Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys in ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood.’

Given Tom Hanks’ enduring popularity and his Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, the film’s opening figures last weekend were nothing special.

However, exhibitors are confident that word-of-mouth will build on the back of largely positive reviews, resulting in a leggy run for the Sony Pictures release which stars Hanks as Fred Rogers, the much-loved US children’s TV host.

Among the other newcomers, Paramount’s comedy Like a Boss, Warner Bros’ social justice drama Just Mercy and Fox/Disney’s action movie Underwater performed as expected, which isn’t saying much.

Owen Trevor’s GO! didn’t get much uplift in its second weekend, making $198,000 on 238 screens, which brings the 12-day total for the Roadshow release to $808,000.

The top 20 titles harvested $18.1 million including the Monday Australia Day holiday, according to Numero.

Sony’s Bad Boys for Life reigned again, grabbing $4.3 million in its second outing. The cop caper starring Smith and Martin Lawrence directed by Belgians Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah has clocked $11.9 million here, $120.6 million in the US and $95 million in the rest of the world.

Universal’s Dolittle starring Robert Downey in the role made famous by Rex Harrison in the 1967 original and the 1998 version starring Eddie Murphy rang up $2.73 million in its second, advancing to $7.9 million. Pro-rata, that is outperforming the US where director Stephen Gaghan’s VFX-laden family action comedy has mustered $44.3 million.

Those 10 Oscar nominations and Producers Guild of America award for best picture continue to pay off for Sam Mendes’ 1917, which drummed up $2.72 million in its third stanza and $14.4 million thus far for Universal. The WW1 epic starring George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman has generated $104 million after its third weekend wide in the US and $98.4 million in the rest of the world.

Sony’s juggernaut Jumanji: The Next Level ascended to $43.9 million after scoring $1.7 million in its fifth frame. Jake Kasdan’s action fantasy has amassed $738 million worldwide, with $454 million from international markets.

Directed by Marielle Heller and focusing on the relationship between Hanks’ Rogers and Matthew Ryhs as a cynical journalist assigned to write a magazine profile on him, A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood drew $1.1 million in five days and $1.3 million including advance screenings.

Considering the warm reviews, word-of-mouth and the fact that Rogers and his TV show are virtually unknown here, exhibitors are quite encouraged.

“It’s such a wonderful film with a timely and universal message. I really hope it finds the biggest possible audience,” says Alex Temesvari, GM of the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace. In the US the biopic budgeted at a modest $25 million has bagged $60.9 million since November.

Bombshell, the Jay Roach-directed drama depicting the sexual harassment at Fox News which ended the career of Roger Ailes, collected $1.1 million in its second, making $4.1 million thus far for Studiocanal. That compares well with the US where the movie starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow stands at $30.2 million.

Greta Gerwig’s Little Women has nabbed an impressive $13.1 million after pocketing $1 million in its fourth for Sony. The $40 million romantic drama has generated $147 million worldwide with overseas contributing $53 million and 50 per cent of international ahead.

Starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and Salma Hayek, Like a Boss collared $982,000 in five days and $1.2 million with previews, tracking about the same as the US where the Miguel Arteta-directed comedy has taken a meagre $20.5 million since January 10.

Destin Daniel Cretton’s Just Mercy, which stars Michael B Jordan as a young civil rights defence attorney who works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner (Jamie Foxx) fetched $942,000 and $1 million with previews, in line with the modest US takings of $27 million since January 10.

Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen reached $11.7 million after adding $916,000 in its fourth for Roadshow. The gangland dramedy starring Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding and Michelle Dockery launched in the US last weekend, grabbing a solid $10.7 million.

A disaster in the US, William Eubank’s deep sea drama Underwater met the same fate here, scraping up $319,000 on 144 screens, Kirsten Stewart’s second dud following Charlie’s Angels.

That was no surprise to Wallis Cinemas’ newly installed programming manager David Simpson, who told IF: “Underwater didn’t really know its place. Was it (trying to be) The Abyss, or Alien?”

Summing up the weekend, Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly says: “It was another stellar weekend at Cinema Nova with the key Oscar nominees all enjoying considerable interest. Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, Little Women and 1917 took the top four slots while Nova exclusive documentary Fantastic Fungi was thoroughly embraced by the mycologist crowd.”

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