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.

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7 Comments

  1. You would have thought that after Save Your Legs people would realise that a romantic comedy that brought together cricket and India was not going to sell. It probably ticketed some funding boxes though.

  2. I believe that it’s not the classification ratings that is the problem but the ticket price at major cinema chains like Event cinemas. Why would I pay $16 for a single ticket when I can fortunately get one for $8 at Cineplex across the (Brisbane) river. Unfortunately Cineplex doesn’t have as many venues as Event does. I find it’s an insult to audiences who have to pay this much to see something that intrigues them.

  3. Anyone who is interested in the story in The Walk will already have seen the superior documentary Man On Wire from just a few years ago. UnIndian sounds terrible (see Billy C’s comments above) – not sure which territories they are expecting it to work in.

  4. Regardless of any merit, three of those releases suffered from truly terrible actual titles. Why in the world is a movie about the Kray brothers called LEGEND? If it was called THE KRAY BROTHERS I bet it would’ve made double the money…

  5. I agree with Phillip Paton…cost is such a big thing – but it’s very late to do anything about it. Exhibitors and distributors may have in effect trained audiences out of going to the movies. If that’s the case just dropping prices may not encourage them back as in the interim they’ve managed to find other (cheaper) things to do. The danger may be that exhibs/distribs may start filling the gap with a higher turn-over of films which basically just means more 2nd rate product OR perhaps a new kind of programming type might emerge – now that would be good!

  6. These results are no surprise. It happens every year at this time as the industry is at the QLD Movie Convention. Nobody releases a big film when they are all out of their offices promoting the upcoming years slate.

  7. Did you see the weather last weekend? Bloody marvelous. And when I did head indoors to the cinema it was for Antenna Film Festival. If the big distributors want to whine about how few millions they rolled in over two days then have they thought about appealing to the Aussie market and lowering the flaming ticket price? Strewth!

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