Will X+Y add up to a box-office success?

Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis and Sally Hawkins as Julie. Photo: PA Photo/Koch Media/Origin Pictures/Nick Wall
Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis and Sally Hawkins as Julie. Photo: PA Photo/Koch Media/Origin Pictures/Nick Wall

Film producers, who gauge success in pounds and dollars, know only too well that there is no simple, rigorous formula for guaranteed box office returns.

The 1995 action adventure Cutthroat Island and the 2003 romp Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl share similar creative DNA: swashbuckling pirates + water-logged action sequences + uproarious comedy.

However, the former sank in spectacular fashion and is widely considered one of the biggest flops in cinema history, while the latter spawned a ship-shape franchise that has grossed more than 3.5 billion US dollars... and counting.

X+Y is a bittersweet drama, which has been engineered to a predictable formula: misunderstood genius + neurodevelopmental disorder + touching romance = triumph against adversity.

Morgan Matthews’ uplifting feature rests heavily on 17-year-old lead actor Asa Butterfield.

As his teacher, Rafe Spall channels Michael Caine’s boozy tutor from Educating Rita, replete with wry one-liners, whileSally Hawkins provides excellent support, repeatedly reaching out to her boy only for him to recoil.