| 14.9°C Dublin

Summer blockbusters give struggling cinemas some light relief

BLOCKBUSTER comedies are finally providing some light relief for cinema bosses after box-office takings plunged to their lowest levels in five years.

The big hit sequel 'The Hangover Part II' has ensured bumper audiences for the past month.

But the box-office takings only stand at €51.88m up to June 23 this year.

This is a significant drop of €5m on the same period in 2010 and the lowest for the first six months of the year since 2006. The figures reveal there has been a massive turnaround in the past five weeks since mid-May, when the follow-up to 'The Hangover' was released.

Soaring into first place as top performer at the Irish box office, the stag-night comedy has already grossed €3.58m.

Now cinema bosses hope that a host of other summer blockbusters will help turn around the poor takings of 2010.

Lucy Jones, director of client services with Rentrak, which calculates box-office figures, pointed out that the number of people going to the cinema in the past five weeks was far higher than in the same period in 2011.

"Therefore, we are optimistic that the deficit will be made up over the summer and the box office for the whole of this year should be on a par with 2010," Ms Jones said.

Cinema bosses will be keeping a close watch on some of the much-touted blockbusters of the summer, including the comedies 'Bridesmaids' and 'Horrible Bosses'. Other films expected to attract families and a younger audience are the final instalment of the 'Harry Potter' saga and the animated sequel 'Cars 2'.

Ms Jones said most of these movies would be released in 3D, which gave cinemas an extra boost due to higher ticket prices for the visual extravaganzas.

Rentrak's figures also offer an insight into the different tastes of cinema-goers in Ireland compared to the UK.

So far this year, the number one box-office hit in Ireland, 'The Hangover Part II', only ranks at number three in the UK. Other films that proved more popular in Ireland than in the UK were 'The Fighter', which grossed €1.7m, and the Coen brothers' western 'True Grit' which took in €1.1m.

Irish Independent