By Simon de Bruyn

Mary and Max is now the biggest Australian film of the year at the box office, while Closed for Winter had a lucklustre opening with $19,000 on 17 screens.

Meanwhile, Perth-shot teen thriller Crush took an impressive $8,300 on one screen over the weekend at its hometown Piccadilly Cinemas, ahead of a planned wider release in July.

Crush writer and director John Soto said he was very pleased with the results, and also with the reactions from audience members who he said were “clapping and cheering at the end”.

“We expect to land somewhere between $11,000 and $12,000 for the week,” he said. “We are pleased and a little surprised with the result as the majority of our Crush fan base reside in Sydney and Melbourne.”

Made for an estimated $2 million and distributed by Goalpost Distribution Australia in association with Omnilab Media, Closed for Winter managed $1,144 per screen after a heavy publicity campaign featuring the film’s lead actress, Natalie Imbruglia.

Mary and Max dropped slightly after increasing its screen count from 50 to 66 screens nationwide, but still posted a solid $169,000 according to Nielsen EDI stats, compared to $194,000 on 50 screens last weekend.

Mary and Max is now the highest grossing Australian film for 2009, with a new total of $823,000.

Meanwhile, Love the Beast and The Combination continued to hold on at the box office. Eric Bana’s car doco took $7,000 over the weekend, $4,000 higher than last weekend, while The Combination added $1,815 for a new total of $724,979.

Film  Budget (est)   Distributor   Opening w/e   Box Office 
Mary and Max  $8,000,000  Icon   $217,176  $822,911
Love the Beast    Madman   $241,982  $765,337
The Combination  $1,320,000  AFS   $188,054  $724,979
Two Fists, One Heart  $8,500,000  Disney   $96,999  $292,810
Beautiful  $2,000,000  Kojo/Jump Street   $22,406  $51,008
Closed for Winter  $2,000,000  Omnilab Media   $19,449  $19,449
Crush  $2,000,000  Filmscope/Odin’s Eye  $8,300  $8,300
Salvation    Hopscotch   $2,262  $3,182

Sources: Inside Film, MPDAA and Nielsen EDI

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