Australian films looks like maintaining their impressive momentum at cinemas after the premieres last weekend of Oddball and Blinky Bill: The Movie.
Stuart McDonald’s comedy inspired by the true story of chicken farmer Swampy Marsh, who deploys his sheepdog to protect an endangered Fairy Penguin population, starring Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Coco Gillies and Alan Tudyk, rang up $1.07 million in its first four days on 289 screens, including limited previews.
Deane Taylor’s animated movie which features the voices of Ryan Kwanten, Toni Collette, Robin McLeavy, David Wenham, Rufus Sewell, Richard Roxburgh, Deborah Mailman, Barry Otto and Barry Humphries, took $335,000 on 266 screens, with previews.
Both are positioned to cash in on the two weeks school vacation with Oddball appealing to families and Blinky Bill drawing young folk and their parents or carers, so their figures should lift during the week.
Steve Kearney, who produced Oddball with Richard Keddie and Sheila Hanahan Taylor, tells IF, “It’s been a blessed production. We had our first draft (by Peter Ivan) three years ago and it’s been fast-tracked since then. We knew if we got the execution of the story right we’d have another national hero in Swampy.”
As IF has reported, Australian films and feature docs released this year plus holdovers have racked up more than $54 million. With a bit of luck, 2015 could come close to the all-time record of 2001's $63.4 million.
Jeremy Sims’ Last Cab to Darwin reached $6.9 million after its seventh weekend and Neil Armfield’s Holding The Man topped $996,000 in its fourth outing.
Nationwide, takings rose by 5 per cent to $11.7 million, according to Rentrak's estimate, spurred by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur's Everest. Based on the tragic 1996 Everest expedition and starring Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Sam Worthington, the Universal release grabbed $3.27 million including previews.
The harrowing film platformed on 545 screens in the US last weekend, bringing in a nifty $US7.5 million, ahead of its wide release on Friday. The Wrap’s Steve Pond unfavouraby compared Everest with Jen Peedom’s feature doc Sherpa, which he caught in Toronto, in a review headed, “Move Over, Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke – Sherpa Spotlights Real Heroes of Everest.”
In Oz, Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials dropped by 33 per cent to $2.4 million, capturing a brisk $7.1 million in 11 days.
Sony’s sci-fi action comedy Pixels hit $4 million after earning $1.6 million in its sophomore session, easing by just 18 per cent.
Universal’s Straight Outta Compton continues to over-perform, ascending to $10.2 million after making $1.2 million in its third stanza.
Madman launched Jerry Rothwell’s How to Change the World, which tells how a group of Vancouver neighbours founded Greenpeace in protest at a US atomic test on an Alaskan island, on four screens but made less than $5K.
EOne's Two by Two, an animated riff on Noah's Ark, sank with $17,000 on 32 screens while Rialto's wondrously named Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder didn't raise many laughs, taking less than $1,200 on six screens.