Australian directors rule box office

By Simon de Bruyn

Eric Bana’s documentary Love the Beast has opened well, with the Madman-distributed film scoring the best opening weekend for a local doco since Bra Boys two years ago.

Opening at number 11 on the box office charts, Love the Beast took $242,000 on 59 screens, for a total of $284,000 taken since the film started previews on 48 screens last weekend.

This is the biggest opening weekend for an Australian doco since Bra Boys took $390,479 in March 2007.

It is also far higher than last year’s Madman doco Not Quite Hollywood, which opened on roughly the same number of screens but only took $63,000 on its first weekend.

It was a strong weekend at the box office for Australian directors. Expats Stephan Elliot and PJ Hogan also had films opening over the weekend. Elliot’s Easy Virtue topped the limited release charts with $336,000, while Hogan’s Confessions of a Shopaholic topped the major charts, with a whopping $2,749,412 on 309 screens.

Losing five screens since last week, David Field’s controversial gang drama The Combination took $73,000 on 29 screens over the weekend for a total of $551,000.

Disney distributed Perth boxing drama Two Fists, One Heart also did sneaks, but Disney is expected to roll these results into the main ones when the $8.5 million film opens next week.

The only poor performance came from Beautiful, which despite glossy print ads nationally and a lot of coverage in home state South Australia, could only add $7,478 on 20 screens, for a total of $43,000.

2009 Australian films at the box office
Film  Budget (est)   Distributor   Opening w/e   Box Office 
The Combination  $   1,320,000  AFS   $       188,054  $   550,727
Love the Beast    Madman   $       241,982  $   284,222
Beautiful  $   2,000,000  Kojo/Jump Street   $         22,406  $     42,566
Two Fists, One Heart  $   8,500,000  Disney   previews   withheld 

Source: Inside Film with MPDAA stats