As I noted in my full international box office report last night, Tom Hardy-starrer Legend got off to a criminally good start this weekend in the UK. With actuals now in from Studiocanal, the final number is higher than projected. At £5.18M ($7.99M), several records have been broken, and the film has maintained the No. 1 postition, besting new entries Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and The Visit.
The drama from Working Title, and fully financed by Studiocanal, had the biggest all-time opening for an 18 certificate (R-rated) British film; and also takes the crown of the biggest September release of a UK film ever. Legend is the best-ever UK debut for Studiocanal as distributor — the company’s Paddington was previously its top opener when it bowed to £5.11M in December, 2014.
In a dual role, Hardy plays notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, twins who ran organized crime in the East End of London in the 1960s. Brian Helgeland directs the picture which Universal is releasing Stateside on October 2. It debuted in Toronto on Saturday to strong notices for Hardy who’s arguably one of the most intriguing actors working today. Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote yesterday, “The actor is superb and you can throw his name into the crowded Best Actor race if voters can get past the bloodletting.”
With such a supremely British subject matter, there was a big curiousity factor here and opening in the UK first was a savvy move. It played at 522 locations for Studiocanal’s widest ever opening.
Studiocanal CEO Danny Perkins said today, “We worked closely with the filmmaking team as they crafted a superb film around a truly unique central performance and it has been fantastic to see this inspire such an incredible amount of excitement and appreciation from UK audiences.”