Superheroes assemble for blockbuster year

Superhero and fantasy movies were box office gold this year as Irish audiences flocked to the movies to escape the recession blues.

Skyfall looks set to be the blockbuster of the year, taking €5.7m at the box office, well ahead of the €4.3m earned by last year’s No 1, Bridesmaids.

And while 007 is firmly in the top spot, the Batman franchise hit second place with The Dark Knight Rises, and comic superhero film Avengers Assemble is fourth.

Ted, which starred a hard-drinking, drug-taking, girl-obsessed teddy bear alongside Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, was third with just over €4m.

Eoin Wrixon, general manager of Carlton Screen Advertising, which compiles the country’s top films every year, said comic book heroes and big franchises were the biggest blockbusters this year.

“For the studios, they are a rich and easy to access vein of imaginative and creative story lines, and also maybe there is the need for escapism and immersion in alternative realities.”

The top 10 Irish films this year pulled in €32.9m, almost €2m more than 2011’s top 10.

But Mr Wrixon believes overall cinema receipts will be down on last year.

“With Hobbit releasing on Dec 14 and Tinker Bell and Life of Pi and Jack Reacher before the end of the year, we are looking at admissions finishing the year strongly. However, they will be down on last year. The question is by how much.”

While capers such as Bridesmaids and The Guard had audiences rolling in the aisles in 2011, Ted was the only comedy to make into the top 10 this year.

Nine of the top 10 films belonged to franchises, with none of the blockbusters driven by A-list stars.

And while comic books ruled the box office, tween fantasy franchises of Twilight and Hunger Games also drew massive audiences, with the last Twilight film making it into seventh place with €2.3m, with the debut film of the Hunger Games series in ninth place with €2.2m.

Top takings in 2012

1 Skyfall: €5,706,058

2 The Dark Knight Rises: €5,321,754

3 Ted: €4,055,111

4 Avengers Assemble: €3,795,313

5 Ice Age: Continental Drift: €2,666,462

6 Taken 2: €2,443,680

7 Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2: €2,333,870

8 The Amazing Spider-Man: €2,300,969

9 Hunger Games: €€2,284,911

10 The Muppets: €2,054,060

Total €32,962,188

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