‘Judy & Punch.’
Fox/Chernin Entertainment’s Ford v Ferrari easily retained pole position in another soft weekend at Australian cinemas while Mirrah Foulkes’ writing and directing debut Judy & Punch struggled.
Foulkes’ savage satire starring Damon Herriman and Mia Wasikowska as husband-and-wife puppeteers in an anarchic world has garnered a 79 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes since the world premiere at Sundance.
But critical acclaim often doesn’t reflect cinemagoers’ tastes, particularly for niche titles which are as challenging and dark in tone as this. The Madman Entertainment release fetched $29,000 on 38 screens last weekend and $108,000 with festival screenings.
Cinema Nova’s Natalie Miller says: “I think the title is a bit of a hindrance as people don’t know if it’s a children’s film and would find it quite different and confronting, despite great acting.”
Produced by Michele Bennett, Blue-Tongue Films’ Nash Edgerton and VICE Media Australia’s Danny Gabai, Judy & Punch was one of four new Aussie titles last weekend, hardly a desirable outcome as each competed for screens and media attention.
Producer-distributor Tait Brady launched Liam Firmager’s Suzi Q, a feature doc on rock ‘n’ roll trailblazer Suzi Quatro, on limited sessions, ringing up $19,000 at the weekend and $52,000 with festival screenings.
Kew Media has sold the title to the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Germany and Hungary, with a US deal pending. The singer/guitarist attended 10 Q&A screenings in the UK where the film screened in about 35 cities, distributed by Moviehouse. Exhibitors were happy to show the doc although it premiered on Sky and came out on DVD three weeks later, Brady says.
Newly formed distributor Entertainment Advocate released Jesse O’Brien’s macabre, irreverent horror comedy Two Heads Creek, taking a modest $14,000 screens including Monster Fest screenings. The firm founded by producers Brett Thornquest, Steven Matusko and Mat Graham intends to handle a limited number of Oz, US and UK titles each year.
“Event Cinemas was very supportive in offering a Thursday night once-only screening to help maximise exposure and it’s now playing on 20 screens,” Matusko tells IF. “What is most important is to keep the film on for a number of weeks. Our publicity campaign is continuing through this week and next.”
Bonsai Films’ Jonathan Page is distributing Bilched, Jeremy Cumpston’s debut feature written by and starring his son Hal Cumpston. The teenage romantic drama took $20,000 on 19 screens at Event Cinemas and Village Cinemas, including previews.
Page is confident he can negotiate a streaming deal, capitalizing on Hal’s starring role in AMC Studios’ The Walking Dead spin-off.
The top 20 titles generated nearly $8 million, down 26 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero. Clearly distributors were unwilling to release their big guns a week before Disney unleashes Frozen 2, which raked in an estimated $358 million worldwide last weekend, a record for a day-and-date animated release.
The $130 million domestic debut was the biggest ever for Walt Disney Animation Studios and for any animated film outside the summer.
Starring Christian Bale as English racing driver Ken Miles and Matt Damon as his ally, US automotive designer Carroll Shelby in the race against Ferrari, Ford V Ferrari bagged $1.9 million in its second weekend for Disney, easing by just 24 per cent.
James Mangold’s sports drama raced along to $5.4 million here, $58 million in the US and $103.8 million worldwide
Universal’s romantic drama Last Christmas ranked second, advancing to $6.4 million after adding $1.2 million in its third outing, outperforming the US where the Paul Feig-directed movie starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson stands at $27.8 million.
After a mediocre opening, Sony’s Charlie’s Angels plunged by 41 per cent to $993,000 in its second weekend. The Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot has mustered $3.3 million in Oz and $39.3 million in the US.
In his first major role since the Avengers movies and Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman plays an an embattled NYPD detective who is on the hunt for two cop killers and must close all 21 bridges in and out of Manhattan in 21 Bridges.
Audiences weren’t interested as the Brian Kirk-directed movie delivered just $494,000 on 203 screens for Roadshow, no surprise in light of the $9.3 million US debut.
Todd Phillips’ Joker vaulted to $39.3 million on the back of its $483,000 eighth weekend. The WB/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios’ blockbuster has amassed $1.036 billion worldwide.
Fisherman’s Friends, a comedy-musical based on the true story of a group of fishermen in Cornwall who formed a successful, all-male acapella folk group, rang up $469,000 on 246 screens and $599,000 with previews and festivals for Roadshow.
Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell describes the Chris Foggin-directed film starring Daniel Mays, Tuppence Middleton, James Purefoy, Noel Clarke, David Hayman and Dave Johns, as a “great little movie primarily for the older generation who don’t rush out. Hopefully it will get good word of mouth among this cohort and prove to have decent legs as one of the few offerings in this season for the older generation.”
Inherited from Fox, Disney’s Terminator: Dark Fate topped $8 million after making $398,000 in its fourth. The Tim Miller-directed sequel to Judgment Day has drummed up a dismal $59.5 million in the US and $249.3 million globally.
Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil climbed to $8.8 million after clocking $225,000 in its sixth. The live-action spin-off of Sleeping Beauty directed by Joachim Ronning has mustered a sub-par $108.9 million in the US and a far more impressive $472.3 million internationally.
A niche title in the US, Gavid Hood’s Official Secrets, a romantic drama set during the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq, starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith and Matthew Goode, fetched $182,000 on 60 screens and $352,000 with previews and festivals for Universal.