Aussie box-office gets the staggers

Ticket sales at Australian cinemas this year are running at about 7 per cent below the same period in 2012 despite strong trading in January and April, weighed down by relatively soft results in February and March.

Takings for the May 16-19 frame totalled just under $9.5 million, down 22 per cent on the prior weekend, as Star Trek Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 dominated the business. “The market is rather shallow with no robust depth below the top two titles,” observed one distributor.

Of the debutants, The Call, the female-skewed thriller starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin, overshadowed the male-oriented Dwayne Johnson drama Snitch.

Outside the top 10, Tabu, the African-set melodrama from Portuguese auteur Miguel Gomes, posted a healthy $73,000 on 12 screens, which brings the cumulative total to nearly $160,000. 

Josh Boone’s US indie romantic drama A Place for Me, which stars Greg Kinnear and Jennifer Connelly as a divorced couple, was misplaced, taking $67,000 on 32 screens. 

Rave reviews for English director Rufus Norris’ brutally violent drama Broken set in North London and starring Tim Roth failed to spark interest as the film earned $32,000 on 10 screens.

Drift, the 1970s-set Aussie surfing drama, continues to swim against the tide despite Sam Worthington’s supporting actor role and some positive reviews. The $11.4 million film co-directed by Morgan O’Neill and Ben Nott has earned $727,000 after its third weekend and won’t reach $1 million. It seems the combination of surfing, drugs and the beach culture of the 70s did not resonate with cinemagoers.