Despite the reemergence of COVID-19 cases and restrictions in some states, the holiday period has proved lucrative for many exhibitors thanks to Wonder Woman 1984, The Croods: A New Age and local film The Dry.
And while there’s promise in titles like this week’s Penguin Bloom, some cinema owners have concerns regarding the lack of big name releases over the coming weeks and months.
Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell tells IF a strong period is “tailing off fast”, as cinemas don’t have access to the usual depth of product to sustain themselves through the six weeks of school holidays.
Or as outlined by Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly: “The challenge for the coming months will be the absence of ‘big ticket’ titles that usually populate this time of year but each week is bringing more attractive releases to cinemas that should help get audiences back in the habit of going to the movies.”
For many exhibitors, Roadshow’s Eric Bana-starrer The Dry has proved the hit of the summer, now having rung up almost $10 million in three weeks, proving strong word-of-mouth.
Robert Connolly’s adaptation of Jane Harper’s novel topped the box office for the second week in a row last weekend, notching $1.9 million.
Exhibitors are effusive about the campaign Roadshow has run alongside the film, with Wallis Cinemas David Simpson telling IF they threw “the kitchen sink at it”, and the chain has been delighted by the result.
At Cinema Nova, The Dry has similarly been the most popular title, with Connelly predicting the film will gross over $15 million domestically.
Dell notes a particular success with an older crowd at Majestic sites. “Its opening was great, word of mouth is very strong and it will continue to do good business right into Feb I suspect. We are now looking forward to Penguin Bloom and High Ground to round off the Aussie summer!”
Overall, the top 20 titles amassed $8.1 million last weekend, according to Numero, down just 8 per cent on the previous.
That’s a good post-COVID result, though a fair run short of this time last year when the top 20 titles – which included 1917, Jumanji: The Next Level and The Gentlemen – took some $22.2 million.
Coming in second at the box office last weekend was Croods 2, which took home $1.5 million in its fourth frame, advancing to $15.9 million for Universal.
For Majestic the title has proved the “star performer” of the summer, with Dell noting it is “the only real option for families looking for a new movie.”
“It continues to travel well and has eclipsed all the other smaller animated titles.”
Wonder Woman 1984 is sitting on $21.3 million for Warner Bros after four weeks; bringing in $1.4 million last weekend. Australia is the third highest grossing territory for the film after the US and China, which has made $US141.7 million worldwide.
“Wonder Woman opened really well and, as expected for this genre, dropped relatively quickly but seems to have settled into a regular rhythm now and is chugging along reasonably now,” says Dell.
Two weeks in release, Promising Young Woman is enjoying good word-of-mouth for Roadshow. At Cinema Nova, Connelly reports the black comedy experienced a 30 per cent uptick over its opening weekend.
Across the country, the Carey Mulligan-starrer dropped only 5 per cent to bring in $472,905, advancing to $1.5 million.
Another title that has proved to have legs is Universal’s The War With Grandpa, which now sits on $8.2 million after taking $431,334 in its seventh frame.
Boasting the highest screen average of the weekend was Indian Tamil-language action-thriller Master, distributed by Southern Star. Directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, the film bowed on 77 screens to earn 401,289, or $5,212 per screen.
Sony’s Monster Hunter slipped 33 per cent in its third week to ring up $354,390, taking its total to $2.5 million.
Close behind was new release Shadow in the Cloud, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz as a WWII pilot who discovers an evil presence on her plane. The action horror took home $308,971 from 241 screens.
Also premiering last weekend was Studiocanal’s Music, which earned $286,140 from 243 screens.
Co-written and directed by Sia, who also wrote a series of songs for the film, Music follows Zu (Kate Hudson), a recovering addict who receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum. Ahead of its release, the film was criticised for a lack of authentic casting, with Music played by non-autistic actor Maddie Ziegler.
Rounding out the top 10 was Roadshow’s animated film Dragon Rider, which took home $257,509 in its third week to total $1.8 million.