The Lobster, our most popular film of 2015

Watershed Top 10 Sellers of 2015

We've recycled the wrapping paper, taken the tinsel down and swept up the pine needles: 2015 is over, and 2016 is here with a vengeance. Here’s a quick run down of our top sellers, and what the year in film at Watershed looked like…

We've recycled the wrapping paper, taken the tinsel down and swept up the pine needles: 2015 is over, and 2016 is here with a vengeance. But wasn’t 2015 great? Bristol was European Green Capital, tens of thousands of you came to watch the Harbourside cranes dance, Urbanimals were unleashed on the streets, Playable City travelled to Lagos, Tokyo and Texas, The Rooms captured your imagination in ways we never thought possible, and, of course, 156,000 people came through our doors to enjoy the finest independent and world cinema. So here’s a quick run down of our top sellers, and what the year in film at Watershed looked like…

The all-conquering crustacean at the number one spot in the year’s top sellers is The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos’ absurdist Cannes Jury Prize-winner, where single people are forced to find a partner within 45 days – or else be transformed into the animal of their choice.

The response to and demand for The Lobster has been truly amazing. We screened it for a whopping 10 weeks (to put things into perspective, most films have an average two week run), and it is the second biggest hit in the 32-year history of Watershed (The Artist is still tap-dancing at the top).

A big part of its success has also been the launch, in July, of our ticket offer for those aged 24 and under: they can see any film, at any time, for just £4.50. We’ve been thrilled at the take up and the increase in numbers for this age group – we introduced it to help more young people enjoy the diversity of world film culture here, and it’s working.

So who else enjoys the company of our clawed friend in the top 10? Here’s the full list…

      1. The Lobster
      2. Amy
      3. Birdman
      4. Carol (you can watch our Q&A with Carol's producer Elizabeth Karlsen on our YouTube channel)
      5. 45 Years
      6. Macbeth
      7. Selma
      8. The Theory of Everything
      9. Force Majeure
      10. Brooklyn

We had a look over the top sellers with Mark Cosgrove, our Cinema Curator, who said:

"It has been great to see the phenomenal success of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster at Watershed. I had hoped this would do well but hadn’t imagined it would run for over 10 weeks. Audiences couldn’t get enough of Yorgos's darkly comic dystopian take on relationships. Bristol certainly has fine taste for the eccentric and the surreal.

"Amy coming in at number two is testament to how much Bristol audiences loved and appreciated Amy Winehouse and her music – there were many tears after our screenings. And elsewhere, it’s great to see strong performances from British films – including Amy – like 45 Years, The Theory of Everything and Brooklyn, alongside the brilliant, nerve-jangling Swedish black comedy Force Majeure."

In December's Podcast Mark reflected a bit more on the year in cinema for 2015, with a list of his personal top 25 films screened at Watershed. Have a listen for the full list, but here’s his top five for comparison:

      1. Pasolini
      2. Carol
      3. Force Majeure
      4. Girlhood
      5. It Follows

What do you think of our top 10 sellers or Mark’s favourites? Let us know in the comments sections below, and share your film favourites for the past year too. We screened 359 films in 2015, so there’s bound to be some that don’t feature in either list but nonetheless made a big impact. We’d love to hear your thoughts and celebrate the little gems that got away…

Looking ahead to 2016, these first early months are jam-packed with more films that you can shake a golden statuette at, with The Danish Girl already on our screens, plus Room and Trumbo hot on its heels. There’s more to come, of course – with seasons on Japanese cinema, Hong Kong crime, Roald Dahl and Cinema Rediscovered to name but a few all being scoped out and prepared for the year ahead.

Thank you for making 2015 such a brilliant year for us. We’ve loved hearing your thoughts on everything we do and we’re looking forward to another diverse, playful, engaging year – see you soon!


Delighted to see Girlhood in Mark's top five films! I absolutely loved it. It's so refreshing to see complex cinema about black girls - a group that deserves far more coverage in popular culture.

Saw lady in the van on New Year's Eve and thought you'd saved the best to last a fabulous treat to end the year x

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