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After We Collided: does this shock hit point the way to cinema’s future?

Ignored by critics, barely marketed and released in just 47 cinemas, the YA romance has eclipsed X-Men at the UK box office and even ran Tenet close.

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Ignored by critics, barely marketed and released in just 47 cinemas, the YA romance has eclipsed X-Men at the UK box office and even ran Tenet close. What’s its secret?

Its success has been hailed as “extraordinary” – not least because no one saw it coming. The YA romance After We Collided has next to no marketing budget and zero reviews – and has taken more than £1m after just two weeks in the UK. A few weeks ago, it wasn’t even in line for theatrical release. As the box office struggles in the pandemic, the industry has sat up to take note of this grassroots success. It is “completely unprecedented”, says Delphine Lievens, a senior box office analyst at Gower Street. “To do that based on no marketing – it’s a really impressive result.”

After We Collided is the follow-up to last year’s After; both are adapted from the “new adult” novel series by the US author Anna Todd. They follow the up-and-down relationship of college students Tessa (played by Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin – Joseph and Ralph’s nephew). Tessa is a headstrong and bookish young woman with parallels – the film insists – to Elizabeth Bennet. Hardin, meanwhile, is a bad-boy Brit whose eminent unsuitability is signposted by his many Ramones tees. Naturally, “Hessa” can’t keep away from each other, as much as their parents, love rivals and life circumstances conspire to keep them apart. Cue maudlin electro-pop.

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