BO Report: Old and new fans of The Beatles turn out for ‘Yesterday’

01 July, 2019 by Don Groves


Universal/Working Title’s The Beatles-inspired musical romantic fantasy Yesterday charmed audiences in Australia last weekend, outperforming the US and UK debuts.


The Danny Boyle-directed film written by Love Actually’s Richard Curtis entered Oz in second place behind the second frame of Disney/Pixar’s blockbuster Toy Story 4.

Starring Himesh Patel as a struggling songwriter who awakes after an accident in a parallel universe where no one had heard of the band and rips off their songs to propel himself to stardom, Yesterday rang up $3.4 million on 281 screens and $3.6 million with previews and the Sydney Film Festival screening.

That ranks as the biggest opening weekend for a Danny Boyle film and is in line with Bridget Jones’s Baby, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Intern and La La Land. Pro-rata, that eclipsed the estimated $US17 million opening in the US and was well up on the UK’s $US2.8 million for the film featuring Lily Collins, Ed Sheeran and Joel Fry.

“An excellent marketing campaign from Universal coupled with Australia’s love of The Beatles ensured a strong opening,” Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close tells IF. “With a market full of quality family films and horror fare, Yesterday is the perfect alternative for audiences seeking fun, enjoyable entertainment at the cinema.”

Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly says Boyle’s film performed above expectations, “attracting an older demographic drawn by a terrific pitch and the promise of The Beatles nostalgia. Australia’s love affair with music-related features continues following Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, setting the stage for this week’s release of Mystify: Michael Hutchence.”

Meanwhile Damon Gameau’s 2040 drummed up $48,000 in its sixth outing for Madman Entertainment, now on 41 screens, boosting the total to $1.07 million. The feature doc is far from done, with 25-plus locations booked in the coming weeks and numerous group bookings.

The top 20 titles harvested $19.1 million, up 2.5 per cent on the prior weekend according to Numero, also buoyed by sturdy debuts for Warner Bros/New Line’s Annabelle Comes Home and Madman’s Parasite.

Directed by Josh Cooley, Toy Story 4 scored $6.4 million, easing by just 21 per cent, rocketing to $16.9 million. The comedy voiced by Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Tony Hale, Annie Potts, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele and Keanu Reeves has generated $236.9 million in 10 days in the US, tracking 4 per cent ahead of Toy Story 3, which ended up with $415 million. The international bounty is $259.6 million and the global cume is $496.5 million.

The directing debut of Gary Dauberman, who wrote the first Annabelle and adapted the Stephen King’s It for the screen, Annabelle Comes Home scared up $1.93 million. That’s in line with the three-day US take of $20.3 million for the James Wan-produced horror movie starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace and Madison Iseman. The US tally is $31.2 million since the Wednesday premiere.

Universal/Illumination’s The Secret Life of Pets 2 raced along to $8 million after fetching $1.5 million in its second weekend. The animated adventure comedy directed by Chris Renaud and co-directed by Jonathan del Val has collected a mediocre $131.2 million in the US and $223 million worldwide, with no chance of catching the original film’s $507 million.

Disney’s Aladdin ascended to $30.8 million after pocketing $1.15 million in its sixth orbit. The Guy Ritchie-directed musical fantasy has amassed $305.9 million in the US and $568.3 million in the rest of the world for a global tally of $874.2 million.

Sony’s under-achiever Men in Black: International garnered $1.1 million in its third to reach $8.3 million. The F. Gary Gray-directed sci-fi comedy has taken a dismal $65 million in the US and $219 million worldwide.

Paramount’s crowd-pleaser Rocketman advanced to $17.9 million after making $958,000 in its fifth, outshining the US’s $84.1 million. The Dexter Fletcher-directed biopic has whistled up $165.5 million globally.

Studiocanal’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum topped $15 million after scoring $355,000 in its sixth. Directed by Chad Stahelski, the thriller has bagged $161.3 million in the US and $142.3 million in the rest of the world.

Disney re-issued Avengers: Endgame in hopes of beating Avatar‘s all-time global box office record of $2.79 billion. The Russo brothers’ superhero adventure collected $333,000 on 96 screens here, elevating the total to $83.8 million. However it might be a stretch to bridge the gap with Avatar as the weekend take was just $7.5 million, including $5.5 million in the US, which brings the total to $2.761 billion.

Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Parasite, the director’s first Korean-language film after Netflix’s Okja and The Weinstein Company/Radius’ Snowpiercer, clocked $300,000 on just 38 screens and $423,000 with festival screenings and previews.

Connelly observes: “Bong Joon-ho’s satirical thriller is playing to upscale art house and Asian audiences, enjoying enjoyed excellent word of mouth, and should play for an extended season in more sophisticated venues.”