What gives with The Giver?

15 September, 2014 by Don Groves

Phillip Noyce’s The Giver is based on a young adult novel that sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, packed with a cast headed by Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, rising Australian star Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

On paper that's an appealing package but the futuristic sci-fi drama based on the Lois Lowry novel, the first in a series of four books, has not enthralled audiences in Australia or the US.

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The film set in a society where there is no conflict, racism or sickness but freedom is curtailed, opened in the US on August 15 and has raked in an estimated $US41.4 million. That's  much better than young-adult based flops The Host, Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, but no great shakes.

Thwaites plays Jonas, who escapes the overbearing, very doctrinaire regime to embark on a long journey to find a true home. Bridges is The Giver, an old man who teaches Jonas to use his unique gifts and Streep is the society’s Chief Elder, an authoritative and antagonistic woman.

Roadshow Films showed its confidence by launching the film on 206 screens last weekend, generating a modest $679,000.

It was a soft trading session as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the only big money maker in a weekend which totalled $10.7 million, according to Rentrak estimates.

The Turtles raked in $4.3 million, a strong opening after collecting more than $2 million in previews the prior weekend. Some 25% of the gross came from 3D screens, a better than usual contribution from 3D considering the format has lost much of its appeal in animated family films.

Tornado pic Into the Storm was buffeted by bad word-of-mouth, plunging by 50% to $997,000 in its second weekend, scoring $3.6 million thus far.

The Step Up youth dance franchise is clearly waning as the fifth edition, Step Up: All In, opened with $803,000. It might rally next weekend as the core audience- teenage girls- starts school vacation.

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood eased by just 12% to $250,000 on 59 screens, pocketing $831,000 in 11 days.

James Gray's The Immigrant, which stars Marion Cotillard as a Polish woman who pursues the American dream, platformed on two screens and rang up a decent $17,000.

Some critics responded to Night Moves, an environmental thriller starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning, but audiences were utterly unmoved, judging by its $8,000 debut on seven screens, and $30,000 with sneaks. "It's a disaster," said one exhibitor who is mystified by the result.

The round’s biggest dud was Tarzan with $19,000 on 47 screens, $26,000 with previews. The storyline may explain why: Tarzan and Jane face a mercenary army dispatched by the evil CEO of Greystoke Energies, who took over the company from Tarzan's parents after they died in a plane crash.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE September 11-14

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

1/492

$4,369,582

NA

$6,473,152

2

Into the Storm

2/336

997,181

-50

3,654,657

3

Step Up: All In

1/340

802,950

NA

804,812

4

         Guardians of the Galaxy

6/190

689,243

-42

24,254,021

5

The Giver

1/206

678,824

NA

679,135

6

The Hundred-Foot Journey         

5/220

576,982

-34

10,141,746

7

If I Stay

3/203

334,494

-42

2,447,897

8

Magic in the Moonlight

3/145

330,455

-36

2,233,901

9

Lucy

7/119

280,633

-45

15,391,817

10

Planes: Fire and Rescue

PV/221

276,794

NA

353,295

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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