Mark O’Connor’s urban crime drama Cardboard Gangsters just recorded a huge weekend at the Irish box-office, increasing its earnings by more than 60% in securing €76k and third position in the charts. This placed it just behind Hollywood blockbusters Transformers: The Last Knight and Wonder Woman, and sets it on course to be the biggest Irish release of the year.
The film, which is currently playing at 47 cinemas in the Republic, also opened in Northern Ireland over the weekend, and to date has earned €192k at the combined all-island box office. It is set to add 10 more locations this weekend.
These figures are a remarkable achievement for O’Connor and his cast and crew, who made the low-budget drama with the support of the BAI, Egg Post Production, and TV3. The film has an 18 rating, which is often seen as an obstacle to box office success but here is indicative of the raw and realistic imagery that appears to have captivated audiences in the capital and around the country.
Directed by O’Connor, Cardboard Gangsters follows a group of wannabe gangsters as they attempt to gain control of the drug trade in Darndale, chasing the glorified lifestyle of money, power and sex. Jay Connolly is a part-time DJ and low-level drug dealer. When his welfare is cut off he decides it’s time for him and his gang to enter the big leagues. This attracts the attention of the local King Pin and sets Jay down a violent and bloody path.
Actor/co-writer John Connors (Love/Hate) is joined in the cast by by Jimmy Smallhorne, Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank), Fionn Walton (What Richard Did), Damien Dempsey (Between the Canals), Denise McCormack (Love/Hate) Paul Roe (Adam and Paul), Stephen Clinch (Between the Canals), and Corey McKinley (’71), with support from Aaron Blake O’Connell (Bully), Gemma-Leah Devereux (How to Be Happy), Toni O’Rourke (Noble), Fiona Hewitt Twamley, Paul Alright, Ryan Lincoln, and Ciaran McCabe (Bully).