Streep, Roberts fail to shine

06 January, 2014 by Don Groves

The star power of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts did not translate to a hefty opening for August: Osage County in Australian cinemas last week.

The John Wells-directed comedy/drama based on a Tracy Letts play raked in $1.4 million from Thursday to Sunday on a fairly wide 217 screens, plus $362,000 on the opening Wednesday.


That was well down in the pecking order of cinemagoers’ preferences, trailing the second weekends of Philomena and The Railway Man on per-screen averages.

The saga of a dysfunctional family headed by Streep’s mean-spirited, drug-taking, cancer suffering character, may have been deemed as too confronting or off-putting for multiplex audiences who crave lighter fare.

That view may not just be not a cultural quirk in Australia because the film took a decent but not stellar $US141,000 on five screens in its second outing, for a cumulative total of $483,000, in the US, where it goes wide next weekend.

With Saving Mr Banks and The Book Thief launching here on Thursday, August: Osage County may be hard pressed to hold on to its screens.

Last weekend takings overall amounted to $24.5 million, an understandable 28% decline on the humungous prior weekend. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug easily retained top spot despite falling by 57%, amassing $6.1 million in its second chapter, propelling its cumulative total to $25.7 million.

Disney’s animated treat Frozen collected a juicy $4.8 million (down by 20%), advancing to $15.9 million in 11 days.

Ben Stiller’s fantasy/comedy/romance The Secret Life of Walter Mitty conjured up $2.7 million in its second lap (easing by 17%), bringing its earnings to $8.1 million.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues climbed to $13.9 million after taking $2.3 million its third weekend.

BBC animated adventure Walking with Dinosaurs 3D scored a respectable $1.5 million in its debut and $2.06 million including the Wednesday opening.

Stephen Frears’ Philomena is finding an appreciative audience judging by the weekend take of $1.3 million, slipping by just 17% and $4.2 million thus far.

Jonathan Teplitzy’s The Railway Man had the strongest hold of the top 10, pocketing $1.03 million (off by 15%), reaching $3.1 million.