The Monuments Men: when stars don’t align

17 March, 2014 by Don Groves

George Clooney’s The Monuments Men topped the Australian box-office last weekend but its figures don’t really reflect the assembled star power of Matt Damon, Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, John Goodman and The Artist’s Jean Dujardin.

The comedy-action-drama based on the true story of the efforts to save and recover precious art works stolen by the Nazis in WW2 fetched $2.3 million, and $2.5 million with previews.

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That’s a solid but not stellar number which, pro-rata, is a bit better than the US debut of $US22 million. In the US the film has taken $73.8 million, part of a worldwide total of $128 million, which is not a lucrative return on a production budget of $70 million.

It’s the kind of movie that would have benefited from positive reviews; instead, most critics were negative, according to Rotten Tomatoes’ rankings.

The lethargy at the Australian box-office continues at takings dropped by 10% to $9.4 million and only two other titles surpassed $1 million. Last weekend’s champ, 300: Rise of an Empire, tumbled by 50% to $1.58 million, collecting nearly $6 million in 11 days.

The hazards of Hollywood adapting a video game seem to be borne out by Need for Speed, an action-adventure based on a series of racing-themed games. The movie starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper, Michael Keaton, Dakota Johnson and Aussie Harrison Gilbertson launched with a mediocre $1.5 million, mirroring the US debut of about $17.8 million.

The Monuments Men may have taken some attention away from Tracks, which fell by 44% to $313,000 in its second weekend, scoring $1.45 million so far. At that rate John Curran’s drama starring Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver may peak at about $3 million.

Teen vampire flick Vampire Academy plunged by 44% to $401,000, which brings its 11-day tally to an anaemic $1.3 million.

Best pic Oscar winner 12 Years a Slave advanced to $6.7 million after earning $381,000 in its seventh outing.

None of the new specialised releases resonated strongly, typifying a prolonged malaise in the art house and niche markets.

Generation Iron, a documentary on the bodybuilding world featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mickey Rourke, lifted a puny $51,000 on 15 screens, $58,000 with sneaks.

The Armstrong Lie, Alex Gibney’s expose of the drug cheat Lance Armstrong, took $48,000 at eight screens and $54,000 with previews.

Hannah Arendt, the biopic of the German-American philosopher and political theorist who reported on the war crimes trial of the Nazi Adolf Eichmann, fetched $23,000 at five screens and $42,000 with sneaks.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE March 13-16

 

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

The Monuments Men

1/323

$2,319,102

NA

$2,520,352

2

300: Rise of an Empire

2/467

1,586,801

-50

5,960,525

3

Need for Speed

1/457

1,513,581

NA

1,528,726

4

Non-Stop

3/235

648,511

-39

4,520,352

5

Vampire Academy

2/164

400,736

-44

1,329,858

6

12 Years a Slave

7/209

 381,851

-38

6,719,439

7

The Wolf of Wall Street

8/112

329,088

-43

22,570,968

8

Tracks   

2/203

313,527

-44

1,458,250

9

Wolf Creek 2 

4/177

248,316

-51

4,460,540

10

Dallas Buyers Club

5/78

232,700

-33

2,208,972

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Danny

    Lighten up Francis