Sony’s hopes of launching a witches-and-warlocks franchise were severely dented if not dashed last weekend as The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones bombed in the US, although the Australian opening was more respectable.

The saga of a 15-year-old (Lily Collins) who scours New York City for demons, based on young adult fantasy novels by Cassandra Clare, earned an estimated $US14 million in five days in the US.

That was no match for second weekend of Lee Daniels’ The Butler, an historical drama about a long-serving White House butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, and the third lap of raunchy comedy We’re The Millers.

Released in Australia by Roadshow, The Mortal Instruments rang up $1.6 million, ranked in fourth place. Sony executives insist a sequel is still "on the drawing board.”

The top title in Oz again was sci-fi thriller Elysium, which hauled in $2.1 million in its second outing, down 38%, boosting the total to a juicy $6.9 million.

Crime caper Now You See Me stole $2 million in its third weekend, off 23%, pushing its earnings to $10.8 million.

After a limp debut in the US, Kick- Ass 2 continued its lacklustre performance in Australia, taking $1.07 million in its first weekend.

In the specialised area, What Maisie Knew, a contemporary reimagining of a Henry James' novel about a six-year-old girl caught up in a bitter custody battle, starring Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan and Onata Aprile, debuted with a fair $135,000 on 36 screens.

Shane Carruth’s Upstream Colour, an apparently befuddling tale of destiny, free will and mind-controlling bugs, did not generate much interest at cinemas after launching at the Sydney Film Festival, fetching $28,000 on 15 screens.

Red Obsession, an Australian feature documentary on fine wine, taste  and power, held stoutly in its second weekend, uncorking $67,000 (down 27%), bringing its cumulative tally to $220,000.

      WEEKEND BOX OFFICE Aug 22-25

 

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

Elysium

2/294

$2,156,040

-38

$6,940,102

2

Now You See Me

3/270

1,981,939

-23

10,806,192

3

We’re the Millers

2/342

1,674,378

27

5,069,285

4

The Mortal Instruments

1/230

1,596,911

NA

1,596,911

5

Kick-Ass 2

1/217

1,074,619

NA

1,901,669

6

The Wolverine

5/232

383,993

-45

15,249,216

7

The Conjuring

6/159

297,603

-42

8,500,704

8

Pain & Gain

3/206

269,340

-54

3,322,717

9

Despicable Me 2

10/168

166,372

-30

35,349,190

10

The Heat

7/127

147,512

-56

14,862,390

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia