Chris Hemsworth is a proven crowd-magnet in the Thor and Avengers movies but his latest effort, 12 Strong, launched in Australia last weekend with less than heroic numbers.
There were sizable post-Oscar bumps for The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but Australian coming-of-age saga Going for Gold had nothing to cheer about.
Eli Roth’s Death Wish turns out to be another reboot which no one needs or wants while true-life UK seafaring drama The Mercy drowned.
The top 20 titles collectively clocked $11.8 million, down 13 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero.
Reigning for the fourth consecutive weekend, director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther flew to $32.7 million after scoring $3.2 million, falling by a moderate 29 per cent.
The Marvel/Disney superhero adventure‘s global haul topped $US1 billion, with a domestic tally of $562 million, trailing Marvel’s The Avengers’ $623 million. The international total raced to $517 million, surpassing Captain America: Winter Soldier, The Dark Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
After a mediocre debut, Fox’s Red Sparrow held reasonably well, taking $2 million, declining by 28 per cent. The Francis Lawrence-directed spy thriller, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Jeremy Irons, advanced to $5.7 million.
Game Night, the Warner Bros. comedy starring Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Kyle Chandler, reached $5.1 million after earning $946,000 in its third weekend, down 26 per cent.
Based on a true story and directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, 12 Strong follows a US Special Forces team led by Captain Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth) who are sent to Afghanistan after 9/11. Their mission is to convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Michael Shannon and Michael Pena co-star.
Australian audiences seemed unmoved judging by the $923,000 debut at 214 cinemas. That jingoistic theme resonated better in the US where the film rang up $15.8 million in its first weekend in January and ended up with $45.2 million.
Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly observes: “The wartime ‘red state’ appeal of 12 Strong was always going to see the film struggle locally despite the presence of the charismatic Hemsworth and an impressive supporting cast; he has enormous pull in a Marvel spectacular but as we have seen with the box office disappointment of the FX-heavy drama In The Heart Of The Sea that reliability has not yet transitioned to non-franchise pictures.”
Mature audiences are appreciating Richard Loncraine’s UK romantic comedy-drama Finding Your Feet, which fetched $604,000 in its third outing, easing by 20 per cent. The eOne release starring Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and Joanna Lumley waltzed along to $3.5 million.
Showing amazing longevity, Fox’s The Greatest Showman ascended to $32.3 million after whistling up $558,000 in its 11th weekend. The musical drama directed by Aussie Michael Gracey has pocketed $167.4 million in the US and $221.2 million internationally.
Fox widened the release of The Shape of Water from 124 to 212 screens to cash in on the four Academy Awards, generating $389,000 in its eighth weekend, which brings the total to $4 million. Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance/thriller has drummed up a solid but not spectacular $61 million in the US and $87.4 million in the rest of the world.
Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri topped $10.9 million after collecting $331,000 in its 10th outing for Fox, rising by 20 per cent with the benefit of nine more screens.
Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed is running out of juice, grossing $238,000 in its fifth weekend to reach $14 million.
Monster Family, a British-German CGI horror comedy directed by Holger Tappe has a stellar voice cast in Emily Watson, Nick Frost, Jessica Brown Findlay, Celia Imrie, Catherine Tate and Jason Isaacs. All wasted as the Roadshow release bombed, drawing $229,000 at 206 locations with previews.
Rialto launched Death Wish, the MGM/Eli Roth remake of Charles Bronson’s 1974 cult classic starring Bruce Willis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Elisabeth Shue, Dean Norris, and Kimberly Elise, on 123 screens, bringing in a feeble $216,000. That’s no surprise given the paltry US take of $23.8 million in 10 days.
Colin Firth plays amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst who sets out to win the prize for fastest solo voyage around the world in director James Marsh’s The Mercy. Firth’s usually sure BO touch is missing here as the StudioCanal release mustered $99,000 at 59 screens including previews.
Set in the world of cheerleading, gymnastics and dance, director Clay Glen’s Going for Gold stars Disney Channel’s Kelli Berglund as Emma, an American teen who moves to Australia with her widowed Air Force father. At her new high school she befriends Hannah (Emily Morris) and they join forces to form a mixed-gender cheerleading squad.
The premise sounds OK but the Pinnacle release took just $58,000 on 130 screens. Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell pointed to the dire reviews and lack of marketing/publicity, noting: “I really want to support Australian films, particularly family films, but they are a hard sell if they have a low profile. The date was probably done to get screens in a slow week for product and to avoid school holidays when there is lots of competing product. Not a bad idea if the quality was there.”