Those critics and writers who think Princess Diana ought to be allowed to rest in peace may have a point, judging by the lousy opening figures in Australia for director Oliver Hirschbiegel's Diana.
The omens for the biopic starring Naomi Watts have been dire since its world premiere in the UK last month where it got withering reviews and a lowly audience turn-out.
“Creepy weepie will make you sleepy,” said the Daily Mail. ”A special class of awful,” declared The Daily Telegraph. “Hirschbiegel shows no signs of a cinematic heart beating in his portrayal of the self-anointed ‘Queen of Hearts,’ and rarely goes beyond made-for-television territory,” intoned The Times.
The saga of the princess's final few years and her supposed affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews) earned $543,000 at 206 locations in Australia last weekend, and $696,000 with previews.
Business overall was soft with only two titles raking in more than $1 million. Takings plunged by 30% to $11.7 million, a normal drop-off after school holidays.
Space odyssey Gravity easily led the pack, easing by a mere 10% in its second weekend, pocketing $3.2 million. The Sandra Bullock-George Clooney starrer has amassed $8.7 million in 11 days and looks likely to finish with at least $18 million.
Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as crooked undercover officers who plan to rob a Mexican drug dealer proved an appealing combination in 2 Guns, which grabbed a solid $1.5 million in its debut. Including previews, the action comedy based on a comic book by Steven Grant has fetched $1.8 million.
A big name cast didn’t draw many fans to The Family, a dark comedy about a one-time Mafia kingpin turned snitch (Robert De Niro) who lives in a witness protection program in France with his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer) and two kids under the watchful eye of an FBI agent (Tommy Lee Jones). The film directed by Luc Besson and executive produced by Martin Scorsese took $517,000 on 159 screens.
The other rookie, Metallica Through the Never, posed the question: How many heavy-metal fans are there in Oz, or at least how many are interested in a concert documentary featuring the band, interspersed with a plot about a roadie who’s sent on a secret mission? The answer: A fair number, judging by the $300,000 opening on 83 screens.
Tim Winton’s The Turning raked in $112,000 in its third weekend (off 32%), averaging about $5,600 per screen, which elevates the total to a fine $827,000.
Ron Howard’s Formula One saga Rush is fast running out of gas in its second lap, taking $730,000 (plunging by 39%), bringing its tally to a mediocre $2.6 million.
Grown Ups 2 is wearing out its welcome, falling by 57% to $984,000 in its third outing, but the Adam Sandler comedy has banked $9.2 million.
Among the kids/ family films, The Smurfs 2 has rustled up $12.4 million, Turbo has $11.8 million and Planes $6.9 million.