Simon Baker’s coming-of-age drama Breath opened in third spot in Australian cinemas last weekend behind the Marvel/Disney blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War and I Feel Pretty, perhaps not fully reaping the benefit of the consistent critical acclaim since its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
While the adaptation of Tim Winton’s novel, which stars newcomers Samson Coulter and Ben Spence alongside Baker, Elizabeth Debicki and Richard Roxburgh, had a reasonably good per-screen average of $4,100, word-of-mouth is likely to mean a lengthy run. Baker’s award for best feature film director at the ADG awards is the latest accolade.
The top 20 titles collectively harvested $16 million, plunging by 45 per cent from the previous weekend, according to Numero.
John V Soto’s sci-fi thriller The Gateway struggled for air on limited release, prompting the filmmaker to regret opening the film one week after Avengers: Infinity War and against Breath.
Among the other new titles, Chinese thriller A or B registered strongly while Indian imports Daana Paani, 102 Not Out and Naa Peru Surya fared OK and New Zealand drama Broken misfired.
Paul Damien Williams’ Gurrumul, the bio on the late Indigenous musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, fetched $71,000 in its second weekend on 28 screens, easing by just 16 per cent. The Madman Entertainment release has banked a decent $402,000.
Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity Wars rang up $10.2 million in Oz, tumbling by 52 per cent after its stellar opening weekend (the second biggest of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens), propelling the total to $45.6 million.
Globally, the superhero adventure starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Josh Brolin and Chadwick Boseman rocketed to an estimated $US1.16 billion, the fastest title ever to cross $US1 billion. The estimated US total is $US451 million.
Amy Schumer’s comedy/drama I Feel Pretty is sporting strong legs, whistling up $1 million in its third weekend, falling by 32 per cent. The eOne release advanced to $7.3 million, pro-rata tracking well ahead of the US where it’s grossed $37.8 million.
Roadshow launched Breath on 244 screens, ringing up $1 million and $1.18 million with previews. It was the No. 1 title at Cinema Nova (which isn’t playing the Marvel blockbuster) and general manager Kristian Connelly expects it to reach six figures at his location before the end of this month.
“The film should hold well in the coming weeks as we saw admissions build quickly as the weekend progressed following a unexceptional opening day, reinforcing the notion that audiences tend to ‘wade in’ to see local content rather than ‘dive in’ for studio blockbusters,” Connelly tells IF.
Wallis Cinemas Bob Parr says: “With Australian product we always hope for good results, especially when the film is good and Simon and the Roadshow team did so well getting exposure. I am hoping it is a little like Guernsey, which has great word-of-mouth and holding well. “
Mike Newell’s WW2 romance/thriller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society topped $4 million after earning $673,000 in its third weekend for StudioCanal, slipping by 25 per cent.
Paramount’s break-out A Quiet Place reached $11.2 million after collecting $619,000 in its fifth weekend. Australia ranks as the second biggest market internationally for the near-silent horror movie directed by and co-starring John Krasinski, behind the UK’s $15.1 million. The worldwide total is $255.3 million, not a bad return for a $17 million budget.
Brad Peyton’s Rampage, the action/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy inspired by the video game, climbed to $8.3 million after taking $291,000 in its fourth weekend. The Warner Bros. release has raked in $293.1 million internationally, which helps to compensate for the mediocre $84.8 million US total.
Sony has just greenlit a sequel to Animal Logic Entertainment/Sony’s Peter Rabbit, which has hauled in $326.7 million worldwide, including $25.9 million in seven weeks in Oz.
Wes Anderson’s futuristic Isle of Dogs drew $147,000 in its fourth outing on 88 screens, generating a respectable $2.5 million for Fox.
Paramount’s animated family pic Sherlock Gnomes is nearing the end of its run, pocketing $139,000 in its fifth weekend as it advanced to a tidy $6.2 million.
Punjabi director Tarnvir Singh Jagpal’s drama Daana Paani, which stars Jimmy Sheirgill and Simi Chahal, fetched $120,000 on 25 screens for Forum Films.
Director Pengyuan Ren’s A or B, the tale of a shonky investor who awakes one morning to find he is trapped in his home with no mobile reception while his kidnapper makes demands via a walkie-talkie, made $106,000 on 17 screens for Tangren/Madman.
Naa Peru Surya, a Vakkantham Vamsi-directed action thriller starring Allu Arjun, took $96,000 on 28 for Southern Star.
Released by Mind Blowing Films, 102 Not Out, a comedy-drama which features Amitabh Bachchan as a guy who, at 102, wants to break the record of the oldest living man, and Rishi Kapoor as his son who has other ideas, mustered $97,000 on 35.
The directing debut of Kiwi pastor Tarry Mortlock, Broken follows a former gang leader Logan (Josh Calles), whose daughter is murdered by a rival gang, forcing him to choose between vengeance and forgiveness. An interesting premise, but the Rialto release garnered just $59,000 on 24 screens.
The Gateway stars Jacqueline McKenzie as a particle physicist still grieving over the loss of her husband in a car crash who uses a revolutionary machine to bring him back, with dire consequences for her family.
The thriller had some positive reviews but went out on limited sessions on eight screens, released by The Backlot, taking $14,000 including previews.
“In hindsight, releasing the week after the Avengers alongside Breath was clearly not the right strategy for our small release,” Soto tells IF from London, where The Gateway just won the audience award for best film at the Sci-Fi London film festival.
“Coupled with the fact that our film is one of the most pirated movies worldwide, that certainly hurt our theatrical release chances.”
On the upside, the title is performing strongly on home entertainment in North America, Soto has two offers on the table from Chinese distributors and is in talks for deals in other territories.