Toni Collette and Joel Edgerton are terrific actors with impressive credits but their new films are struggling to draw audiences in Australian cinemas.

Miss You Already, the dramedy directed by Catherine Hardwicke starring Collette and Drew Barrymore, fetched just $600,000 including previews on 217 screens last weekend.

That’s a poor result for the saga of two lifelong friends, one of whom is stricken with breast cancer. It was soundly beaten by Oddball, which whistled up $730,000 in its fourth frame and climbed to $9.27 million.

Black Mass, the true-life crime drama featuring Johnny Depp and Edgerton as a vicious Boston gang leader and his corrupt FBI agent pal, drummed up a mediocre $1.1 million on 269 screens.

Pro-rata, that’s way below the $US22.6 million opening in the US, where the Warner Bros. release directed by Scott Cooper has earned $US57.5 million through its fourth lap.

Both debuts surprised Wallis Cinemas program manager Bob Parr, who tells IF, “I am at a loss with Miss You Already. Normally a well-publicised female friendly film like this works.”

Parr attributed the lacklustre figure for Black Mass to the waning appeal of the MA15+ rating, observing, “MAs are going the way that the R certificate did years ago. There is a resistance. Sicario, which is brilliant, didn’t do what it deserved to either.”

Sicario has pocketed $4.4 million after its third weekend but is fast losing momentum and may be lucky to reach $6 million.

Nationwide, B.O. receipts slumped by 29 per cent to $12.1 million last weekend, according to Rentrak’s estimate, a typical decline after the end of school vacation.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian easily retained the lead, mustering $4.5 million in its sophomore session (slipping by 26 per cent), which propelled the total to $13.3 million.

Nancy Meyers' The Intern continued to please mature cinemagoers, easing by 25 per cent to $1.5 million and scoring nearly $4.8 million in 11 days.

Joe Wright’s Pan reached $6.5 million but plunged by 58 per cent to $612,000 in its third orbit and is shaping as a costly write-off for Warner Bros. after opening with $15.3 million in the US at the weekend.

Deane Taylor’s Blinky Bill: The Movie advanced to $2.68 million after taking $163,000 in its third chapter while Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth brought in a modest $66,000 in its second weekend on 31 screens (down 21 per cent), banking $210,000 thus far including previews.

As IF has often noted, the middle ground is a dangerous zone for many titles and so it proved again last weekend with Learning to Drive, Isobel Coixet’s comedy/drama starring Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley and Grace Gummer, which crashed with $105,000 on 43 screens.

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  1. Hint – if you’re going to market a movie as a comedy or dramedy, then the trailer better have some funny moments in it. The trailers for Learning to Drive and Miss You Already are like a form of torture. The trailer for The Intern has actual jokes (setup-punch) in it. The trailer for Black Mass makes it look like a morose art-house movies, which is the kiss of death in Australia.

  2. Perhaps it might have something to do with it costing so much to go to the movies and…well…a good number of films that are around (including Australian) are filled with so much product/advertising placement it’s now worse than the pre-show (or commercial TV). People are perhaps just getting tired of it and choosing to go bowling…just like they have with TV.

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