Amid a dearth of new major releases, exhibitors are pleased with the staying power of Roadshow Films’ RAMS, which held onto the top spot at the box office over its second weekend, as well as Rialto’s Honest Thief and R & R Films’ Never Too Late.
The only major opener for the weekend was Studiocanal’s Radioactive, bowing in third on a middling $178,416 from 180 screens with previews.
Directed by Marjane Satrapi, the drama stars Rosamund Pike as Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie as she tries to explain to the world previously unknown radioactive elements. It soon becomes evident that her work could lead to applications in medicine that could save thousands of lives, or applications in warfare that could destroy them by the billions.
Premiering as the Closing Night Gala at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Radioactive has gone straight-to-streaming in other major markets such as the US and UK given the pandemic.
Among the new specialty fare was Trafalgar Releasing’s Idiot Prayer – Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace, which opened on $88,981 from 68 screens; a decent result given the performance streamed online in July.
New local product included Catherine Dwyer documentary Brazen Hussies, executive produced and distributed by Film Art Media, which opened in limited release on 20 screens to earn $14K, or $25K with previews. Nominated for the AACTA Award for Best Documentary, the story of the Australian Women’s Liberation Movement will broaden to another 20 screens next week.
“We are playing the long game of building awareness and word of mouth and greatly helped by the consistent four star reviews,” executive producer and Film Art Media company director Sue Maslin tells IF.
“We have seen a gradual and steady growth in audience numbers over the week enabling the film to post just over $25,000 including previews in a very compromised release environment. The strategy is helped even further by the news that Melbourne opens cinemas this week. For the first time in years, Australian films like Brazen Hussies (and Rams) have a crack at a platform release.”
Serhat Cardee’s A Lion Returns, which was also recently nominated for an AACTA – Best Indie Film – opened on $3,700 from eight screens via Bonsai Films.
Overall, the box office continues to languish, with the top 20 titles posting only $2.4 million according to Numero, down 10 per cent on the last weekend.
However, next week’s numbers are guaranteed a boost, with the Victorian government announcing over the weekend that cinemas in that state may reopen. Many cinemas have been closed since March, and intend to screen titles audiences will have missed through lockdown.
Cinema Nova turned on the lights today; Lido, Classic and Cameo Cinemas reopen tomorrow and Palace Cinemas, Village Cinemas and Hoyts Cinemas will all reopen from Thursday.
IMAX Melbourne will also reopen November 19, as one of 13 theatres around the world to screen Tenet on IMAX 1570 film. IMAX screens currently account for more than 11 per cent of Tenet’s global box office takings.
“We’re confident that the exclusivity of the presentation will be a major drawcard. The Nolan IMAX experience is one that can absolutely not be replicated at home and we are expecting high levels of demand for several months,” said IMAX Melbourne general manager Richard Morrison.
Wallis Cinemas’ programming manager David Simpson is yet again pleased with the weekend results for RAMS and Never Too Late, reporting several sell out sessions.
Similarly for For Majestic Cinemas, Sims’ RAMS was “by far” the no. 1 film, while Never Too Late was no 2. at most sites. CEO Kieren Dell says trading was much the same as last week.
“Radioactive had a pulse, but not much else of any note doing anything,” he tells IF.
Village Cinemas national film programming manager Geoff Chard agrees it was a strong weekend for holdovers, but mostly quiet.
“Hopefully Freaky and The Comeback Trail opening this week can breath a bit more life into the box office.”
With the limited number of new releases, some exhibitors, like Sydney’s The Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace are finding success with alternative content streams and live entertainment.
“Our live Beatles tribute concert sold out our main auditorium on Saturday night and grossed more than all other film sessions combined,” GM Alex Temesvari tells IF.
“Rams and Corpus Christi continue to perform respectably and I expect them to hang around for a while but The Orpheum’s focus must remain on alternative content, live entertainment and private hires.”
RAMS, directed by Jeremy Sims and starring Sam Neill and Michael Caton as estranged sheep farming brothers, slipped only 17 per cent in its second frame to earn $672,687 from 294 screens, taking its cume to $2.2 million.
Liam Neeson-actioner Honest Thief similarly held strong at no. 2, dipping just 7 per cent to earn $473,512 from 294 screens. After three weeks the film has just surpassed $2 million.
Universal’s Trolls World Tour continues to entertain children, wooing $169,496 in its eighth frame to advancing $7.6 million.
Sony’s The Craft: Legacy tumbled 37 per cent to take $160,781 in its second orbit, with the sequel to the 1996 cult film now on $452,366 overall.
Now in its third weekend frame, Mark Lamprell’s Never Too Late fell just 17 per cent to earn $105,302 from 177 screens. Overall, the local comedy has made $656,794.
Disney’s The Empty Man, based on Cullen Bunn and Vanesa R. Del Rey’s graphic novel, was in seventh place with takings of $103,395. Two weekends in release, it has garnered $271,687.
Tenet dipped only 17 per cent for Warner Bros in its 11th weekend to earn $97,223, taking its total to $12.1 million. The studio estimates that outside of the US, admissions are now at 37.2 million; the Christopher Nolan thriller has now surpassed $US350 million worldwide.
Rounding out the top 10 was Roadshow’s City of Lies, which took $65,306. After four weeks, the Brad Furman thriller starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker has made $772,736.