BO Report: ‘Green Book’ plays second fiddle to ‘The Mule’

‘Green Book’

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book scored five Oscar nominations including for best picture, lead actor Viggo Mortensen and supporting actor Mahershala Ali following multiple prizes for Ali – so it was a surprise to see the true-life drama open in third place in Australia last weekend.

One factor was strong competition for adult audiences from Clint Eastwood’s The Mule, unlike the US where Green Book began a staggered roll-out in November. However exhibitors expect the eOne release to gather steam in the lead-up to the February 24 Oscars.

Shawn Seet’s Storm Boy benefited from the Australia Day long weekend while the 10 Academy Award nominations for Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite boosted takings in its fifth weekend.

Oscar-nominated feature documentary Free Solo opened well, particularly in upmarket locations, and anime fans turned out for Dragon Ball Super: Broly.

Thanks to the new releases, the school holidays and the long weekend, total receipts for the top 20 titles rose by 4 per cent on the previous five-day frame to $23.2 million, according to Numero.

Warner Bros./Bron Studio/Imperative Entertainment’s The Mule fetched $2.6 million in five days, a solid start for the film penned by Nick Schenk, who collaborated with Eastwood on Gran Torino. The drama based on the true story of a horticulturist who became a drug courier for a Mexican cartel has grossed $100 million in the US.

M. Night Shyamlan’s Glass was runner-up, scaring up $2.3 million in its second frame, hoisting its total to $6.9 million for the Disney Co. The sequel to Split, starring James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis, is unlikely to catch the original, which grossed $12.4 million for Universal two years ago.

Co-written by Nick Vallelonga, Green Book whistled up $2.2 million including previews. Based on the true story of the friendship between Vallelonga’s father, Italian-American bouncer Tony Lip (Mortensen) and African-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) on a road trip through the 1960s American South, the film went wider in the US last weekend, earning $5.4 million, which brings the total to $49 million.

Cinema Nova’s general manager Kristian Connelly tells IF: “Green Book should leg-out as audiences relay the feel-good tale’s strong appeal and we get closer to the Academy Awards.”

Similarly Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell predicts: “I think it will actually build towards the Oscars. The older market who are the main targets of this film will wait a little until kids and holiday makers go home before they go to see it.”

Universal’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World reached $20.5 million after taking $2.04 million in its fourth outing but will fall short of the second edition’s $26.7 million. The DreamWorks Animation title directed by Dean Deblois opens in the US on February 22.

Proving far more appealing here than in the US, Sean Anders’ comedy Instant Family rang up $2.02 million in its third, climbing to $9.9 million. In the US the Paramount release starring Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne, Octavia Spencer and Tig Notaro ended up with $66.6 million.

Warner Bros’ juggernaut Aquaman raced along to $39.6 million after scoring $1.7 million in its fifth. James Wan’s superhero adventure starring Jason Momoa has amassed $1.09 billion worldwide, now the biggest DC title of all time, surpassing The Dark Knight. Credit most of that to the international bounty of $774.2 million.

The 20th film in the anime franchise and the first new Dragon Ball storyline from original creator Akira Toriyama in more than 18 years, Dragon Ball Super: Broly captured $1.5 million for Madman. The tale of aliens Goku and Vegeta who do battle with Broly, a Saiyan warrior unlike any fighter they’d faced before, has mustered a lucrative $88.6 million worldwide.

Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns ascended to $17.9 million after minting $1.5 million in its fourth. Rob Marshall’s fantasy-adventure-musical has pocketed $165 million in the US and $153.6 million in the rest of the world, not the mammoth hit which the studio was expecting.

Released by Sony Pictures and starring Geoffrey Rush, Finn Little, Jai Courtney, Trevor Jamieson and Morgana Davies, Storm Boy drummed up $1.1 million in its second frame, down by 21 per cent, reaching $3.6 million.

Dell says: “Storm Boy has started to get some momentum. It is playing to a slightly older crowd, who presumably remember the original, rather than solely to families.”

Fox’s unstoppable Bohemian Rhapsody vaulted to $50.5 million after making $1 million in its 13th stanza. The Queen biopic has hauled in $611.3 million outside North America, Fox International’s fifth highest grosser of all time, and a towering $817.4 million globally.

The Favourite garnered $345,000, up nearly 9 per cent, generating $4.1 million for Fox.

Co-directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, Free Solo grabbed $329,000 on 69 screens for Madman Entertainment and a handsome $546,000 including festival screenings. The National Geographic-produced documentary which chronicles the first-ever free solo climb of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park by rock climber Alex Honnold has earned a terrific $13.4 million in US cinemas.