‘Top End Wedding.’
Pokémon fans flocked to the franchise’s second movie in 20 years last weekend but even more people were keen to see Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame, which reigned again in its third frame.
Meanwhile word-of-mouth is paying off for Universal’s Top End Wedding, which eased by just 22 per cent in its second weekend.
Universal’s comedy The Hustle, a female reboot of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, over-indexed its US opening, probably due to co-star Rebel Wilson.
Roadshow’s Poms, an ensemble comedy about seniors in a retirement home who form a cheer-leading squad, had little to cheer about, unwisely scheduled against The Hustle.
A passion project for Kenneth Branagh, Sony’s Shakespearean drama All is True had a respectable debut on limited screens. Of the two new Indian releases, Maharshi proved far more appealing than Student Of The Year 2.
The top 20 titles generated $16.5 million, down 9 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero, as female-skewed titles benefited from Mother’s Day trading.
Avengers: Endgame grabbed $5.4 million, falling by 60 per cent, propelling the total to $74.3 million. That’s a phenomenal tally but some exhibitors doubt it will have the legs to catch Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ $94 million, which had the advantage of Christmas playing time.
The superhero action adventure directed by the Russo brothers has amassed $US2.486 billion globally, ranking as the second biggest title of all time behind only Avatar’s $2.788 billion.
Domestically the movie produced by Kevin Feige and scripted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely has hauled in $724 million, eclipsing Avengers: Infinity War’s $679 million and Black Panther’s $700 million.
Internationally it stands as the #2 release in history with an estimated $1.762 billion, trailing Avatar’s $2.028 billion, led by China’s extraordinary $600 million, the third biggest release ever in that market behind Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth.
Legendary Entertainment/Warner Bros’ live action-hybrid Pokémon Detective Pikachu rang up $5 million on 412 screens, which compares well with the estimated $58 million US debut for the Rob Letterman-directed fantasy/mystery which stars Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton and Ken Watanabe.
Worldwide, the weekend haul was $161 million, which raised the cumulative total to $170.4 million including Japan’s $12.9 million in 10 days.
Directed by Chris Addison, The Hustle stole $2.2 million on 260 and $2.6 million with previews, on a par with How to Be Single and The Boss and above Game Night, About Time and Rough Night. The MGM-financed comedy starring Anna Hathaway and Wilson (also one of the producers) bagged $13.5 million in the US.
Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding scored $866,000, lifting the total to $3 million for the romantic comedy starring Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson and Shari Sebbens.
Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell attended a screening at his Port Macquarie cinema yesterday, observing: “It certainly resonated on Mother’s Day. The audience reaction was very good with lots of support for seeing Indigenous culture in a light-hearted way on the big screen.”
Dell expects a long run for the Goalpost production co-written by Tapsell and Joshua Tyler and believes it should reach at least $6 million, and possibly $7 million.
Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close thinks $7 million is achievable, noting: “I had hoped for more but Avengers: Endgame has cast a long shadow at the box office and it could well hit the heights of Star Wars: The Force Awakens; however strong competition this week from John Wick Chapter 3 and then Rocketman on May 30 may hinder its chances.”
Directed by Zara Hayes, Poms has an appealing cast of senior citizens including Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier, Celia Weston and Rhea Perlman. So the concept evidently held little appeal, judging by the $787,000 debut and $837,000 including previews. The film took a dismal $5.1 million in the US. One saving grace: the budget for the eOne production was a reported $10 million.
Word-of-mouth is lousy for Jordan Levine’s Long Shot, the hysterically unfunny comedy starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, which tumbled by 48 per cent to $426,000 in its second weekend, making $1.5 million thus far for Studiocanal.
Maharshi (Great Sage), a Telugu action drama about a rich man who returns to his homeland where he becomes the champion of downtrodden farmers, directed by Vamsi Paidipally, drummed up $282,000 on 41 screens for Southern Star.
Universal’s alternate content release Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun advanced to $712,000 after pocketing $153,000 in its second weekend..
Directed by Punit Malhotra and starring Tiger Shroff, Alia Bhatt and newcomers Tara Sutaria and Ananya Panday, the Student of the Year sequel took a mediocre $136,000 on 32 screens for Mind Blowing Films, no surprise given the lowly Indian opening.
Branagh directs and stars in All is True, a poignant look at Shakespeare’s final years after his beloved Globe Theatre burned to the ground in 1613, scripted by Ben Elton. The drama co-starring Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Kathryn Wilder, Lydia Wilson and Hadley Fraser fetched $128,000 on 32 screens including sneaks, resonating particularly well at Cinema Nova.
“All Is True drew solid crowds due to an appealing cast and screenwriter, underscoring that Dame Judi Dench continues to be one of the most popular stars among Australian audiences,” Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly tells IF. “The season should play for some time as older audiences pick up on the film’s appeal.”