BO Report: Unhappy Easter for cinemas as the ‘Curse’ strikes

23 April, 2019 by Don Groves

‘The Curse of the Weeping Woman’

New Line/DC Entertainment’s family superhero adventure Shazam! easily retained the top spot in its third weekend virtually by default.

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One reason for the dreary Easter weekend trading: Distributors were unwilling to launch films for fear of being crushed by the Disney/Marvel juggernaut Avengers: End Game, which opens on Wednesday.

But an underlying factor is the generally lousy performance of Hollywood films this year. In the US pundits described the Easter business as the worst since 2003. The US box office for the year to date stands at $2.9 billion, down 16 per cent on 2018.

The only new wide release was the James Wan-produced horror pic The Curse of the Weeping Woman (aka The Curse of La Llorona), which opened at No. 1 in the US but was a distant fifth here.

Bollywood romantic drama Kalank and Korean thriller Burning fared best among the specialty releases while French screwball comedy The Trouble With You opened on 15 screens after making a small fortune at festivals.

Fox’s Christian drama Breakthrough and Icon’s Breaking Habits, a documentary on a self-styled nun and medical marijuana proprietor named Sister Kate, barely registered.

Umbrella’s Back of the Net, a young adult drama directed by Louise Alston, rolled out nationwide after opening in Queensland and Victoria, netting $32,000 from limited sessions on 78 screens, raising the total to $62,000.

As IF has reported producer Steve Jaggi will soon announce a distribution deal with a US major for the film starring Sofia Wylie (the Disney Channel’s Andi Mack) and Tiarnie Coupland.

Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai is tailing off after grossing $3.2 million for Icon but the thriller is resonating with US audiences, garnering nearly $9 million after its fourth weekend wide.

The top 20 titles mustered $16.2 million from Thursday to Monday, down 2 per cent on the previous five days despite the combination of Easter and school holidays, according to Numero. “It was a waste of a good week as most states are in school holidays with Easter holidays added,” says Wallis Cinemas’ Bob Parr, who wishes Avengers: End Game had opened a week earlier.

Directed by David Sandberg, Shazam! conjured up $3.1 million in its third weekend, climbing to $15 million. The Zachary Levin starrer has amassed $322.8 million globally, proving far more potent internationally with $201.5 million than in the US.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo flew to $10.3 million after pocketing $1.7 million in its fourth outing. The Disney movie starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Eva Green, Danny DeVito and Finley Hobbins has taken $101.3 million domestic and $307.9 million globally, still well short of recouping the $170 million budget plus hefty P&A spend.

Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel ascended to $40.4 million after collaring $1.6 million in its seventh. frame. The sci-fi fantasy co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck has amassed $1.09 billion worldwide, surpassing The Dark Knight Rises to rank as the eighth biggest superhero title of all time.

Paramount’s animated fantasy adventure Wonder Park fetched $1.3 million in its third weekend, delivering $4.7 million thus far. The tale of talking animals that run an amusement park has taken $44.5 million in the US and $48.5 million in the rest of the world, a poor return for a reported $100 million budget.

The directorial debut of Michael Chaves, The Curse of the Weeping Woman raked in $1.1 million in five days on 218 screens. Pro-rata, that was well below the $26.3 million US debut for the film which stars Linda Cardelli as a social worker and widow raising with two children who investigates supernatural happenings in 1970s Los Angeles.

Enlisting the help of a local faith healer, she discovers La Llorona, a female ghost of Latin American heritage who lost her children, has latched on to her and her kids. Wan produced the movie for just $9 million, so there is a big upside.

Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie 2 drew $1.1 million in its fifth, advancing to $9.8 million. The animated family film directed by Mike Mitchell has earned a modest $105.4 million in the US and $82.2 million internationally.

Roadshow’s Five Feet Apart reached $6.6 million after nabbing $812,000 in its fourth, outperforming the US where Justin Baldoni’s drama starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson has collected $45.1 million.

Universal’s Little, a body-swap comedy starring Regina Hall and Marsai Martin, rang up $685,000 in its second weekend, bringing the total to nearly $2 million.

Jordan Peele’s Us drummed up $674,000 in its third frame and $9 million thus far for Universal. The grisly horror movie has scored $170.4 million in the US and $75.3 million in the rest of the world, a handsome return for a film costing just $20 million.

Set in pre-Independence India in 1945, director Abhishek Varman’s Kalank, which stars Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt, grabbed $563,000 on 66 screens and $692,000 including the Wednesday opening for Mind Blowing Films.

Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, a psychological study of thwarted love, ambition and obsession featuring Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun and Jun Jong-seo, yielded $135,000 on 17 screens and $279,000 including festival screenings for Palace.

Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly was pleased with the turnout for Burning but observes: “The Easter weekend has gradually declined as a key upscale product release frame for years; where it used to be a key date for distributors, day-and-date releases and the early start to the US summer blockbuster season has successively crueled its potential over the past few years. Now, with Game Of Thrones drawing to a close, the weekend box office was lacklustre as expected.”

Roxann Dawson’s Breakthrough, which stars This Is Us’s Chrissy Metz as a mother who refuses to give up hope after her adopted son suffers a near-fatal fall through an icy lake, took $72,000 on 26 screens. Released in the US by Disney following the Fox takeover, the faith-based film grossed $14.8 million in five days, not a disaster in view of the estimated $14 million production cost.

Pierre Salvadori’s The Trouble With You follows Adèle Haenel as a detective in French Riviera town who discovers her late husband was corrupt, resulting in an innocent man (PioMarmaï) being falsely imprisoned for eight years, so she sets out to reunite him with his fiancé (Audrey Tautou). The Palace release fetched $58,000 on 15 screens after making serious money at festivals, banking $423,000.

Icon launched Robert Ryan’s documentary Breaking Habits on 27 screens, taking just $29,000 including previews.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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