Surprising results at Australian cinemas

20 January, 2014 by Don Groves

Occasionally the Australian box-office produces results that the trade doesn’t expect: the latest examples are last weekend’s debuts by 47 Ronin and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

A 3D action-adventure set in mythical Japan about a half-breed slave (Keanu Reeves) who joins a band of samurai in a quest for vengeance, 47 Ronin collared $1.77 million, the highest per-location average ($9,700) of any wide release.

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That’s rather better than most executives- apart from distributor Universal- had expected, particularly in view of the lousy US figure of $US37.6 million. The budget reportedly was $175 million- a rash amount to entrust to first-time feature director Carl Rinsch- so the studio will probably take a sizable hit.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, which has Chris Pine taking over the role played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, nabbed $2.1 million in four days plus $46,000 on Wednesday night previews at five screens.

Pro-rata that’s a stronger opening than in the US where the Kenneth Branagh-directed action thriller took a measly $15.6 million last weekend. Both titles benefitted from a gap in the market for male-skewing action fare, although Jack Ryan clearly has a broader appeal.

Overall Australian takings amounted to $18.7 million, just 3% down on the prior weekend. Disney’s animated blockbuster Frozen ruled the roost, raking in $2.5 million in its fourth outing, and $27.7 million to date.

Strong word of mouth sustained WWII drama The Book Thief, which fetched $2.16 million in its second weekend (off 11%), propelling its total to $6.2 million.

Disney's Saving Mr. Banks eased by 21% to $1.78 million in its second outing, taking its tally to a sturdy $5.5 million.

The 10 Academy Award nominations for American Hustle had a palpable effect as the comedy-drama rose by 2% to $689,000 in its sixth weekend, banking $11.3 million thus far.

Jonathan Teplitzy’s The Railway Man advanced to $5 million after pocketing $481,000 in its fourth frame, down by just 16%.

Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, which stars Oscar Isaac as a fictional folk singer in New York in the 1960s, rang up $245,000 on 32 screens. That’s a decent but not dazzling opening for the directors of True Grit and No Country for Old Men.

Spike Jonze’s Her , which features Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely writer who becomes enamoured of a computer-generated voice (Scarlett Johansson), launched on the same number of screens and delivered $303,000.

Still, maybe those figures aren’t so surprising given Llewyn Davis has earned $11.1 million in the US while Her has conjured up $15 million after three weeks on limited screens and two weekends of wide release.

Mind Blowing Films'  Dhoom 3 is now the highest-earning Bollywood film ever in Australia with $1.7 million, surpassing the same distributor's 3 Idiots.
 

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE Jan 16-19

 

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

Frozen

4/380

$2,564,465

-18

$27,699,584

2

The Book Thief

2/250

2,158,730

-11

6,226,148

3

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit  

1/267

2,118,402

NA

2,166,293

4

Saving Mr. Banks

2/272

1,776,790

-21

5,484,146

5

47 Ronin

1/324

1,773,255

NA

1,773,255

6

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

4/500

1,741,796

-41

34,780,340

7

Free Birds

2/268

1,048,715

-4

3,271,597

8

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

4/233

832,948

-43

12,570,697

9

American Hustle

6/131

688,970

-+2

11,286,841

10

Philomena

4/131

678,765

-19

7,041,817

 

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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