Any Questions For Ben? slips 50 per cent in second weekend

Rob Sitch comedy Any Questions For Ben? has slipped 50 per cent in its second weekend at the box office.

Working Dog’s latest project – following the incredibly popular past hits The Castle and The Dish – grossed a disappointing $302,421 from 235 screens over the weekend, earning it a screen average of just $1287. Last weekend it opened with $608,731.

Distributor Roadshow kept Any Questions for Ben? on 235 screens – the same as opening weekend – however, the film failed to generate positive word-of-mouth while negative reviews also did not help its cause.

The film, also starring Rachael Taylor and Daniel Henshall, follows Ben (Lawson) who suffers a quarter-life crisis after being asked to speak at his school’s career night. Sitch directed the comedy and co-wrote along with Tom Gleisner (The Hollowmen, Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures) and Santo Cilauro (Frontline, Thank God You’re Here).

Stephan Elliott’s comedy A Few Best Men also suffered a 64 per cent drop over the weekend, grossing $195,547 from 195 screens after opening on Australia Day (January 26). The Icon-distributed flick has now passed the $5 million mark at the local box office.

Paramount/Transmission-distributed film Shame, a controversial tale by Hunger’s Steve McQueen, grossed another $111,202 across 30 screens. The UK film is produced by Sydney’s Emile Sherman, who netted an Oscar for The King’s Speech.

In other box office news, The Vow continued its strong run at the top of the local box office, adding another $1.98 million from its 217 screens for Sony Pictures. The romantic drama, which also opened at number one in the US, features Australia’s Sam Neill.

This Means War’s $1.96 million saw it open at number two over the weekend for distributor Fox. The romantic comedy/action film, starring Reece Witherspoon, is helmed by McG (Terminator Salvation).

Action film Safe House (Universal, $1.5 million, 234 screens), Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (3D) (Fox, $790,673, 179 screens) and Liam Neeson’s latest action flick The Grey (Icon, $785,722, 150 screens) rounded off the top five for the weekend.

The latter is about an oil drilling team who’s hunted by a pack of wolves after a plane crash has left them stranded. It did better than expected at the US box office when it opened at number one late last month, grossing almost $US20 million. It was Open Road Films’ second ever release after Killer Elite (see below).

My Week With Marilyn and One For The Money both opened at number seven and eight for Roadshow, grossing $499,683 (70 screens) and $455,202 (147 screens) respectively.

Australian film 6 Plots, distributed by Rialto Entertainment, opens this week. Starring IF Award winner Ryan Corr with Emily Wheaten, Andrew Clarke and PJ Lane, the psychological thriller sees seven high school friends partying one night when the next morning one member of the group is told that her friends have been buried alive and it’s up to her to find them.

Australian action film Killer Elite, starring Robert De Niro, Clive Owen and Jason Statham, also makes its way Down Under on Thursday. The $80 million flick, which was financed by Omnilab Media, had a disappointing run in the US through distributor Open Road Films after it opened last September. It grossed $US25 million domestically and so far, worldwide, has taken almost $US53 million.

Other films opening this week include Contraband (Universal), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Warner Bros), Gone (eOne), Late Bloomers (Palace), Tyrannosaur (Madman) and Jodi Breakers (Mind Blowing Films).

Australian films at the box office 2012

  1. No to obligated Aussie content
    As an Australian producer, it might seem counter inituative, but I’m strongly opposed to enshining in legislation or regulation a bias towards any particular cultural-specific content.
    Why perpetuate a system that gives us a swag of Aussie-made films that are just not cutting it at the BO. And why? Because the very audiences that they are intended to appeal to are rejecting it for a host of reasons, but principally, because they just don’t ring true for many of us.
    Yes, it might have artistic/cultural/social/historical/political merit, but if people are connecting with the characters up on the screen, then you can’t force them too. Nobody can.
    Screen Australia and the other government-backed, tax-payer funded agencies, the professional associations, educational institutions all need to re-think what makes for good story telling. At the heart of any great story is a universal truth, that transcends cultural, place and time. We are a young, immature country, that is still trying to grasp what it really means to be Australian, and those two platforms will are portals through which anyone can have a go, and if they hit a nerve with a bigger audience, well good on them.
    There is a lot of self-interest from a small group of well-healed companies and organisations that suck off the creative folk in this country for their own purposes, to justify their existence. There are also an equally large number of generous souls who quietly go about trying to change that situation and empower creatives to build good careers and sustainable businesses in this country. Perhaps the truth is we simply have to many creatives trying to stratch out a living pursuing the dream of making that great Aussie film or tv show, whatever that means. But many of us should be thinking seriously about a career change or to put our energies into something that is really going to contribute to a greater insight into the Australian experience.

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