Variety critic Guy Lodge damned American Made with faint praise, likening the “sweat-slicked, exhausting but glibly entertaining” CIA adventure starring Tom Cruise as the kind of film he could have made at almost any time in the last 30 years.
Australian audiences seemed similarly ambivalent, judging by the Doug Liman-directed film’s unexceptional, albeit top-ranked, debut last weekend in another grim frame for Australian exhibitors.
Based on true life, the Universal release, which launches in the US on September 29, had no major competition as most of the other newcomers including Australian feature doc All for One, 47 Metres Down and Maudie were minor contributors.
The top 20 titles collectively made $8.8 million, down 8 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.
Cruise’s previous pic The Mummy was a domestic dud, earning $US80.1million, but amassed a lucrative $327.7 million internationally, which may be a tall order for American Made based on the Aussie opening.
The drama starring Cruise as a former TWA pilot who is recruited by the CIA to spy on communist rabble-rousers in central and South America, together with Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, E. Roger Mitchell and Jesse Plemons, rang up $2.1 million at 261 locations.
Director David F. Sandberg supernatural horror film Annabelle: Creation, a prequel to 2014’s Annabelle, ranked second, grabbing $907,000 in its third weekend on 213, falling by 41 per cent. The Roadshow release has collected an impressive $5.9 million.
Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is showing remarkable resilience, drumming up $662,000 in its sixth frame. The gripping WW2 drama has generated $21.7 million for Warner Bros.
The mediocre performance of Sony’s The Dark Tower is no surprise in light of the US results, despite the Stephen King brand. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, the action adventure starring Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor, Claudia Kim, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, and Jackie Earle Haley reached $2.4 million after plunging by 57 per cent in its second weekend, taking $585,000.
In its second weekend, eOne’s Hampstead brought in $498,000 on 217, easing by 33 per cent. Director Joel Hopkins’ comedy-drama inspired by a true story and starring Diane Keaton, Brendan Gleeson and James Norton, has earned a decent $1.7 million.
The massively over-hyped Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor slugfest punched up a muscular $432,000 at 69 screens.
Logan Lucky plunged by 62 per cent to $349,000 in its second outing at 254, which probably reflects lousy word-of-mouth. Steven Soderbergh’s heist comedy starring Channing Tatum and Adam Driver has collared $1.6 million for Roadshow.
Released by Madman Entertainment, Celebrate Studio Ghibli, the start of a month long event celebrating the 22 films from the venerable Japanese animation studio, drew a tidy $252,000 on 56 screens.
Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is an expensive flop. Budgeted at $177 million, the sci-fi adventure has mustered just $39.4 million in the US and $132.8 million in the rest of the world, including $2.6 million after its third frame in Oz, taking $240,000, distributed by eOne.
Roadshow’s romantic comedy The Big Sick from director Michael Showalter clung to 10th spot, pocketing $234,000 in its fourth outing, which brings the total to a fair $3.9 million.
Vendetta’s 47 Metres Down, an action thriller set in Mexico starring Mandy Moore, Claire Holt and Matthew Modine, surfaced with a mediocre $227,000 on 73 screens.
Directed by Dan Jones and Marcus Cobbledick, All for One follows the first five years of the GreenEdge cycling team, illustrating their renegade spirit and determination to win against substantial odds. The Madman Production Company title wheeled in just $133,000 on 50 screens.
Studiocanal’s re-release of 1995 blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a 3D post conversion supervised by director James Cameron, fetched a lousy $145,000 on 118.
Stablemate The Lost City of Z unearthed a dismal $20,000 on 10 screens, predictably so considering James Gray’s true-life action drama starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller ended up with $8.5 million in the US.
Aisling Walsh’s biopic Maudie follows Sally Hawkins as Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis and her relationship with a gruff fisherman played by Ethan Hawke. The Transmission release earned just $84,000 on 36 screens.
Norway’s contender for the best foreign language film Oscar last year, Erik Poppe’s The King’s Choice pivots on King Haakon VII’s decision to support a continuation of fighting the invading German forces rather than surrendering. An interesting premise, but the film collected a modest $77,000 at 17 screens for Palace Films.
After its Sundance festival premiere Killing Ground, Damien Power’s horror movie starring Aaron Pedersen, Harriet Dyer, Ian Meadows and Aaron Glenane scared up a mere $22,000 on 14 screens and $42,000 including advance screenings for Mushroom Pictures.