Brits At The Box Office: Michael Fassbender, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Kate Winslet & More!

(Weekly feature written for BritScene)

This week has seen the overall box office suffer its worst weekend since 2008, but one British movie has enjoyed robust numbers whilst another two are continuing their successful theatrical runs. There’s also some great new films set to be released over the next week that feature a number of Brits in their cast, including the Sherlock Holmes sequel, Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Mission Impossible 4 and David Fincher’s English adaptation of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo.

Lets start with the new releases. First up we have Guy Ritchie‘s detective sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which is set to be released on 16th December nationwide. The film follows Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr) and his side as Dr Watson (Jude Law) who reunite and team up with mysterious gypsy Sim, played by Noomi Rapace (The Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) to bring down the evil Professor Moriarty, played by Jared Harris (Mad Men). Total Film have also released a new clip of their exclusive interview with the cast, which you can see here, including commentary from British actors Jude Law and Stephen Fry, and you can watch the film’s trailer below.

Roman Polanski’s (The Ghost Writer) movie adaptation of the Tony-winning play written by Yasmina Reza, Carnage is set to be released on 16th December too. This film stars British actress Kate Winslet alongside Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds), John C. Reilly (We Need to Talk About Kevin ) and Jodie Foster (Panic Room) in a family-orientated comedy drama centered on parental differences. After two boys duke it out on a playground, the parents of the “victim” invite the parents of the “bully” over to work out their issues. A polite discussion of childrearing soon escalates into verbal warfare, with all four parents revealing their true colors. The film opens in New York and LA this weekend and expands over the coming weeks. You can get a theater listing here and take a look at Kate Winslet going crazy in the trailer below.

For the beginning of next of week, the fourth instalment to the popular action franchise, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, is set to be released on 21st December, starring British actor Simon Pegg in one of the main roles. The film follows IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) who is carrying out an operation in Moscow when a terrorist bombing destroys the Kremlin while , leading the US government to initiate a black operation known as “ghost protocol”, disavowing the entire Impossible Mission Force. Hunt must now go undercover with his new rogue team to clear their organization’s name. Last month we showed you a new featurette, which you can see here, spotlighting Pegg’s “ultimate IT guy” Benji. It will be interesting to see his character in a less comedic role for a change, but as the featurette shows, Pegg looks great in this. Here’s the trailer:

The final new movie is David Fincher‘s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo which has just been moved up a day for a 20th December release. It stars British actor Daniel Craig in an English adaptation of Stieg Larsson‘s Swedish Millennium trilogy. Craig plays investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who is asked to help uncover the truth about a woman who has been missing for forty years. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own dysfunctional family. This is where Blomkvist meets Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a young female hacker, as we start to discover the disturbing truth about her past as well. This is the film I have been looking forward to most of all. The first Swedish adaptations of the novels, which were directed by Niels Arden Oplev, were a brilliant set of films, but it will be nice to see Fincher’s take on the trilogy, and also not to have to read any subtitles. This big budget production, which has had some amazing promotion over the last few months will of course open nationwide and you can get a good idea what the film is all about with the 8 minute trailer below.

Now, let’s have a look at what British movies have been doing well this past weekend and will continue to expand over the coming weeks. To kick things off, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy did unbelievably well at the box office over the weekend, grossing $300,737 after its release last Friday (9th December). The film was shown at 4 theaters in New York and Los Angeles – an average of $75,184 per theater – making it the 3rd best grossing film of the year. Based on the novel of the same name written by John le Carré, Tinker Tailor is set in London in the 1970s when secret agent George Smiley (Gary Oldman) is brought out of retirement to help identify a mole who has infiltrated the Secret Intelligence Service headquarters. This will continue to expand to more and more theaters over the coming weeks and well into awards season, you can see if it is coming to a theater near you here.

We also mentioned British director Steve McQueen‘s Shame last week too, which has, again, done well. Hoping to overcome its NC-17 rating, the film added 11 theaters to its run from last week’s debut, making a total of 21. Starring Michael Fassbender (X Men: First Class) and Carey Mulligan (Drive), the film grossed $276,068 for a location average of $13,146, making a total gross of $774,154. Fassbender plays Brandon Sullivan, a lonely sex-addict in New York whose ordered lifestyle of one-night stands spirals out of control when his younger sister, Sissy (Mulligan), moves into his apartment indefinitely. Shame will also continue to expand over the coming weeks as award season comes upon us, with Fassbender hotly tipped for a number of gongs. You can see a list of theaters showing this highly provocative film here.

And finally, Martin Scorsese’s 3D family adventure, Hugo, also expanded over the weekend, totaling its showings to 2608 theaters, grossing $6.1M for a domestic take of $33.50M in its 3rd week. Based on Brian Selznick‘s award-winning best-seller, the film has already been named the Best Film of the Year by the National Board of Review, and whilst we haven’t had much coverage over our end, it does actually have quite a Brit-filled cast, including Asa Butterfield as the lead of Hugo, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, and Christopher Lee. If you have not already seen this family-friendly film, that follows Hugo a young orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station in the 1930s, then it will be still playing nationwide over the holiday period.

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