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.”
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