Roland Emmerich’s last highly profitable blockbuster – 2012 in 2009 – must seem like a distant memory for the German-born director as his latest effort, Midway, had an inglorious debut in Australian cinemas last weekend.

By contrast, Terrence Malick has only ever had one break-out hit, The Thin Red Line in 1998, and his new film A Hidden Life is another dud, following Song to Song and Knight of Cups.

The weekend’s other new wide release, Sony Pictures’ second reboot of Japanese horror franchise The Grudge, flopped, mirroring its US fate. Among the specialised titles, Rialto’s The Peanut Butter Falcon and Icon’s Seberg had minimal impact.

The top 20 titles clocked $13.5 million, 26 per cent down on the previous frame, according to Numero.

Sony’s juggernaut Bad Boys for Life reigned again, nabbing $2.1 million in its third outing, hoisting the total to $14.6 million. The cop caper starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, co-directed by Belgians Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, has amassed $291 million worldwide, eclipsing Bad Boy 2’s $271 million.

Still basking in its 10 Oscar nominations, Sam Mendes’ 1917 drummed up nearly $1.7 million in its fourth, delivering $16.6 million for Universal. The WW1 epic starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman has hauled in $119.2 million in the US and $129.8 million in the rest of the world.

Midway boasts an attractive ensemble cast in Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson, but the retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbour and ensuing Battle of Midway didn’t arouse cinemagoers, making $1.15 million on 282 screens for Roadshow.

Released in the US by Lionsgate the WW2 movie took a decent $20.5 million in its first four days in November but petered out with $56.8 million.

Universal’s Dolittle advanced to $9.6 million after ringing up $1.05 million in its third stanza, outperforming the US where Stephen Gaghan’s family action comedy has earned $55.2 million.

Horror-master Sam Raimi produced and Nicholas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother, Piercing) directed The Grudge but that was no guarantee of success as the movie starring Andrea Riseborough and Demian Bichir picked up $695,000 on 173 screens and $758,000 with previews. The saving grace: The budget was a mere $10 million and the US gross is $20.8 million.

Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen reached $12.6 million after adding $683,000 in its fifth for Roadshow. The gangland dramedy starring Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding and Michelle Dockery has pocketed a nifty $20.4 million in nine days in the US.


Director Marielle Heller’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood eased by just 24 per cent to $673,000 in its second frame, generating $2.3 million for Sony. The drama starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers and Matthew Rhys as the troubled reporter assigned to write a profile of the children’s TV host has taken a fair $61.1 million in the US.

Jay Roach’s Bombshell advanced to $4.9 million after scoring $652,000 in its third for Studiocanal. That compares well with the US where the movie starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow stands at $30.8 million.

Sony’s blockbuster Jumanji: The Next Level hit $44.9 million after making $621,000 in its sixth. Jake Kasdan’s action fantasy has collared $754.8 million worldwide with international contributing $463.6 million.

The same studio’s Little Women garnered $573,000 in its fifth and its cume topped $14 million. Greta Gerwig’s romantic drama is a global hit, raking in $162.9 million.

Written and directed by Michael Schwartz and Tyler Nilson and starring Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson and Zack Gottsagen, The Peanut Butter Falcon took $93,000 on 44 screens and $177,000 including festivals.

The drama about a young man with Down syndrome who runs away from a nursing home to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler struck a chord in the US, grossing $20.4 million for Roadside Attractions.

Based on true events, A Hidden Life follows an Austrian farmer turned WW2 conscientious objector (August Diehl) who refused to fight the Nazis. An interesting concept, but the Disney release scraped up $55,000 on 22 screens and $71,000 with previews. That’s no surprise as the Fox Searchlight title was spurned by US audiences, finishing with $1.7 million.

Aussie director Benedict Andrews’ Seberg, which stars Kristen Stewart as French New Wave icon Jean Seberg, whose life and career were destroyed by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, garnered $54,000 on 78 screens and $63,000 with advance screenings.

Summing up the weekend, Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly said A Hidden Life, The Peanut Butter Falcon and Seberg struggled to connect, observing: “Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life fared best but with the zeitgeist still heavily focused on the Academy Awards it appears that the charming Peanut Butter Falcon won’t repeat the word of mouth success that propelled its US release.”

Remarkably, Parasite was the top-grossing film at Cinema Nova in its 32nd week, fanned by the six Oscar nominations, generating $108,000 at the weekend on 24 screens and $2.6 million for Madman Entertainment.

The Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace brought back Parasite and GM Alex Temesvari says it and Knives Out, both playing on one session a day, beat Malick’s film and The Peanut Butter Falcon.

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