Who heeded the Margaret and David snub?

03 March, 2014 by Don Groves

If Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton’s pointed refusal to review Wolf Creek 2 was designed to deter viewers from going to the movie, it’s hard to tell whether or not they succeeded.

The minor media storm whipped up by the At the Movies co-hosts could have had the opposite effect of encouraging some folks who were wavering or undecided to check out Greg Mclean’s gruesome thriller.


However the serial killer saga starring John Jarratt and Ryan Corr plunged by 40% to $1 million last weekend, a standard second-weekend drop, suggesting the Pomeranz/Stratton controversy had zero impact on ticket buyers. So Wolf Creek 2 has raked in $3.2 million in 11 days, compared with the original’s lifetime gross of $6.1 million.

The top title was Non- Stop, an action thriller starring Liam Neeson as an air marshal who gets a text message while en route to London warning someone on the plane will die unless $150 million is paid into a bank account.

The film collected $1.8 million, a solid figure but, pro-rata, nowhere near as impressive as in the US where the Studiocanal production fetched an  $US28.8 million.

Peter Berg’s intense Afghan war movie Lone Survivor fell by 40% to $898,000 in its second outing, bringing its earnings to $2.9 million.

After bombing in the US the previous weekend, the McG-directed action thriller 3 Days to Kill was destined to fail here, making $483,000 on 163 screens. The concept of Kevin Costner as an international spy who's determined to mend fences with his estranged wife and daughter while hunting for the world’s most ruthless terrorist just doesn’t seem to fly with audiences.

Takings overall slipped by 3% to $9.5 million last weekend. Japanese animated film The Wind Rises, a fictionalised account of the man who designed the Zero fighters used in WW2, opened with a decent $116,000 at  nine screens, and $145,000 including previews.

Gloria, a comedy-drama set in Santiago about a free-spirited divorcee and her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer, debuted with a skimpy $33,000 at 14 screens; however with festival screenings and previews it has amassed $200,000.


Title  Week/ Screens Box Office  % +-  Total

1 Non-Stop 1/246 $1,869,355 NA $1,869,355
2 Wolf Creek 2 2/218 1,009,865 -40 3,242,765
3 The Wolf of Wall Street 6/228 898,128 -15 21,101,674
4 Lone Survivor 2/230 897,446 -40 2,925,509
5 Last Vegas 4/233 596,913 -26 5,929,187
6 RoboCop 4/194 503,117 -37 6,510,591
7 12 Years a Slave 5/160 495,218 +20 5,100,811
8 3 Days to Kill 1/163 483,428 NA 438,428
9 Are We Officially Dating? 3/161 296,247 -35 2,228,903
10 Dallas Buyers Club 3/76 279,384 +2 1,329,733

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia








  • Mark

    I congratulate Margaret and David for setting some kind of minimum standard. They take their films seriously, and Wolf Creek 2 is not a serious film.
    Wolf Creek 2 was made for one reason only… to cash in. Crap sells, and just because a collection of teenagers and bogans coughed up the money to attend doesn’t mean this kind of cinematic trash advances the Australian film industry in any way.
    Don Groves should look a bit deeper for the motivations of David and Margaret. And IF should consider whether or not they want to be an entertainment fluff mag, or a serious commentator on film culture.

  • Brian

    Obviously Margaret and David’s non-review of Wolf Creek 2 sends a message out, however, one thing that I’m not hearing in the “debate” is that we are talking about 30 minutes of TV and there’s only so much to fit in. Also, isn’t an editorial (of sorts) right for reviewers in this sort of case to decide what they want to review? I appreciate that 1. its an Australian movie and no matter how much we can be critical of our own movies we still seem to be offeneded if something misses out, 2. the box office figures have defied the general interpretation of M & D’s non-review.

    How about this, what if they actually gave it a review and only gave it two stars and then it perfromed poorly at the box office – just imagine the outcry.

    And what about this – doesn’t this all say something about the reliance of reviews and 1st weekend figures?

    For too long the industry, worldwide, has relied on the same old systems of evaluation with regards to a film’s worth.

    Of course revieweres will remain an essential part of screen culture.

    Mayee it was the case that the distributors executed a great marketing plan. How do we know that every second person who saw the movie didnt come out and say 2 out of 5. Remember how Mr Lum managed to convince the world to see Blair Witch Project and most audiences were greatly disappointed by the 2 hours of nothing they endured?

    My 2 cents (and more) worth.

  • Maria

    I agree with Brian & Mark . I have not seen the movie , I don’t intend to either, I watch Margret & David when I can, and I value their opinion, most the time I think their comments are interesting and they can have different personal opinions, – that’s what the program is all about. As far as I can gather from other resources, teasers etc. Wolf Creek 2 is about torture, sex, etc and has got an M rating. I would not want my 15 year old go and see it. Who takes care of the nightmares? Why do teenagers behave so badly? Maybe we should set some standards, take some responsibility to guide our children, be informed, boycott tasteless movies and send them to good ,arty , romantic, thrilling, even scary entertainment, but made with enough integrity to ensure our children maintain a positive outlook. As for adults,well they are adults and can make their own poor choices. So box office figures are NO indication of a movie’s quality!

  • Gerry

    Wolf Creek was an incredibly good horror film. It was not made to be an art house film, as is the follow-up. The film is also not made for 15 year olds… Any genre of film making that can find an audience, either domestically, or internationally, should be welcomed by the industry – as in the long term, the future of the industry is only guaranteed if there is a commercial return on product made here. It might be nice and feel good to produce art house films; but in the end, if they are not able to return on the investment in making them, the domestic film industry is doomed. Margaret and David are entitled to their opinion, but do are the film-going public… Who, like it or not, are infinitely more important than any critic, to the future of our industry …