‘Bridget Jones’ a top taker at box office

Bridget Jones’s Baby has toppled more fancied blockbusters to be officially crowned the highest-grossing film at the Irish box office last year.

‘Bridget Jones’ a top taker at box office

The big screen romantic comedy, starring Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth, took in an impressive €4.1m — over €600,000 more than Finding Dory, the second most successful film of 2016.

The enduring appeal of Bridget Jones helped seal a bumper year for the Irish cinema industry, with total box office receipts increasing by €10m from the previous year.

And despite its mid-December release, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, also soared into the end-of-year chart, after pulling in over €2.7m by New Year’s Eve.

However, the Star Wars spin-off, which was the best-performing picture in December in Irish theatres and has been a smash-hit worldwide, has performed relatively poorly here compared to other key territories, including the UK where it finished the year as the top blockbuster with almost €60m in takings.

It is now almost certain that the Disney galactic adventure, which has been a hit with critics, will fall short of the previous Star Wars mega-hit The Force Awakens, which raked in almost €6.8m at the Irish box office and became the third-most successful movie ever here behind Avatar and Titanic.

However, industry chiefs have much to celebrate after soaring cinema admissions helped total box office receipts hit €110m, its highest total since 2012.

Despite admissions being hit by huge sporting events like Euro2016 and the the Olympic Games, figures were boosted last year by a string of successful family movies, like Finding Dory, The Secret Life Of Pets and The Jungle Book, which each pulled in well over €3m.

But industry watchdogs admitted they were surprised that a comedy emerged as last year’s chart-topper, beating off eagerly-awaited big budget pictures like Rogue One and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — which finished fifth in the table with €2.9m.

Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media, said: “Bridget Jones’s Baby has not only climbed to No 1 in a year dominated by family favourites and fearless heroes, but has even managed to fight off the strong competition from Fantastic Beasts and far-off galaxies to retain her crown.

“Not since Bridesmaids stormed the box office in 2011 has a female-driven comedy taken the top spot in Ireland’s Top 10 of the year. Despite an absence of 12 years from our screens, Bridget Jones has proven without a doubt she has still got it.”

The top 10

1. Bridget Jones’s Baby — €4,135,825

2. Finding Dory — €3,527,017

3. The Secret Life of Pets — €3,430,385

4. The Jungle Book — €3,156,389

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — €2,923,951

6. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice €2,811,413

7. Suicide Squad — €2,774,158

8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — €2,712,080

9. Deadpool — €2,572,245

10. Captain America: Civil War — €2,408,137

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