Jodie Comer’s Prima Facie: highest-grossing event cinema release

Advertisement

The one-woman play about sexual assault and the legal system is a box office hit

National Theater Live’s Prima Facie, starring Jodie Comer, is officially the highest-grossing theatrical release since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Advertisement

Suzie Miller’s one-woman play, which is now showing in select cinemas, took home £1.0million within the first 24 hours of its release – with 76 pages yet to be reported.

Register to our Mazic News Today Newsletter

Encores over the weekend took that to £1.8million and The Telegraph reported that the five-day total hit £1.9million.

Advertisement

These figures made the film the highest-grossing title in cinemas in the UK and Ireland and the first event release to surpass the £1million mark since cinemas first closed in March 2020.

It was played in 662 venues on its premiere day (21 July) and grossed a daily average of £2,346.

Advertisement
Jodie Comer in Prima Facie (Photo: Empire Street Productions/Helen Murray)

As Mrs Comer’s West End debut, primafacie was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike – no wonder it took the box office by storm.

Rumors had been circulating for weeks that pre-sales were particularly strong, and NT Live confirmed that “many theaters have seven days booked [in the coming weeks]with multiple screenings throughout the day,” it wouldn’t be a surprise if the production soon broke more records.

Advertisement

How do the numbers compare to other event releases?

To put Prima Facie’s performance in context, the highest-grossing title in 2021 for event cinema – which includes plays, operas and music concerts screened in cinemas – was Christmas With André.

Advertisement

The concert, featuring well-known violinist and conductor André Rieu, raised £866,000.

Anything Goes, a musical set aboard an ocean liner traveling from New York to London, was close behind – grossing £781,000.

Advertisement

Compared to pre-pandemic numbers, these numbers are low. Events cinema flourished in 2019 with the release of NT Live’s Fleabag – and the category grossed a whopping £45.3million in cinemas across the UK and Ireland.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag, also a one-woman play, grossed £4.4million and set a box office record for the genre.

Advertisement

But the event cinema scene has changed a lot during and after the pandemic, so Prima Facie’s success is no small feat.

Many are hoping it will spur a new wave of event moviegoers after the industry took a painful blow in the wake of the coronavirus.

Advertisement

What is “Prima Face” about?

Directed by Justin Martin, Prima Facie is a one-woman play about sexual assault and the legal system.

Advertisement

It follows the story of Tessa (Comer), a brilliant young working-class lawyer who specializes in defending men accused of sexual assault.

But “an unexpected event forces her to confront the frontiers where the patriarchal power of law, the burden of proof and morality diverge” – and emotions run high.

Advertisement

How are the reviews?

Prima Facie has received a slew of rave reviews from both theater connoisseurs and cinema gurus.

Advertisement

The Daily Telegraph wrote: “West End debuts don’t come more astonishing than this solo tour de force from Jodie Comer.”

The Times warned, “Nothing can prepare you for the reach, energy, resilience, emotional clarity and sheer presence [Jodie Comer] offers.”

Advertisement

Curzon described Prima Facie as “more than a rallying cry of ‘Do you believe women’ — it’s a howling, rock-hard wail,” adding that Ms. Comer “delivers another stunning, multi-faceted performance.”

What else has Jodie Comer starred in?

Advertisement

Ms Comer first rose to fame when she was cast as the assassin Villanelle on the BBC hit series Killing Eve.

Over the past year, she starred opposite Matt Damon and Adam Driver in historical drama The Last Duel and action comedy Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds and Joe Keery.

Advertisement
Jodie Comer, winner of the Leading Actress Award at the British Academy Television Awards

In May, she received the BAFTA for Leading Actress for her performance in Channel 4’s ‘Help’, which offered an insight into the experiences of care homes and carers during the pandemic.

How can I watch Prima Facie?

Advertisement

Prima Facie premiered in the West End at London’s Harold Pinter Theater in April and ran for a limited time until June 18th.

The play is in select theaters now, but only for the next few weeks, so be sure to grab your tickets as soon as possible.

Advertisement

You can find out which theaters are participating and buy your tickets at National Theater Live’s website.

Advertisement