Australian 3D thriller Sanctum has posted a moderate opening at the local box office, taking $1.6 million.

Despite less-than-favourable reviews, the Universal film, supported by Hollywood big-player James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, Terminator, Aliens), had a screen average of $6329, after showing on 252 screens.

In the US, the Alister Grierson (Kokoda) film grossed more than $US9.2 million from 2787 theatres.

The result ranks Sanctum as the ninth highest grossing Australian film in the US over the past decade and the 29th of all time. However, expectations were higher given the involvement of executive producer James Cameron, who popularised 3D with the success of Avatar.

The $30 million film, which stars Richard Roxburgh and Ioan Gruffudd, is a father-son rite-of-passage tale about a group of cave divers who become trapped with their team while exploring the South Pacific’s Esa’ala caves.

Two other films with strong Australian involvement remain in the US top 10. The King's Speech, produced by Australia's Emile Sherman and starring Geoffrey Rush, grossed another $US8.3 million and has now taken $US84.1 million in the US alone.

Down Under, the Tom Hooper film – now in its seventh week – is still getting attention, making an impressive $1.5 million from 202 screens.

Meanwhile, supernatural thriller The Rite, written by Australia's Michael Petroni, grossed another $US5.5 million and has now taken $US23.6 million at the US box office in total.

In Australia, controversial film Black Swan stayed at the top of the box office, raking in another $1.8 million – only 14 per cent down on the previous opening weekend, while Paramount's True Grit made another $1.5 million in its second week.

Source: MPDAA

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