Which films make the most money?

September's figures are out.

The past month saw a number of new releases on the worldwide cinema scene. "Insidious 2", from "Saw" director and creator James Wan was the top release of the month, grossing over US$82m worldwide and US$70 m in North America alone. Foreign box office receipts for the film should increase substantially going forward as it is yet to be released in a number of major locations. These figures are already impressive considering the film was made off a budget of only US$5 million.

It has been a strong year for Wan. His last release "The Conjuring" topped box office charts in July and has grossed over US$297 million to date worldwide off a budget of only US$20 million.

The second biggest release in September was "Prisoners" starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Since its 20 September release the film has grossed US$46m worldwide including US$40m in North America alone.

Vin Diesel much awaited "Pitch Black" and "Chronicles of Riddick" sequel, "Riddick" opened on the 6th September and has grossed US$85m to date worldwide. This is a relatively healthy considering it was made off a budget of only US$3m. We expect the film to end off at around US$130m total worldwide gross.

Other major September releases included "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2", "The Family" and "Rush". "Rush" tells the true story of the Formula1 rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda and has received strong reviews on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.  Since its 20 September release it has grossed just over US$25m worldwide.

For October, international audiences can look forward to the release of:

  • "Gravity", a space drama starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.
  • "Captain Phillips", from "Green Zone" director, Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks. The film is based on the true story of merchant mariner Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by Somali Pirates during the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009.
  • "Machete Kills", the sequel to the cult hit "Machete". Directed by "Desperado" director Robert Rodriguez, the film stars Hollywood hard man Danny Trejo in the lead role alongside a strong supporting cast featuring Michelle Rodriguez, Charlie Sheen, Jessica Alba and a debut performance from Lady Gaga.
George Clooney. Photograph: Getty Images

Andrew Amoils is a writer for WealthInsight

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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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