Bloodbath at Australian cinemas

18 October, 2015 by Don Groves

On Friday one Australian distributor looked at the abysmal opening day figures for four new films and muttered, “It’s a bloodbath.”

Alas the carnage continued over the weekend as Crimson Peak, Legend, The Walk and UnINDIAN failed to resonate with cinemagoers.


The huge publicity and marketing campaign for UnINDIAN did not pay off as the cross-cultural romantic comedy starring Brett Lee and Tannishtha Chatterjee generated $110,000 on 65 screens.

Producer-director Anupam Sharma tells IF, “The box-office could have been better but we still have the ancillary revenues and the rest of the world to come.

“We made a $4.5 million independent film which was released on more than 60 screens, so we got 10/10 for everything we could control. Our distributor Friends India Entertaainment (sic) is scratching his head.”

Still, with the producer offset and investment from Screen Australia, Destination NSW, Screen NSW and other sponsors, Sharma is confident his investors will recoup from the international sales. The agent, Yellow Affair, is negotiating deals which will continue at the American Film Market.

Mirroring its $US13.1 million US debut, Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic romance Crimson Peak, which stars Tom Hiddleston, Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain, took a measly $838,000 on 199 screens.

Brian Helgeland’s crime thriller Legend has raked in more than £17.6 million ($37.4 million) in the UK but Aussies were not much interested in the saga starring Tom Hardy as the psychopathic London twins Reggie and Ron Kray, judging by the $733,000 entry on 194 screens.

Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk came a cropper in the US so the Australian opening of $524,000 on 196 screens and $624,000 with previews is no shock for the 3D film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley.

Surveying the weekend results, Wallis Cinemas program manager Bob Parr tells IF it was a “devastating opening for all newcomers.” Parr adds, “The Walk in particular is a good film but not many took it. With Legend and Crimson Peak perhaps it is the MA15+ problem again. Whilst I never thought UnINDIAN would be big, I thought it ticked many boxes, especially with the Indian population.”

Receipts overall dropped by 19 per cent to $9.8 million, according to Rentrak's estimates. Exhibitors were thankful for Ridley Scott’s The Martian, which grabbed $3.1 million in its third frame (down just 30 per cent), lifting its haul to $17.8 million.

Nancy Meyers’ The Intern was the only other title to crack $1 million, fetching $1.1 million in its third outing (easing by 25 per cent) and scoring $6.5 million thus far.

In their second weekends Black Mass plunged by 48 per cent to $593,000, reaching $2.1 million, while Miss You Already dropped by 28 per cent to $417,000, tallying nearly $1.3 million, both under-performing.

The good news for local films continues as Oddball is a cinch to surpass $10 million after banking $325,000 in its fifth frame, advancing to $9.7 million.

The only opener to make serious money was Chinese comedy Goodbye Mr. Loser, distributed by ChinaLion. The tale of a middle-aged nobody, who passes out drunk and dreams of traveling back in time to pursue the girl that got away, conjured up $412,000 on just 11 screens, including previews, after amassing a phenomenal $US142 million in its first 12 days in China.

We should all be such losers.