‘Ocean’s 8.’

Warner Bros/Village Roadshow’s female-driven caper Ocean’s 8 smashed opening records for the franchise in Australia and the US last weekend while horror/thriller fans flocked to the Toni Collette starrer Hereditary.

Meanwhile Universal and Amblin Entertainment launched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 48 international markets, scoring $US150.1 million, which points to massive debuts here and in the US on June 21.

Indian import Kaala opened strongly while Roger Michell’s feature documentary Tea with the Dames began reasonably well and is expected to benefit from word-of-mouth and US drama Kodachrome was under-exposed.

Simon Baker’s Breath collected $210,000 in its sixth weekend, advancing to $4.16 million, a very good result for Roadshow.

The top 20 titles harvested $14.7 million from Thursday-Sunday, up by 25 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero, and $3.4 million on the Queen’s Birthday holiday.

Starring Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling, director Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8 captured $5.5 million in four days in Oz ($7.1 million with Monday added) and $US41.6 million in three days in the US.

That shaded the franchise’s previous best debut, the original Ocean’s Eleven which took $5.4 million in its first weekend in January 2002 (which would be a lot more adjusted for inflation).

Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close tells IF: “The great opening for Ocean’s 8 proves again that content for female audiences can attract solid audience numbers and generate box office dollars.”

Fox/Marvel’s Deadpool 2 ranked second, drumming up $2.7 million in its fourth weekend, as it climbed to $33.2 million. The superhero action/comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin has raked in more than $US655 million worldwide, with international’s $376.6 million tracking well ahead of domestic’s $279.1 million.

Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story topped $15 million after earning $2.6 million in its third orbit, Australia ranking as the fourth biggest market outside the US behind the UK’s $21.8 million, China’s soft $16.3 million and Germany’s $12 million (all US dollars). The Star Wars origin story has grossed $313.4 million worldwide, a disappointing result for Disney/Lucasfilm.

Writer-director Ari Aster’s feature debut Hereditary made a splash at the Sundance festival, generating positive reviews which paid off as the horror/thriller fetched $1.4 million on 214 screens for StudioCanal.

The saga of a family whose life begins to unravel after the death of their reclusive grandmother, which stars Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne and Ann Dowd, rang up $13.5 million in the US, a company record for distributor A24, which co-financed the film with Palmstar.

Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly said the opening shows the thriller is appealing to sophisticated fans of genre cinema, telling IF: “Exit responses are very positive and we expect the film to play a very long season as word-of-mouth spreads and awards buzz grows for Collette’s performance.”

Disney/Marvel’s blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War raced to $61.2 million after earning $847,000 in its seventh outing. The superhero adventure directed by Anthony and Joe Russo will hit $2 billion worldwide this week, including $1.34 billion internationally, the third biggest of all time, and $655 million in the US.

Roger Michell’s Tea with the Dames, which sees Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith reminisce on their careers and friendships that span more than 50 years, generated $565,000 including previews for Transmission Films.

Tamil star Rajinikanth plays a powerful don with a kind and caring heart who lives in the slums of Mumbai in Pa Ranjith’s Kaala. The drama rustled up $415,000 on 47 screens for MKS Retail while the Hindi version contributed $27,000 on 14 for Mind Blowing Films.

Catalan writer-director Isabel Coixet’s drama The Bookshop fetched $368,000 in its third chapter, banking a decent $1.86 million for Transmission.

Duck Duck Goose, an animated family comedy directed by Christopher Jenkins, drew $342,000 in its third weekend, making a mediocre $828,000 for Roadshow.

Life of the Party, the Warner Bros. comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, is sporting sturdy legs, reaching $5.37 million after pocketing $300,000 in its fifth weekend.

Icon launched Mark Raso’s Kodachrome, which stars Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis as a troubled father and son, on 62 screens, taking $64,000 with previews.  Netflix acquired the pic at last year’s Toronto festival.

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