With three titles boasting weekend takings of more than $1 million, the theatrical market seems to be approaching something close to normal.
The much anticipated Venom: Let There Be Carnage had an impressive first weekend out the gates, ringing up $6.5 million for Sony from 595 screens; an average of $10,886 per theatre.
Starring Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams and Woody Harrelson, the superhero sequel is already on $US469 million worldwide – Australia being one of the last major markets to release the film. Not too shabby for a title that is said to have a $US110 million budget.
No Time To Die continued to perform in its third weekend, generating $3.9 million to advance to $26.5 million. The Bond title will easily overtake Godzilla vs. Kong, which finished on $27.9 million, to become the highest grossing film of 2021 so far.
Universal stablemate The Boss Baby: Family Business bowed to $1 million from 313 screens. With previews, the title is tracking at $1.5 million. While some exhibitors have regarded this launch a little soft, there is the expectation it will find its audience with families into the school holidays.
According to Numero, the top 20 titles garnered $13.3 million, up 22 per cent on the previous weekend.
That result does not include Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, which while being distributed by Transmission Films is not releasing figures ahead of its Netflix debut this week. However, exhibitors screening the film report respectable holds.
For Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell, last weekend was the first outside Christmas and Easter that felt in “normal” terms of crowds. He observes there is a layering effect in having titles that reached across major demographics – mature adults in No Time To Die, young adults with Venom 2 and families/children with Boss Baby 2.
Next week holds further promise promise again, with Universal’s Dune finally landing locally, alongside Disney’s anticipated animated film Encanto.
“We’re very excited for the release of Dune this week, and our pre-sales are strong for a science-fiction film,” Village Cinemas national programming manager Geoff Chard tells IF.
“We also have the release of Encanto which just launched to a respectable $40 million five-day weekend in the US.”
Dell echoes the sentiment, stating: “Encanto will give us another option for families leading into Christmas, with the US having an encouraging result over Thanksgiving, and Dune is long awaited by fans, although regional areas do struggle a little with high-brow sci-fi so it may not be as big for us as in the metro areas. But certainly a must see on the big screen.”
Some are also already excited by December 16’s Spider-man: No Way Home, including Village, with Chard noting pre-sales went on sale this morning and have already “blitzed all expectations.”
“This film is definitely going to be the must-see film of summer,” he says.
In fourth spot at the box office was Disney’s Eternals, which mustered $729,430 in its fourth frame, a dip of 69 per cent. Overall, the Chloé Zhao-directed Marvel film is just shy of $14 million.
Studiocanal’s A Boy Called Christmas, which features Maggie Smith, Kristian Wiig Jim Broadbent and Toby Jones alongside newcomer Henry Lawfull, opened to just $312,591 from 233 screens, or $515,668 with previews. However, this is another title exhibitors predict will pick up as it gets closer to the holidays.
Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho tumbled 56 per cent in its second frame, tallying just $188,074. The Anya Taylor-Joy-starrer is now on $871,320.
Indian actioner Antim: The Final Truth opened to $117,984 from 68 screens for Zee Studios, just ahead of Disney’s Ron’s Gone Wrong, which earned $107,450 in its fifth, advancing to $2.7 million.
Another Indian title, sci-fi actioner Maanaadu, opened well for MKS Retail, gathering $71,463 from just 18 screens.
Rounding out the top 10 was Cinema Live’s Cliff Richard: The Great 80 Tour, with the concert film – captured live at London’s Royal Albert Hall – collecting $70,860 from 78 screens.
In local film, last weekend finally saw Madeleine Martiniello’s Palazzo Di Cozzo open in Melbourne. It was the number one new opener at Carlton’s Cinema Nova, with CEO Kristian Connelly reporting it built on positive word of mouth day-on-day across the weekend.