The Menu: Horror satire cooks up surprise box office storm

A surprise box office hit has manifested in the form of a new satirical horror.

The film in question is The Menu, a dark comedy thriller from Game of Thrones and Succession director Mark Mylod.

Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy lead the ensemble film, which is best experienced knowing as little as possible.

For those who do want to know the plot, though, it follows a young couple, played by Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Houly, who travel to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant.

However, it soon becomes clear that the mysterious chef (Fiennes) has some surprises his sleeve for the unsuspecting guests.

After being released on 18 November, The Menu has amassed global box office takings of $15.2m (£12.9m), which is Searchlight Picture’s biggest opening weekend since Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.

That means the film has made back half its budget in just one weekend, and looks set to make a lot more considering the positive reviews as well as the strong word-of-mouth factor surrounding the film’s plot.

The Menu also stars Hong Chau, John Leguizamo, Janet McTeer, Reed Birney, Judith Light and Rob Yang. Find The Independent’s review of the film here.

Anya Taylor-Joy in sleeper hit ‘The Menu’ (Searchlight Pictures)
Anya Taylor-Joy in sleeper hit ‘The Menu’ (Searchlight Pictures)

It was also an impressive weekend for Aftersun, an independent drama from Charlotte Wells that was released in 110 screens across the UK.

The Mubi-distributed release, which stars Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio, debuted at Cannes in May and is one of the year’s best-reviewed films. The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey called Aftersun “astounding” in her five-star review.

Meanwhile, in the US, She Said, which is based on Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s 2019 book about the New York Times investigation that exposed Harvey Weinstein, had a dreadful opening weekend.

It amassed just $2.8m (£2.3m) despite being released in more than 2,000 screens across the US. It’s released in the UK on Friday (25 November).