‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (Photo credit: 20th Century Fox).
Freddie Mercury gave his final live performance as the front man of Queen in England in 1986 so it’s clear the Bohemian Rhapsody movie is drawing a lot of moviegoers who either were born after that or were not huge fans of the band.
The 20th Century Fox biopic registered the seventh biggest opening of the year in Oz, 10 per cent ahead of the debut of A Star is Born, which powered through its third weekend.
Meanwhile action-thriller Hunter Killer is another dud in Gerard Butler’s faltering career and Charming, a US animated musical comedy, did not live up to its title.
US audiences shunned Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore’s documentary on how Donald Trump ascended to President, so it’s no surprise that Aussies stayed away as the Madman Entertainment release took $36,000 on 17 screens including advance screenings.
“With the US mid-terms in the headlines, not to mention recent ructions in Canberra and an imminent Victorian state election, Australian audiences appear to be weary of politics in general with Michael Moore’s documentary failing to hit the heady heights of Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11,” says Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly.
“While the film performed respectably among Cinema Nova’s progressive audience, across the board escapism is proving far more appealing than brutal reality.”
Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan and Ed Oxenbould, had a limited release via Roadshow, fetching $15,000 on seven screens and $47,000 with festival screenings.
The top 20 titles harvested $15.4 million, up 12 per cent on the prior weekend according to Numero, thanks primarily to Bohemian Rhapsody which scored $6.7 million on 510 screens and $7.7 million including previews.
Wallis Cinemas’ consultant Bob Parr says the stellar opening in the face of mostly negative reviews “shows that many critics know nothing; they did the same to The Greatest Showman. Many cinemagoers are saying they are coming again.”
The film starring Rami Malek (TV’s Mr Robot) as Mercury rang up $51 million in the US and $72.5 million in the rest of the world. That’s a terrific start following the previous weekend’s $13 million UK launch considering director Bryan Singer was fired a year ago and Dexter Fletcher stepped in to finish the production, which cost a reported $55 million.
Warner Bros’ A Star is Born whistled up $3.6 million, easing by just 27 per cent, hoisting the total to $19.7 million. The musical drama directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, co-starring Lady Gaga, has hauled in $165.6 million after its fourth weekend in the US and $293.9 million worldwide.
David Gordon Green’s Halloween fell by a reasonable 53 per cent to $1.3 million after its impressive first weekend, generating $5.1 million thus far for Universal. The slasher movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis has pocketed $150.4 million in the US and $229.6 million worldwide, a fabulous return on a $10 million budget.
Sony’s Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween drew $697,000 in its second outing, down 33 per cent, advancing to $2.9 million.
Gerard Butler plays the commander of a US submarine who is ordered to investigate the disappearance of a fellow sub which was shadowing a Russian sub in the Arctic in Hunter Killer. Audiences evidently responded ‘Who cares?’, judging by the $516,000 opening on 198 screens for Roadshow.
In the US the film directed by Donovan Marsh has collected a lousy $12.9 million after its second weekend. Add that to Butler’s misfires Den of Thieves, A Family Man and London Has Fallen.
Marvel superhero adventure Venom has legged its way to $21.1 million for Sony after taking $506,000 in its fifth frame. The Ruben Fleischer-directed movie has amassed $198.6 million in the US and $541.5 million globally.
Universal’s First Man is running out of gas after taking $249,000 in its fourth weekend and $5.5 million thus far for Universal here and $42 million in the US.
A consistent performer, Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black climbed to $11.3 million after earning $210,000 in its seventh for Sony.
Directed and written by Ross Venokur with a voice cast featuring Demi Lovato, Wilmer Valderrama, Sia, Ashley Tisdale, G.E.M. and Avril Lavigne, Charming has not found a US distributor so the Australian opening of $125,000 on 170 screens for Roadshow is no shock.
Universal’s Johnny English Strikes Again reached $13.1 million after making $83,000 in its seventh outing. The spy adventure comedy directed by David Kerr has mustered $118 million internationally so the lowly US return of $3.3 million doesn’t matter.