LONDON — Crack open the champagne, the long-awaited version of “Absolutely Fabulous” is off to an absolutely fabulous start at the U.K. box office, pulling in £4.03 million ($5.4 million) from 615 sites in its opening weekend.
The beloved British TV spinoff, which is released by Fox Searchlight and sees Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprise their roles as comical glitzy duo Edina and Patsy, trailed just behind Universal’s “The Secret Life of Pets” (which scored $6.15 million in its second weekend) for the three-day period of July 1-3, but figures still earned “Ab Fab” the biggest opening weekend for a Brit pic since “Spectre” last October.
The film, which is directed by Mandie Fletcher and produced by Damian Jones (“The Iron Lady”) and Jon Plowman, who produced the original 1990s TV series, is storming through the week taking $908,291 in cinemas on Monday and a $1.3 million tally on Tuesday for a running total of $7.5 million.
The laffer, which is largely-targeted to a female audience, sees the two heavy-drinking, party-loving fashionistas become engulfed by a media storm following a major incident at a fashion launch party in London. Their high life crumbles and the two flee to the glamorous playground of the uber-rich in the French Riviera and begin to hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and return to their glamorous lifestyles once more. The film is awash with cameos from a raft of celebs including Jon Hamm, Joan Collins, Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, Lulu and Jerry Hall.
The pic offered Brit auds some much-needed cheer in the post-Brexit gloom that has engulfed much of the nation and proved to be solid counterprogramming for major soccer tournament the UEFA European Championships. It also opened to decent reviews throughout the nation, helping to boost the audience.
Compared to recent openings for British TV adaptations, “Ab Fab” opened above Universal’s February release of “Dad’s Army” ($2.8 million) but below 2014’s “Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie” ($5.7 million).
“Absolutely Fabulous” opens in the U.S. on July 22.