Box office records rocking as Good Vibrations reels in the crowds
Good Vibrations is shaping up to be the most successful Northern Ireland film ever at the box office.
The Terri Hooley biopic, which opened across the UK and Ireland on Good Friday, has been charming critics and audiences alike with its feelgood factor.
And in its hometown Belfast, it has been taking on the might of big budget Hollywood blockbusters – and winning.
Good Vibrations – which charts the rise of punk rock in Northern Ireland – was the top grossing film "by far" at the Movie House Dublin Road venue over the weekend, trouncing Danny Boyle's latest film Trance.
And while screenings have been quieter in Londonderry, home of The Undertones who are central to the plot, crowds have been steadily supporting the film all weekend in Belfast and are expected to continue to come out in force following the Easter break.
Boss of the Movie House Cinemas chain, Michael McAdam, said he was "delighted" with the reception so far.
"At Dublin Road, Good Vibrations is the top grossing film. We've been showing four screenings a day since it opened on Friday. In fact, we had to move it up to a larger screen.
"At Yorkgate it's been a lot quieter, but we would expect that. It has a different audience profile and tends to attract more families and children.
"But it's fair to say that in the heart of Belfast, Good Vibrations is getting a lot of support. It can be quite difficult with locally produced films, they don't always get the support they deserve for some reason. I can't think of another homegrown movie that's done as well at the box office in the first few days of opening."
Susan Picken, head of the QFT in Belfast, was equally enthusiastic about the support of cinema-goers.
She said: "Good Vibrations is definitely a box office hit audiences have taken to their hearts. On Friday there was spontaneous applause at the end of the screening. We had a fantastic celebration screening on Saturday with directors Glen (Leyburn) and Lisa (Barros D'Sa) and there was a lot of love in the room for this film. Audiences are extremely proud of the heritage this film represents." Mimi Turtle, spokeswoman for the Strand Cinema in east Belfast, which hosted a launch party on Friday, said the movie had fared "significantly better" than other films now showing.
"It has far exceeded any other Northern Irish-made movie and is significantly higher-grossing than any other film we are showing," she said.
At the Brunswick Moviebowl in Derry, Patrick Simpson said it had been a fairly low-key weekend but that Easter tended to be a traditionally quiet time for cinemas.
"We are expecting things to pick up. Everyone who has seen it has been raving about it. After all, The Undertones feature heavily in it. I would urge people to come out and show their support," he said.
A spokeswoman at the intimate Manchester Cornerhouse cinema, one of a number showing the film in England, said: "We're showing it three or four times a day and it has almost sold out every time."
Good Vibrations, which tells the story of Belfast's godfather of punk Terri Hooley, has been gathering up five star reviews and celebrity fans since it was released on Friday. Movie critic Mark Kermode said: "Every now and then, something charms you right out of your seat... charming and passionate and one of those films I really want everyone to go and see."