Big-budget Australian action film Killer Elite has posted a disappointing opening over the weekend. The $80 million Omnilab-financed flick with a high-profile cast took in just $284,226 across 108 screens, generating a poor screen average of $2632.

Based on Sir Ranulph Fiennes' non-fiction novel The Feather Men, the film stars renowned actor Robert De Niro alongside British talent Clive Owen and Jason Statham.

The Australian opening mirrored its first weekend across the Pacific in the US last September, where it grossed $US9.35 million across 2986 theatres ($US3132 screen average). Ranking fifth, it lost out to such titles as The Lion King (3D), Moneyball and Dolphin Tale. After eight weekends at cinemas in the US, it took in $US25 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Shot in various global cities including Melbourne, Paris and London, Killer Elite follows special-ops agent Danny (Statham), who is lured out of self-imposed exile to execute a feat of retribution and personal salvation. He reassembles his old team of operatives to help rescue his former mentor (De Niro), and to infiltrate the British Special Air Service (SAS). Facing off against a covert group of ex-SAS soldiers known as “The Feather Men”, who, under their leader Spike (Owen), provide a deadly cloak of security around all SAS members, Danny and his team must take down a rogue cell of solider assassins before their actions result in a global political meltdown. The trailer can be seen here.

Roadshow’s latest local comedy Any Questions For Ben? had a 66 per cent fall on last weekend, grossing $103,030 from 146 screens. After opening on February 9, it has taken $1.4 million – a less-than-expected result from the creators of Australian favourites The Castle and The Dish (Working Dog).

UK limited release film Shame, which also opened on February 9 and was produced by Sydney’s Emile Sherman, grossed $70,711 from 30 screens on the weekend, taking its total to $472,323.

Aussie comedy A Few Best Men, directed by Priscilla’s Stephan Elliott, has now grossed $5.17 million since opening on Australia Day. 3D animated flick Happy Feet Two, directed by George Miller, has now finished screening – it ended up grossing $10.7 million.

Universal took number one spot at the local box office on the weekend with Contraband, starring “Marky Mark” (Mark Wahlberg), raking in $1.6 million from 219 screens. This Means War, distributed by Fox, placed second with $1.4 million, while Sony’s The Vow netted third position with $1.3 million.

Safe House, also distributed by Universal, grossed $928,514 in its third weekend for fourth position, while Liam Neeson action film The Grey, released by Icon, rounded off the top five with $494,380 in its second weekend.

As for Oscar-winning films, Hugo – which cleaned up earlier today in Los Angeles netting five gongs – has made $8.9 million in Australia, while The Descendants – which won a Best Writing award earlier today – has now taken $14.3 million in Australia.

Best Picture winner The Artist, which opened in limited screens across the country on February 2, has taken $1.9 million.

Last year's biggest Australian film Red Dog opened in the UK last Friday, however box office figures aren't yet available.

Films opening this week include: A Little Bit of Heaven (Hoyts), A Separation (eOne), Carnage (Sony), Like Crazy (Paramount), Project X (Warner Bros), Sea Rex 3D (IMAX), Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business (Pinnacle Films) and The Devil Inside (Paramount).

Australian films at the box office 2012

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