Fifty Shades Freed.
The law of diminishing returns applies to the Fifty Shades franchise as the final edition of the trilogy opened much lower than the predecessor but commanded the top spots in Australia, the US and more than 50 other markets.
The fourth chapter of the Insidious franchise co-created by Leigh Whannell and James Wan drew plenty of genre fans in Oz while Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris is a low mark in the director’s stellar career.
Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country grossed $195,000 in its third weekend, rising by 20 per cent after Transmission expanded the release from 42 to 73 screens. The period Western starring Hamilton Morris, Sam Neill, Bryan Brown and Matt Day has earned a respectable $912,000.
Stephan Elliott’s Swinging Safari is on its last legs, earning $1.49 million after its fourth frame for the Becker Film Group.
The top 20 titles harvested $14.1 million last weekend, a 2 per cent uptick on the prior weekend according to Numero.
Directed by James Foley, Fifty Shades Freed fetched $4.6 million at 304 locations and $6.1 million with previews for Universal. That compares with Fifty Shades Darker’s $6.1 million debut and $7.5 million including previews a year ago.
Pro-rata, the Australian opening is better than the US’s $38.5 million. Still, comparisons are probably academic considering the trilogy starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson has amassed $1.08 billion worldwide.
Aussie director Michael Gracey’s The Greatest Showman is showing great legs, whistling up $1.1 million in its seventh outing for Fox, off just 27 per cent, which brings the total to $27.9 million.
Fellow Aussie Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya drummed up $1 million in its third weekend, easing by a moderate 32 per cent. The biopic on disgraced American figure skater Tonya Harding starring Margot Robbie has raked in $6.2 million for Roadshow.
Directed by series’ newcomer Adam Robitel, Insidious: The Final Key rang up $820,000 at 143 locations and $882,000 including advance screenings for Sony. The supernatural thriller starring Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, Whannell, Josh Stewart and Caitlin Gerard has generated nearly $162 million worldwide including $67 million in the US- a handsome return on a $10 million budget.
Word of mouth evidently is lousy for Christian Gudegast’s heist thriller Den of Thieves, which plunged by 49 per cent in its second weekend, taking $681,000. The film starring Gerard Butler, 50 Cent, Pablo Schreiber and O’Shea Jackson Jr. has scored $2.3 million for Roadshow.
Sony’s blockbuster Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle flew to $47.3 million after grabbing $635,000 in its seventh weekend as its global haul topped $882 million.
Molly’s Game, the feature directing debut of screenwriter Adam Sorkin set in the world of high-stakes poker, may be a bit esoteric for mainstream tastes despite the powerful performances of Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba. The drama fetched $548,000 in its second weekend, down 47 per cent, banking $2.3 million for eOne.
Among the Oscar contenders, Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri advanced to $8.8 million after making $531,000 in its sixth frame for Fox.
With a best actor Oscar almost in the bag for Gary Oldman, director Joe Wright’s WW2 drama Darkest Hour collected $456,000 in its fifth sojourn for Universal, reaching $5.9 million.
A Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Pictures coproduction, The 15:17 to Paris is based on the true story of the three young Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack on a train bound for Paris in 2015. It’s an inspiring story which had the three Americans playing themselves but moviegoers were apathetic, judging by the $440,000 opening at 151 cinemas in Oz and the US debut of $12.5 million. That’s a fry cry from the director’s American Sniper and Sully.
Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Happy End, a bourgeois satire starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert, Mathieu Kassovitz and Toby Jones, got some positive reviews but minimal interest from patrons, taking $35,000 including previews on 20 screens for Transmission.