Slavery drama resonates in Oz

03 February, 2014 by Don Groves

Those nine Oscar nominations and generally positive views for 12 Years a Slave are paying off for Steve McQueen’s confronting drama in Australia.

The true story of a free man who was sold into slavery starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, the film grabbed $1.16 million in its first four days at 121 locations.

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Distributor Icon could count on a robust opening as the film had already earned $546,000 from previews and a sold-out screening at the Perth International Film Festival.

Icon plans to add a further 45 screens in two weeks in the lead-up to the Oscars, which will be handed out on March 2 (March 3 in Oz).

The only other newcomer in wide release, Grudge Match, was a disaster, taking $350,000 on 158 screens. That result was telegraphed when the Warner Bros. film opened in the US on Christmas Day and bombed.

The prospect of watching Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone slugging it out in a boxing comedy didn’t wash with audiences in either country.

Box-office takings slumped by 29% to $13 million. The Wolf of Wall Street retained the top spot, bagging $3.75 million in its second weekend, dropping by 27%, propelling its total to $12 million.

Fox’s WW2 drama The Book Thief advanced to $11.06 million and Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks reached $8.9 million, both in their fourth weekends.

Animated blockbuster Frozen banked $775,000 in its sixth outing, elevating its total to $33 million.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, plunged by 50% to $693,000, a typical drop for a genre film, pocketing $2.74 million in 11 days.

Remarkably, two titles defied the downward trend as both added screens. Stephen Frears’ Philomena lifted its takings by 16% to $677,000 in its sixth frame, boosting its haul to $9.2 million.

Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man improved by 13% to $375,000 in its sixth chapter, scoring $6.3 million to date.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE Jan 30- Feb 2

 

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

The Wolf of Wall Street

2/325

$3,749,908

-27

$12,057,024

2

12 Years a Slave

1/121

1,159,222

NA

1,729,546

3

The Book Thief

4/262

1,095,732

-27

11,063,816

4

Frozen

6/250

775,956

-63

33,035,095

5

Saving Mr. Banks 

4/250

700,956

-50

8,949,563

6

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

2/206

 693,349

-50

2,744,029

7

Philomena

6/193

677,284

+16

9,206,884

8

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

3/235

570,382

-43

5,146,336

9

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

6/202

514,195

-43

37,622,425

10

47 Ronin

3/222

475,163

-42

4,180,171

 

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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