‘Downton Abbey’ (Photo: Universal Pictures).
It is a rare feat to translate a six season network TV hit into box office bankability but Downton Abbey loyalists have swarmed to the occasion, with the Universal Pictures film adaptation steam-training to the top of the box office, attracting $3.2 million in its opening last weekend across 502 screens.
Sony’s The Angry Birds Movie 2 also bowed over the weekend, clinching third spot and $1.5 million in revenue, with the Andy Muschietti directed It Chapter Two nestled in at number two.
Warner Bros’ IT sequel has helped to resuscitate Australian BO fortunes, having already amassed $11 million in just two weeks. The horror brought in $3.2 million over the weekend, boasting the highest screen average for any film at $8,684.
Overall, the top 20 titles rung up $10.7 million over the weekend, down 2 per cent on last week, according to the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia (MPDAA).
Sophie Hyde’s Animals opened with a modest release across 12 locations, attracting $15,000. The production has enjoyed strong critical praise, following Hyde’s successful recent run across TV with last year’s ABC comedy F*cking Adelaide and the recent release of SBS’s The Hunting, in addition to executive producing Maya Newell’s documentary In My Blood it Runs.
Animals has taken $42,000 from its recent festival circuit run and distributor Bonsai Films anticipates that it will find its niche, having already performed well with inner city audiences.
“Animals has enjoyed a really good campaign and has been a very well received film by press and festival audiences. There has been a lot of gravitas around the exceptional work of Sophie Hyde who is on a roll and gaining a lot of support right now. We anticipate that the film carries on screening a little longer and get to the audience it deserves,” said Bonsai Films owner and principal Jonathan Page.
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood eased by 41 per cent, with takings of $821,136. The Sony title has slipped to fourth spot after five weeks, having grossed $19.6 million to date.
Roadshow’s Fallen franchise thriller, Angel has Fallen, slipped to fifth with takings of $375,994, bringing its cume to $5.4 million.
Ten weeks in and Disney’s The Lion King has taken a whopping $63 million, and remains in six position at the box office, while Lulu Wang’s Chinese-American dramedy, The Farewell, distributed by Roadshow, sits at seventh, having taken $847,700 in two weeks.
Two Indian language films were released last weekend heading straight to the top ten. Bollywood comedy Dream Girl, starring Ayushmann Khurrana, found a loyal audience, heading to number eight and attracting $194,000 in revenue. Action comedy Gang Leader, written & directed by Vikram Kumar, snuck in at number ten over the weekend grossing $105,000.
The latest instalment of Universal’s Fast & The Furious franchise, Hobbs and Shaw, sits at number nine, having ticked over $18.5 million to date.
Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach continues to draw an audience for Universal, having amassed $4.3 million after six weeks on screen; it remains the highest grossing Australian film in cinemas at present.
In other Australian titles, Madman’s The Australian Dream is clocking closer to the $1 million mark, having made $925,148 in four weeks, while for Transmission, Jennifer Kent’s gothic drama The Nightingale has taken $402,681 across three orbits and Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan $2.7 million across six. The Kim Farrant-directed and Luke Davies-written Angel of Mine has brought in $60,372 in two weeks of limited release for R&R Films.