‘King’s Speech’ continues to coin it

Posted by · 6:36 pm · January 17th, 2011

It may have lost six of its seven bids at last night’s Golden Globe Awards, but there was consolatory news for “The King’s Speech” in the box office receipts — on both sides of the Atlantic. Nabbing the #4 spot Stateside after upping its screen count was a handy achievement, but it’s in its home country that the film has attained jaw-dropping phenomenon status.

Not only did the royal biopic hold onto the top spot at the UK box office, comfortably elbowing superhero flick (and US #1) “The Green Hornet” into the runner-up spot, but it actually exceeded its opening-weekend gross, taking £4.72 million compared to “just” £3.52 million a week ago. (Figures filched from the trusty Charles Gant’s Twitter feed.)

Tom Hooper’s film is currently sitting on a total haul of £10.72 million (roughly $16.69 million, if you like your maths in American English). For the sake of comparison, that’s more in a fortnight than “The Social Network” took in its entire UK theatrical run. Crazy.

That kind of growth is a rare enough occurrence when dealing with the usual sort of box office fodder — but for a high-end, older-skewing prestige drama, it’s nothing short of astounding. The adult audience is rarely given much commercial consideration by the money men, but these figures prove that they will show up in force when served something with broad appeal in the cold, dark days of January — while this week’s increased gross suggests they’re telling their friends to see it too.

Put in Sally Field terms, people like “The King’s Speech.” They really like it. And it’s this word-of-mouth potential that nags to me, despite practical evidence to the contrary, that it shouldn’t be counted out of the Oscar race just yet. The BAFTA, of course, could hardly be more in the bag at this point.

[Photo: The Weinstein Company]

→ 19 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

19 responses so far

  • 1 1-17-2011 at 6:49 pm

    McAllister said...

    Just got home from finally seeing it for the first time. LOVED IT. I expected a glossy prestige piece and what I got was a glossy prestige piece full of character and depth. I hate to say it, but I think I’m no longer routing for Christian Bale in Supporting Actor any longer.

  • 2 1-17-2011 at 7:06 pm

    melvel said...

    Everyone knows the BAFTAs will go gaga for this film. I don’t think it leading the nominations and sweeping awards there will change a thing. It needed a Globe win for the film to gain traction (at least in the U.S.) It has not shot at all the other guilds that matter.

  • 3 1-17-2011 at 7:28 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Saw it on Christmas day. Loved it, but not bowled over. My friend felt similarly. 2 friends saw it today, one really liked it, the other one loved it.

    It looks like this will make $80 mill plus in the states, no? It’s raking in money in England and Australia. God knows how much it will make elsewhere.

    Oscar for BP or no, this film is one nice, big, success story.

  • 4 1-17-2011 at 7:34 pm

    red_wine said...

    Guy I honestly think Social Network will take down the Baftas too. The Baftas voted for British productions in 2006 and 2007 that were not exactly setting the awards scene on fire in the states. In 2008, obviously one British film cleaned up on both sides of the Atlantic but last year, inspite of having a British player in An Education, they went for the more acclaimed The Hurt Locker. I think this year too they might go for the massively acclaimed Social Network rather than their home production.

  • 5 1-17-2011 at 8:00 pm

    Zachary said...

    English? Who needs that? I’m never going to England! :)

  • 6 1-17-2011 at 8:07 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I also believe TSN will triumph at BAFTA’s. That would sadden me. But TSN is nearly unstoppable, it seems.

  • 7 1-17-2011 at 8:13 pm

    RichardA said...

    To me, The King’s Speech is a very, very good movie. But I have a feeling that there is an intangible quality to the film that can strike strong chord to others. And this quality will probably make TKS a strong challenger to The Social Network. I don’t know, but is it the seemingly straight forward story with really, really strong acting?
    TKS is a much strong film than An Education–which had a take home message of don’t date an older man if you’re still in high school (a lesson that is pretty dumb and uninspiring).

  • 8 1-17-2011 at 8:16 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    I saw it today and I really liked it more than I expected to. I love how it sets itself from the rest of the pack of royal British period pieces with its unique visual identity. Many of the shots were flat-out weird, but as a whole it all worked.

  • 9 1-17-2011 at 8:29 pm

    al b. said...

    I saw TKS for the first time tonight and I was shaking for 20 minutes after it ended! What a powerful film with phenomenal performances, particularly from Rush and Firth!

  • 10 1-17-2011 at 8:37 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Holy crap, I think I saw a different movie. People like it THIS much?

    I may need to see it again to find out what I missed?

  • 11 1-17-2011 at 10:15 pm

    Rob said...

    “I was shaking for 20 minutes after it ended!”

    I’m really glad you like the movie, but I think you maybe should stop skipping your meds…

  • 12 1-17-2011 at 10:18 pm

    John G said...

    I’ve also been watching the HBO John Adams series and I think that Tom Hooper is a very talented director. His historical characters are colorful and charming, and he really captures the accidental nature of history, the idea that these are people we can understand, and that we ourselves could just as easily been in these situations and maybe even reacted the same way.

  • 13 1-17-2011 at 10:51 pm

    Mickche said...

    Just an Australian BO update:
    King’s Speech adds $1.8m in its 4th week on 117 screens with $15,500/screen. (17% drop with 10 screens added). cume = $12.37m and has overttaken The Social Network $12.1m

  • 14 1-17-2011 at 11:12 pm

    al b. said...

    @Rob: Shit I knew I forgot something at my apartment!

    Yes, I really liked it that much! Best film of 2010 IMO! And ditto John G. John Adams is far and away my favorite of HBO’s miniseries for just those very reasons you mention.

  • 15 1-17-2011 at 11:57 pm

    americanrequeim said...

    did the kings speech just set a bafta nom record? anyone?

  • 16 1-18-2011 at 12:02 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    No, it didn’t. I believe “Shakespeare in Love” holds the record with 15. Atonement, The Aviator, Gladiator, American Beauty and The Madness of King George all earned 14 nods in recent years — not an uncommon stat.

  • 17 1-18-2011 at 2:27 am

    Dominik said...

    “The King´s Speech” really needed to win Best Drama at the Globes, and it didn´t. It feels like this race is over, for sure. Nevertheless, it´s an excellent movie that deserves more than one award for Colin Firth. I would love to see Geoffrey Rush honored too, but again, it seems like many categories are locked and there is not much space left for some surprises, right?

    What comes to my mind regarding the BAFTA-noms: Wouldn´t it be an intresting twist in the dramaturgy of this year´s race if Lesley Manville indeed gets a supporting nod? I know I wanted her to get nominated for leading, but I believe she probably has an outsider shot á la Gay Harden in supporting. Leo´s omission at the BAFTAs suggests that she might not be a shoo-in for the win yet. Or is it just wishful thinking to safe some suspense in at least one of the acting categories..?

  • 18 1-18-2011 at 7:13 am

    JJ1 said...

    IF Manville gets nommed, that would be fantastic. But I still don’t know if a win would be possible (performance notwithstanding, will everyone have seen Another Year, hard campaigns by The Fighter peeps, Steinfeld, etc.).

  • 19 12-02-2012 at 12:16 am

    Reynold said...

    I think Sarah is just GREAT!! She speaks well, drseses well and has a pleasant way about her. She is not perfect as none of us are. She is not huffy puffy like most politician, men and women alike.We all talk about wanting a person in office that will work for the working man and truely understands the needs of the middle class. Well, here she is. She really can understand the average person because she is one of us.I would like to say to Sarah, You Go Girl and the more nasty things they say about you, the better. To me it means that they are running scared. You just keep on doing what you’re doing. You have accomplished so much in your short life and regardless of what happens in this election, you will do just fine!!