising material. Angelina Jolie’s name solely features on the posters.

The last two on the list haven’t fared so well in success with comedy Tammy falling from fifth to ninth place on its second weekend making £245,824, with a total in the UK of £1,139,668 and also a comedy, Chef which made a modest £77,588 on its third weekend on release, bringing its total to £1,333,970.

The charts still aren’t faring that well at the moment, cinema’s will be hoping that with more and more children breaking up for summer there will be a change in the figures, as ne3xt week we will be seeing Pudsey The Dog: The Movie, the story of Pudsey the winner of Britain’s Got Talent. Then we have documentary film I Am Divine, based on singer/drag queen Divine and finally Finding Vivian Maier, also a documentary about the late Vivian Maier, who has received posthumous praise for being one the most accomplished street photographers.

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