BO Report: Dull December trading despite ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘The Good Liar’

‘The Addams Family.’

It’s been a slow start to December at Australian cinemas despite decent debuts last weekend by Universal’s animated comedy The Addams Family and Warner Bros’ British suspense thriller The Good Liar.

But business should accelerate with the December 19 launch of Disney/Fox’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker followed by the Boxing Day releases of Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level (which opened at No 1 in 16 markets in Europe and Asia last weekend) and Fox Searchlight/Disney’s Jojo Rabbit.

The top 20 titles harvested $12.3 million last weekend, down 25 per cent on the previous frame, according to Numero.

The Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen II continued its reign, raking in $5.4 million in its second weekend, hoisting the total to $17.2 million. The sequel co-directed by the original’s Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee has amassed $920 million worldwide, poised to overtake Shrek 2’s $923 million to rank as the 12th biggest animated title of all time.

The Walt Disney Studios’ global takings will hit an unprecedented $10 billion in the next day or two: $3.2 billion in the US and $6.7 billion internationally. That eclipsed the previous worldwide record of $7.6 billion posted by Disney in 2016.

Buoyed by strong word-of-mouth, Studiocanal’s Knives Out ranked second, scoring $1.8 million in its second outing and $5.6 million thus far. The hip whodunit from writer-director Rian Johnson has mustered a nifty $63.4 million after 10 days in the US.

Co-directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan, The Addams Family drew $1.2 million on 278 screens including previews, positioned to cash in on the school holidays until the next animated title, Disney/Fox’s Spies in Disguise, arrives on New Year’s Day.

The TV series spin-off, which inspired the 1991 live-action Paramount movie that starred the late Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston, has bagged $96.5 million in the US and $88.6 million in the rest of the world.

Oscar Isaac voices Gomez with Charlize Theron as Morticia, Chloë Grace Moretz as Wednesday, Finn Wolfhard as Pugsley, Nick Kroll as Uncle Fester and Bette Midler as grandma.

Disney/Fox’s Ford v Ferrari raced along to $8.4 million after pocketing $767,000 in its fourth lap. The James Mangold-directed sports drama has whipped up $91 million in the US and $168.9 million globally.

The first-ever on-screen pairing of Dame Helen Mirren and Sir Ian McKellen was one good reason to see The Good Liar. Another was the clever screenplay which follows McKellen’s Roy and Mirren’s Betty, who play a deadly serious cat-and-mouse game after meeting through an online dating service.

The thriller directed by Bill Condon snared $746,000 on 282 screens and $934,000 with previews, outperforming the $5.6 million US debut, where it ran out of puff after making $16.1 million.

The Good Liar was always going to over-perform locally, given Roadshow had identified its broader appeal and subsequently got behind it – plus there is real marquee appeal by uniting these two performers on-screen,” says Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly.

Universal’s romantic drama Last Christmas advanced to $8.7 million after adding $612,000 in its fifth.

Sony’s Charlie’s Angels staggered along to $4.5 million on the back of its $221,000 fourth weekend. The Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot has mustered feeble $38.4 million in the US.

Todd Phillips’ Joker topped $40 million after fetching $194,000 in its 10th. The WB/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios’ blockbuster has amassed $1.055 billion worldwide.

Roadshow’s charming English comedy musical Fisherman’s Friends netted $157,000 in its third, banking nearly $1.5 million.

Surveying the weekend, Wallis Cinemas consultant Bob Parr tells IF: “I was hoping for more with The Addams Family, especially Saturday/Sunday, given that Frozen 2 is in week 2. The Good Liar is perfect for our market and the patrons are loving it.”

Majestic Cinemas MD Kieren Dell says: “It is fair to say we are a little bit under where we would like to be but we think the last half of December will more than compensate.

Frozen II and The Addams Family releasing before holidays have started means they are a bit softer than they might be, but as schools start to go on holidays or students come in for screenings, we will see this family and kids content start to arc up over the next few weeks.”