Three strikes for the Wachowskis

23 February, 2015 by Don Groves

Jupiter Ascending has launched in Australia with $2 million in four days on 415 screens, one of the more respectable debuts for the sci-fi action-adventure.

 The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Pictures film starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne and Sean Bean has brought in $US39.5 million in the US and $75 million internationally.


That's a long way short of recouping the production cost reported to be between $175 million and $205 million, and the hefty P&A bill.

So Jupiter Ascending is shaping as yet another misfire for siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski following WB/VRP’s Speed Racer ($120 million budget, $93.9 million in global B.O.) and the independently-financed Cloud Atlas ($100 million cost, $130.5 million B.O.).

Pro-rata, the Australian opening is slightly ahead of the $18.4 million US debut, to the surprise of some exhibitors. Wallis Cinemas program manager Bob Parr tells IF, “I didn’t expect that at all because of the US result, but one never knows.

“That is the wonderful thing about the movie biz. No one expected American Sniper to be so big and in upmarket sites that usually don’t work with violent films.”

It’s fair to say almost no one predicted Fifty Shades of Grey would become a massive global blockbuster that has already rung up $405 million worldwide.

In Australia the not-so-erotic romance based on the E. L. James novel tumbled by 62% to $4 million in its second weekend, propelling its takings to $17.2 million.

That decline isn’t as steep as the US where the Universal film plummeted by 74% to $22.6 million, banking $129.1 million in 10 days. “Bad word of mouth is impacting the film, no thanks to that Scarlet Letter of a C+ CinemaScore," observed

Most of the other holdovers in Oz proved quite resilient, resulting in a nationwide weekend take of $12.7 million, according to Rentrak’s estimate.

Fox’s violent adventure comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service fetched $2.2 million (off 26%) in its third outing, advancing to $11.8 million. American Sniper captured $926,000 in its fifth assignment (down 25%), amassing $17.6 million thus far.

Rob Connolly’s Paper Planes ascended to $8.6 million after earning $345,000 in its sixth weekend (off just 8%), and could reach $10 millon.

Good word-of-mouth kicked in for What We Did on Our Holiday, the Scottish-set comedy-drama starring Rosamund Pike, David Tennant and Billy Connolly, which rose by 6% to $286,000 in its second weekend on 66 screens, tallying $750,000.

Jon Stewart's directing debut in Rosewater, a drama about the arrest and jailing of an Iranian expat journalist in 2009 starring Gael Garcia Bernal, opened with a tepid $22,000 on 12 screens.