‘Stan & Ollie’

British audiences embraced Stan & Ollie, not least because the charming biopic of comic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy is set in the UK, while US moviegoers were far less enthused.

Australians’ sentiments towards the comedic drama starring Steve Coogan and John C Reilly seem somewhere in the middle, judging by its fourth-ranked opening last weekend.

Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel easily retained top spot in its second weekend but is not performing at the level here or internationally which the studio needs to recoup the $US170 million production budget and hefty marketing costs.

Mindblowing Films’ Bollywood adventure comedy Total Dhamaal began brightly but there were minimal contributions from the other openers including Umbrella’s Lords of Chaos and Madman Entertainment’s Vox Lux.

Umbrella launched Nicholas Wrathall’s feature documentary Undermined: Tales From The Kimberley on limited sessions at eight cinemas, fetching a modest $19,000 including previews.

That does not include the Melbourne International Film Festival screenings of the film which investigates the real cost of development in the region where mega-mining and pastoral developments threaten the pristine environment and more than 200 Indigenous communities. The distributor plans to widen the release via FanForce.

In another weak frame, the top 20 titles collectively rang up $10.2 million, down 26 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Alita: Battle Angel drummed up $2.3 million, off 39 per cent, which brings the total to $7.3 million. That was a better hold than in the US where it plunged by 58 per cent to $12 million.

The futuristic sci-fi adventure starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz and Jennifer Connelly has generated $60.6 million in the US and $202.7 million in the rest of the world, including China’s impressive $62.3 million weekend debut.

Paramount’s What Women Want tumbled by 38 per cent to $1.15 million in its second weekend. The raunchy comedy directed by Adam Shankman, featuring Taraji P. Henson and Aldis Hodge, has scored $3.9 million in Oz and a mediocre $45 million after three weekends in the US.

Anticipating Oscar glory for Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, eOne added about 11 screens as the drama starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali advanced to $8.8 million, nabbing $912,000 in its fifth weekend. Pro-rata, the Australian performance is outshining the US’s $69.6 million.

The final release from eOne before handing over to Universal Pictures, Stan & Ollie, which chronicles the duo’s struggles to resurrect their faltering career during a UK tour in 1953, fetched $752,000 on 263 screens and $806,000 including advance screenings. The film directed by Jon S. Baird has collected £10.1 million ($A18.4 million) in the UK and $5 million in the US.

Sony’s thriller Escape Room reached $3.1 million after making $524,000 in its third weekend. Directed by Adam Robitel and starring Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll and Jay Ellis, the film has earned $56.1 million in the US and $62.5 million internationally – not bad for its $9 million production budget.

Clint Eastwood’s The Mule is still kicking, bagging $485,000 in its fifth outing and $8.3 million to date for Warner Bros.

Directed by Indra Kumar and starring Ajay Devgn, Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor and Sanjay Mishra, Total Dhamaal minted $337,000 on 48 screens.

The Universal/Blumhouse slasher-comedy Happy Death Day 2U is a dud, collaring $338,000 in its second weekend and $1.1 million here and $21.6 million in the US.

Mimi Leder’s On the Basis of Sex brought in $331,000 in its third, grossing a fair $2.2 million for eOne.

With $53.7 million in the till, Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody has overtaken Disney/Marvel’s The Avengers to rank as the sixth highest earner of all time in Oz. The Freddie Mercury biopic whistled up $315,000 in its 17th weekend: astounding longevity. The global total towers at $860.8 million.

Bradley Corbet drew on personal experience to make Vox Lux, which stars Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy and follows the survivor of a mass shooting at school who became a recording star. Perhaps the subject was too confronting for moviegoers, judging by the $33,000 opening on 16 screens and $49,000 with previews.

Jonas Åkerlund’s Lords of Chaos, a drama based on the true story of Norway’s black metal band Mayhem, was well received at Sundance. However the movie starring Rory Culkin, Jack Kilmer, Sky Ferreira, Valter Skarsgård and Emory Cohen mustered $38,000 on 34 screens, albeit on very limited sessions.

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