Aussie BO: Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’ notches his biggest opening

19 August, 2019 by Don Groves

‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.’

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood posted the biggest debut of his career in Australia last weekend, emulating its US success.

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The 1969-set drama/thriller starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie and Damon Herriman opened 68 per cent bigger than his previous best effort Django Unchained in 2012.

The downside: The Sony Pictures release sucked a lot of air from the second weekends of Universal’s Palm Beach and Transmission Films’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan.

The top 20 titles raked in $14.4 million, 3 per cent up on the previous frame, according to Numero. Mind Blowing Films’ Bollywood film Mission Mangal and Magnum Films’ Hong Kong thriller Line Walker 2 had buoyant launches while Universal’s A Dog’s Journey opened with neither bark nor bite, mirroring its US fate.

The lurid tale of a TV actor (DiCaprio) who wants to break into films and his stuntman/sidekick (Pitt), Hollywood rang up $6.7 million on 624 screens, outgunning the US debut of $41.1 million.

The film featuring Robbie as Sharon Tate and Herriman as Charles Manson has pocketed $114.3 million after four weekends in the US and $66.2 million in the rest of the world after launching in 46 overseas markets last weekend, No. 1 in 28.

The Australian bow eclipsed Django Unchained, which took $3.8 million in its first weekend and finished with $16 million, and Inglorious Basterds, which did $3 million/$13.8 million.

Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach dropped by 40 per cent to $673,000 and the ensemble dramedy starring Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Greta Scacchi, Richard E Grant, Jacqueline McKenzie, Claire van der Boom, Aaron Jeffery, Heather Mitchell and Matilda Brown has banked $2.5 million.

However Palm Beach eased by just 15 per cent at Cinema Nova, prompting general manager Kristian Connelly to observe: “That suggests word-of-mouth among the target audience is positive.”

Kriv Stenders’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan declined by 42 per cent, capturing $451,000, resonating more strongly in rural and regional locations than in the capitals, which brings the total to $1.57 million.

Wallis Cinemas’ programming manager Sasha Close says: “Danger Close isn’t performing as well as expected, despite strong WOM and good reviews. I strongly suspect the MA rating affected the box office, given the main demographic we are seeing is over 50s, equally split between male and female.”

Connelly theorizes that Australia’s wartime past has never really resonated with urban audiences, pointing to Jeremy Sims’ Beneath Hill 60, which earned most of its business in rural venues, and Alister Grierson’s Kokoda, which did not connect with mainstream cinemagoers.

Meanwhile Disney’s The Lion King now ranks as the ninth biggest blockbuster of all time globally, banking $1.435 billion. Here, the Jon Favreau-directed musical fantasy adventure stands at $58.3 million after collecting $2.2 million in its fifth outing.

Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw scored $1.7 million in its third, advancing to $15.5 million. The action thriller starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham has amassed $437 million worldwide, with international’s $303.3 million dwarfing domestic’s $133.7 million.

The sequel to the 2017 hit A Dog’s Purpose directed by Gail Mancuso, A Dog’s Journey fetched $631,000, no surprise considering the family film featuring Josh Gad, Dennis Quaid, Marg Helgenberger, Betty Gilpin and Kathryn Prescott ran out of puff after making $22.5 million in the US.

The Nisha Ganatra-directed comedy Late Night, created by and starring Mindy Kaling, plunged by 58 per cent to $320,000 after an uninspiring debut, delivering $1.6 million for Roadshow.

Directed by Jagan Shakti and starring Akshay Kumar, Mission Mangal, a drama loosely based on the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation who took part in India’s first interplanetary expedition to Mars, blasted off with $309,000 on 50 screens.

Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home zoomed past Skyfall to rank as the studio’s biggest film ever worldwide, grossing $1.1 billion. In Australia the Jon Watts-directed sequel cruised to $37 million after bagging $175,000 in its seventh frame.

Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 drew $173,000 in its ninth, climbing to $41.1 million as the worldwide tally topped $1 billion. That’s the Walt Disney Studios’ fifth billion dollar release this year and the eighth biggest animated title of all time.

Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy directed by Jazz Boon, which sees three cops team up to track down an international terrorist syndicate that kidnaps children, grabbed $106,000 including previews on just 15 screens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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