Last year was a record-breaking year for family films in Irish cinemas, according to research carried out by Wide Eye Media.
The research shows that there were six family films in the box office top ten, that’s twice as many as 2016 and more than ever before. It was also the first year a family film took the top spot since Despicable Me was the highest grossing film of 2013.
Family movies accounted for 30% of all box office receipts with beasts, babies, bears, baddies, Batman and Buster Moon among the biggest attractions, according to Eoin Wrixon, CEO of Wide Eye Media.
“In an era of personal devices and multi-screening, cinema remains one of the few remaining shared experiences that parents and children can enjoy together with no distractions. The incredible performance of the family genre at the ROI Box Office in 2017 demonstrates again how essential and personal cinema is to us. It is one of our first forms of entertainment and one we return to again and again. Even as adults, a trip to the cinema never loses its magic,” he says.
Only four films in the top ten weren’t family movies – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Dunkirk, It and Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2, according to Wide Eye Media. Seven of the top ten were sequels, remakes or part of an existing franchise, the other three being Dunkirk, Boss Baby and Sing, although sequels are now planned for both Boss Baby and Sing. 2017 was also a triumphant year for horror films with It, Split and Get Out all grabbing the critics as well as huge audiences and It making it to seventh place in the top ten.
Daddy’s Home 2 was the biggest comedy of the year and Dunkirk was the No. 1 drama. La La Land was the most successful musical as well as the most popular romance. Cardboard Gangsters, which was filmed and set in Darndale in Dublin, was the top Irish film.
According to Wrixon, 2018 will bring one of the biggest films to ever hit Irish cinemas back to the screens as Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again releases in July, with all the original cast returning as well as some new additions and new songs too.
“It’s going to be another exceptional year for family films. A beloved classic is revisited in Mary Poppins Returns which is expected to be one of the top films of 2018. Disney has two other intriguing live-action family releases planned, A Wrinkle in Time and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Both look set to take us on spectacular journeys into intricate fantasy worlds and have impressive casts attached. Peter Rabbit gets his first big screen adventure, Illumination Entertainment, the team behind the Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing introduce their remake of The Grinch, and The Incredibles 2, Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Hotel Transylvania 3 are expected to be even bigger hits than their predecessors,” adds Wrixon.
Other sequels, remakes and franchise films to watch out for include Fifty Shades Freed, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, Deadpool 2, Venom, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mission: Impossible 6, The Predator, Scarface, Halloween (with Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode), The Nun (a spin-off of The Conjuring), The Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Final cinema admissions for 2017 are expected to be above 15m for the second year running and are predicted to rise even higher in 2018. “2018 will be an extraordinary year as there is at least one massive blockbuster scheduled to release every month. High-profile sequels and the return of beloved family classics are among the most-anticipated releases as well as some seriously strong women! No matter how much society and even popular entertainment changes, nothing beats the thrill of the big screen” says Wrixon