BO Report: ‘Argylle’ wins a quiet weekend

'Argylle'. (Photo © Universal Pictures)

AppleTV+’s latest $US200 million blockbuster Argylle was declared a flop in the US after a $US18 million start at the box office, but Australian audiences were a little warmer towards the film.

Here, Matthew Vaughn’s spy actioner, distributed theatrically by Universal, opened at no. 1 with $2.3 million from 500 screens, or $2.4 million with previews, putting this market ahead, pro-rata, of North America.

Argylle, on which Apple reportedly had hoped to build a franchise, packs a bumper cast including Bryce Dallas Howard, Dua Lipa, Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, John Cena, Ariana DeBose, Catherine O’Hara, Samuel L. Jackson and Bryan Cranston. Globally takings are $US35 million and critics have savaged the film, seeing it sport just a 35 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, audience reviews are more favourable, at 71 per cent.

Argylle opened more than respectably, and comfortably beat the US pro-rata – our patrons loved it. It is silly and fun, but maybe that’s what the world needs now! I’m not sure what the critics who savaged it were thinking, but audiences love it,” Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell tells IF.

Village Entertainment head of content Geoff Chard tells IF the film performed well for it in Gold Class.

“The opening of Argylle was a little under where were expecting it to be, however it over-indexed significantly to the US,” he says.

It was a quiet weekend overall, with school holidays now over across the country. Numero data puts the top 20 titles at $7.3 million, down 36 per cent on the previous.

The only other new release to make the top 10 was episodes one and two of season four The Chosen, a US Christian TV drama about the life of Jesus, which Crossroads opened on 111 screens for $225,206, or $227,411 with previews.

This weekend looks brighter, with the official start of local film Force of Nature: The Dry 2 on Thursday. Director Robert Connolly and star Eric Bana have been doing Q&A screenings across the country the last few weeks.

Chard says solid advance bookings are already in place for the film, particularly for Valentine’s Day next week, while Dell reports previews have been strong, and that the chain has been fielding questions about the film from patrons, positioning it well for opening weekend.

“It was always going to be a quieter weekend coming off the summer holiday period, but with Argylle and previews for Force of Nature, as well as good support on the weekend for the family films playing on, and Oscar contenders like Poor Things and other older skewing movies like Priscilla and One Life starting or continuing at our sites, there was something for everyone – even those who wanted to see Jesus in The Chosen season 4, which was popular at some of our sites,” Dell says.

Of the holdovers, Sony’s Anyone But You came in second position with a sixth frame result of $756,400 pushing the Sydney-set rom-com to $19.5 million.

In at third was actioner The Beekeeper, which drew $530,825 in its fourth, moving to $6.7 million.

Now eight weekends in, Warner Bros.’ Wonka reached $37.6 million after pocketing an additional $479,582. Paramount’s Mean Girls took $391,837 in its fourth, moving it to $9.1 million, while Uni’s Migration, drew $363,055 in its sixth, advancing to $15.1 million.

Bollywood actioner Fighter, distributed by Mindblowing Films, dropped 76 per cent in its sophomore weekend to $289,137, and now tallies $1.7 million overall.

Oscar hopeful Anatomy of a Fall held well for Madman, dipping just 24 per cent in its second weekend to $260,694 – a result that puts the French drama across the $1 million mark.

Coming in at no. 9, ahead of The Chosen was Roadshow’s The Iron Claw, which took $233,080 in its third, putting it just shy of $2 million.

All Australian box office is via Numero.