UK box office continues momentum in September

UK box office continues momentum in September
Disney's 'A Haunting in Venice' had the second-highest UK&I box office gross in September. (Image credit: Disney)

Total UK box office for the month of September exceeded £65m, a 13% increase compared to last September, according to the latest figures from Comscore.

Year-to-date, 2023 is currently running 10% ahead of the same period in 2022.

The top performer in September was Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer 3, which debuted at the start of the month and earned just over £8m. It was followed by Poirot mystery A Haunting in Venice (£7.3m) and horror film The Nun 2 (£6m).

Barbie and Oppenheimer meanwhile continued their big, multi-month run through September. The two films still ranked in the top five (four and five, respectively) for box office last month despite their debuts in July.

Barbie has now grossed £95.4m in the UK and Ireland alone as the top box office title of the year. Oppenheimer is second with £58.3m total UK&I gross.

Analysis: a ‘Barbenheimer’ knock-on effect?

2023 was looking rather dire for cinema this year until July, with box office totals running -9% compared to the prior year. That is, until Barbie and Oppenheimer drove audiences back to the cinema in droves.

The success of the two blockbuster films over the summer has seemed to have something of a knock-on effect through the normally sleepy month of September. Not only are audiences still turning out for the pair of films, but they are also going to the theatre for action (The Equalizer 3) and mystery (A Haunting in Venice).

Cinemagoing was also likely boosted by the return of National Cinema Day, which occurred in September again after a popular debut in 2022.

For lovers of new IP, however, 2023 has thus far been something of a disappointment. Of the top 10 box office titles so far this year, Oppenheimer is the only wholly original project (though it was still based on a biography). Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie were both created from existing IP, while the rest of the top 10 are either sequels or remakes.

Looking ahead to the rest of October, however, sees the return of Martin Scorsese to the big screen with Killers of the Flower Moon. Concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and video game horror adaptation Five Nights at Freddy’s are also poised to net big returns when they debut later this month, offering audiences of all tastes something to go out and see as the weather turns this autumn.

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