Most of the new releases in Australian cinemas last weekend had bombed or under-performed in the US weeks or months ago, so their fates were probably sealed.

Splatter comedy Ready or Not, Ron Howard’s homage to the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti, English musical dramedy Blinded by the Light and indie US drama After the Wedding were among the Halloween strugglers.

The top-grossing title at the LaVazza Italian Film Festival, writer-director Nick Conidi’s Promised opened on 45 screens via Umbrella Entertainment. The weekend take for the 1950s-set drama starring Tina Arena, Paul Mercurio, Antoniette Iesue, Daniel Berini and Mirko Grillini was a modest $57,000 but the total including festival screenings is a decent $198,000.

The top 20 titles generated $11.3 million, down 21 per cent on the prior frame according to Numero, getting some uplift from Indian imports Bigil and, to a lesser extent, Housefull 4.

Facing minimal competition, Todd Phillips’ Joker led the field for the fourth consecutive weekend, making $2.8 million, hoisting its total to $32.6 million. The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios production has amassed $849 million worldwide, an all-time record for an R-rated release.

Deadline estimates the origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix will post a profit of at least $464 million from global theatrical, TV and home entertainment windows. That’s a handsome return on a production budget of $70 million after New York City tax credits and a global P&A spend of $120 million, eclipsing Aquaman’s $260.5 million profit, Venom’s $247 million and Deadpool 2’s $235.4 million.

Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil fell by a moderate 29 per cent to $1.8 million after a mediocre debut. The live-action spin-off of Sleeping Beauty directed by Joachim Ronning has collected $5.1 million here, a lousy $65.4 million in the US and $228.1 million in the rest of the world.

Sony’s Zombieland: Double Tap drummed up $1.2 million in its second weekend, off 39 per cent and is nearing $3.7 million, beating the first Zombieland’s $2.9 million lifetime total. Ruben Fleischer’s comedy horror starring Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg and Abigail Breslin has collared $47 million in the US.

Roadshow’s Hustlers rustled up $1 million in its third outing and stands at $7.2 million. Lorene Scafaria’s crime caper starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu, Lili Reinhart and Cardi B has clocked up a nifty $103 million in the US.

Transmission’s Ride Like a Girl raced along to $9.8 million after snaring $555,000 in its fifth, easing by 25 per cent. Rachel Griffith’s Michelle Payne biopic starring Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, Sullivan Stapleton and Stevie Payne is headed for $11 million-plus and could reach $12 million.

Starring Samara Weaving as a bride whose in-laws want to kill her, Ready or Not mustered an anemic $444,000 including previews on 255 screens, released by Disney with Fox’s logo.

Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, the Fox Searchlight release opened with $8 million in the US in August but ran out legs after making $28.7 million. The saving grace: It cost just $6 million.

Bigil, a Tamil language action film written and directed by Atlee about a football coach who seeks revenge after his best friend is killed, scored $419,000 on 32 screens for MKS Retail.

Universal’s Judy whistled up $365,000 in its second weekend on 60 screens, down 27 per cent, which brings the total to almost $1.4 million. The Rupert Goold-directed biopic starring Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland has grossed a ho-hum $20.6 million in the US.

The fourth edition of Bollywood’s Housefull franchise, the tale of three brothers who due to wed three sisters until one realises they are all reincarnations from 600 years earlier and the wrong couples are about to get married, drew $295,000 on 54 screens for Mind Blowing Films.

Directed by Gurinder Chadha, Blinded by the Light didn’t resonate with audiences in the UK or the US. So it’s no surprise the 1987-set tale of a Pakistani lad who finds solace, poetry and love via the music of Bruce Springsteen collared $205,000 on 57 screens and $274,000 with previews for Universal.

The Pavarotti biopic, which mixes rare archival footage, remastered performances and new interviews with 53 subjects including his first wife, their three daughters and his last wife, rang up $164,000 on 86 screens and $263,000 with previews for Madman Entertainment.

After the Wedding, writer-director Bart Freundlich’s remake of Danish director Susanne Bier’s Oscar-nominated 2006 film, starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Billy Crudup, fetched $137,00 on 98 screens for Rialto.

Surveying the weekend business, Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly tells IF: “The new releases delivered to our relatively low expectations, with Pavarotti performing strongest and most likely to holdover as older audiences get around to seeing it.”

Referring to upcoming releases including Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain & Glory, James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari, Jay Roach’s Bombshell and Greta Gerwig’s Little Women remake, he added: “The coming months offer a plethora of excellent upscale and sophisticated entertainment, as featured at last week’s Australian International Movie convention, so we head into the rest of spring and summer with extremely upbeat expectations.

“I feel our greatest challenge is allowing audiences ample time to get around to see all the films that they’ll undoubtedly enjoy throughout the annual awards season.”

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  1. The final statement explains a lot: ”
    “I feel our greatest challenge is allowing audiences ample time to get around to see all the films that they’ll undoubtedly enjoy throughout the annual awards season.”


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