Sunshine on Leith beats Braveheart’s first weekend

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One is an epic historical biopic which cost £37 million to make and involved a cast of thousands.

But while Braveheart drew legions to the box office, a low-budget sing-along set in Leith has outsold it.

Antonia Thomas in the film. Picture: PA

Antonia Thomas in the film. Picture: PA

Sunshine on Leith grossed £290,000 at Scottish cinema box offices at the weekend, eclipsing Mel Gibson’s acclaimed film which took £216,526.

The musical spectacular, currently the nation’s number one film, also outperformed Edinburgh-based Filth – which opened the same day – and the opening weekend takings for 1996 cult classic Trainspotting.

Already likened to Mamma Mia!, the film features songs by The Proclaimers and tells the story of best friends and soldiers Davy and Ally on their return to Leith from duty in Afghanistan.

Directed by award-winning Dexter Fletcher, 47, it stars Peter Mullan, 53, Jane Horrocks, 49, and Antonia Thomas, 26.

Scots stars Kevin Guthrie and Freya Mavor. Picture: contributed

Scots stars Kevin Guthrie and Freya Mavor. Picture: contributed

News film reviewer Jonathan Melville said: “This is excellent news for Scottish film and for Edinburgh. We don’t get to see ourselves looking back at us on the big screen nearly enough – there are far too many blockbusters and imported films that don’t depict life in Scotland.

“It’s interesting that Sunshine on Leith has made more than Braveheart. We’ve had far too many depressing films set in Scotland in the past few years – maybe people would like to see something different.

“I’m not surprised the film has done as well as it has, it’s fun and it made a smooth transition to from stage to screen.”

Most scenes were shot in Glasgow but panoramic shots of Edinburgh dominate the film.

Regulars at The Port O’Leith pub also saw their watering hole painted in Hibs green ahead of filming there.
Other scenes were shot at Capital landmarks including The Mound and Calton Hill.

Jonathan added: “In the future, I would like to see more filming taking place in 
Edinburgh – both Sunshine on Leith and Filth were largely filmed in Glasgow.”

The success has struck a chord with The Proclaimers’ Craig Reid, who said he and his brother were “very grateful” to everyone who has been to see the film.

The Irvine Welsh adaptation Filth has also enjoyed a strong opening weekend. It took nearly £250,000.

The film, shot in Edinburgh and Glasgow and starring Scottish actor James McAvoy, nearly doubled the opening weekend take of previous Welsh adaptation 

The cult classic starring Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle took £94,460 on its release in 1996, or around £150,000 in today’s money.

Rosie Ellison, manager of the Marketing Edinburgh Film Office, hailed the good news for Sunshine on Leith.

She said: “This is great, for the movie and the city, too. Having hundreds of extras singing 500 Miles slap-bang in the city centre took a huge amount of planning – but it was entirely worth it.

“The end result is spectacular and a tremendous advert for Edinburgh. The city looks stunning throughout and we’re sure that it will encourage more visitors to come.”

Scotland’s big money films

Sunshine on Leith: £290,000

Filth: £250,000

Braveheart: £216,526

Neds: £216,120

The Angels’ Share: £157,757

Rob Roy: £126,389

Trainspotting: £94,460

Shallow Grave: £51,619

Sweet 16: £60,728

Mrs Brown: £38,343