BO Report: Mel Gibson continues to win back fans with ‘Daddy’s Home 2’

27 November, 2017 by Don Groves

‘Daddy’s Home 2’. (Photo credit: Claire Folger; © 2017 Paramount Pictures. All rights reserved)

When Daddy’s Home 2 opened strongly in the US several weeks ago, one prominent media outlet opined the figures showed not only that Mel Gibson is still bankable, but that there has been a positive change in how he is perceived.


Vanity Fair surmised that “both Hollywood and the public are willing to welcome the actor back into the fold after a period of shunning that began shortly after his 2006 D.U.I. arrest and continued largely until the release of last year’s Hacksaw Ridge.”

That may well be a valid observation in the US, but in Australia it is more likely that moviegoers are past caring about Gibson’s transgressions and will turn up when they think they will get their money’s worth.

The Daddy’s Home sequel directed and co-written by Sean Anders had a lively debut in Oz but could not match the firepower of Justice League in its second weekend.

The top 20 titles raked in $10.5 million last weekend, down 37 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Among the other new releases, Goodbye Christopher Robin, the US-set, Sydney shot horror/comedy Better Watch Out and historical drama Tulip Fever misfired, while The Teacher fared OK after making tidy sums at the Sydney and Melbourne festivals.

Priscilla Cameron’s The Butterfly Tree had a limited theatrical release after premiering at MIFF. Meanwhile Ben Elton’s romantic comedy Three Summers has taken a solid $731,000 after four weekends for Transmission Films.

Warner Bros’ Justice League collared $3.3 million at 303 locations, plunging by 59 per cent, which indicates word-of-mouth is mixed at best. The superhero adventure starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher ascended to $13.3 million.

Co-directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon, the film has amassed an estimated $US171.5 million in the US and $309.8 million in the rest of the world, so it may be tough to reach break-even given the reported $300 million budget.

Released by Paramount, Daddy’s Home 2 raked in $2.3 million at 288 cinemas and $4.2 million including previews. The slapstick comedy co-starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and John Lithgow has hauled in $72.6 million in 17 days in the US after earning $29.6 million in its opening weekend. That’s a return to form for Gibson as an actor after the little-seen 2016 action drama Blood Father and Patrick Hughes’ 2014 romp The Expendables 3, which bombed in the US but whose ensemble cast, including Mel, helped propel its worldwide total to $214.6 million.

Next year could well see Gibson’s fortunes rising further with Dragged Across Concrete, a crime thriller in which he co-stars with Vince Vaughn, Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level and a possible Lethal Weapon reboot with Danny Glover.

Kenneth Branagh’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express chugged along to $10.7 million after nabbing $1.6 million in its third outing at 314 cinemas for Fox.

Disney’s blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok advanced to $31.3 million after collecting $1.2 million in its fifth at 276.  The Marvel superhero adventure directed by Taika Waititi has pocketed $277.4 million in the US and a phenomenal $790 million globally.

Writer-director Jon Lucas’ raunchy comedy Bad Moms 2 topped $9 million after earning $530,000 in its third weekend at 271 for Roadshow.

Goodbye Christopher Robin, the biopic of Winnie the Pooh creator A. A. Milne, which stars Domhnall Gleeson as Milne, Margot Robbie as his’s wife Daphne and Will Tilston as their son, fetched $385,000 at 201 and $452,000 with previews. That’s no surprise as the Simon Curtis-directed film was released in the US last month by Fox Searchlight and petered out with less than $1.7 million.

Peter and Michael Spierig’s Saw reboot Jigsaw staggered along to $2.5 million after fetching $89,000 in its fourth chapter at 111 for Studiocanal.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English film, a black comedy starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, minted $84,000 in its second weekend on just 20 screens, off 33 per cent, banking a tidy $281,000 thus far for Madman Entertainment.

Czech director Jan Hrebejk’s drama-comedy The Teacher booked $77,000 on 16 screens and $203,000 including festival screenings for Palace.

Canadian-Australian director Chris Peckover’s Better Watch Out, formerly Safe Neighbourhood, a home invasion saga starring Levi Miller, Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge, scared up just $7,000 on 17 screens for Rialto.

Vendetta Films launched The Butterfly Tree on just six screens, generating $2,100. However, the fantasy drama starring Melissa George, Ewen Leslie, Ed Oxenbould and Sophie Lowe has banked $73,000 including previews and the MIFF screenings.

The title is now available to book via Fan Force and producer Bridget Callow-Wright tells IF there will be pop-up screenings in late January/February.

Director Justin Chadwick’s Tulip Fever opened on September 1 in the US via The Weinstein Company (before that brand became highly toxic) and ended up with a blooming awful $2.4 million. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, the romantic drama boasts as ace writer in Tom Stoppard and an appealing cast led by Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Christoph Waltz, Holliday Grainger, Jack O’Connell, Zach Galifianakis, Judi Dench, Tom Hollander and Cara Delevingne. But none of that counted for anything, as the Roadshow release took $35,000 on 21 screens and $78,000 with festival screenings.