BO Report: Hot start for ‘Frozen 2’ while ‘Knives Out’ is sharp

‘Knives Out.’

Disney’s Frozen 2 dominated the cinema business last weekend without matching its stellar US results while Studiocanal’s crime caper Knives Out proved to be effective counter-programming.

Meanwhile Rialto launched Adrian Noble’s Mrs Lowry & Son on 43 screens, ringing up $48,000 and a decent $184,000 including revenues from festivals. The English comedy stars Timothy Spall as the artist L.S. Lowry and Vanessa Redgrave as his overbearing mother.

Selina Miles’ feature documentary Martha: A Picture Story, an alternate content release which profiles intrepid American photojournalist Martha Cooper, clocked $15,000 from limited sessions plus $29,000 from festivals for Umbrella Entertainment.

The winner of the Sydney Film Festival Documentary Audience Award, the film follows Cooper as she roams around Berlin, New York and Baltimore and her adventures come to life with archival footage and tales from subjects and peers.

The AACTA Awards to be announced on Wednesday are unlikely to give any box office momentum to the victors, according to Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly.

“Most presumed winners are either finishing their runs nationally or have failed to connect with audiences,” he says. “I anticipate most of the wins to be split between Ride Like A Girl and The Nightingale. Maybe we could have another tie for best film.”

The top 20 titles generated $16.2 million last weekend, up 85 per cent on the previous frame according to Numero.

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2 co-directed by the original’s Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee conjured up $9.7 million on 768 screens, 20 per cent ahead of Toy Story 4 and 9 per cent less than Incredibles 2, tracking below the US, where the adventure comedy musical raked in an estimated $124 million in five days.

That’s an all-time record for the Thanksgiving holiday, beating Lionsgate’s 2013 blockbuster Hunger Games: Catching Fire, hoisting its 10-day total to $288 million. The worldwide haul stands at $739 million, heading for $1 billion, but it may not catch Frozen’s $1.27 billion, the all-time animated champ. The year-to-date US B.O. tally is $10.2 billion, down 5 per cent on last year’s $10.8 billion.

Written and directed by Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson, Knives Out bagged nearly $2.2 million on 276 screens and $2.87 million with previews.

“Off the back of solid previews Knives Out opened strongly and will be propelled along by fantastic WOM,” says Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close. “The delightful whodunit is one of my favourite films this year.”

California-based Qube Wire delivered the murder-mystery and Jay Roach’s Bombshell (which opens here on January 16) on its digital network to 48 cinemas in Australia and New Zealand.

The Lionsgate-production starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Christopher Plummer, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette and Katherine Langford mustered a hearty $41.7 million in five days in the US.

Disney’s Ford v Ferrari ranked third, scoring $1.2 million in its third lap, which brings takings for the James Mangold-directed sports drama to $7.3 million. The movie starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon has collected a nifty $81 million in the US and $143.3 million worldwide.

Universal’s romantic drama Last Christmas advanced to $7.7 million after adding $798,000 in its fourth, outperforming the US where the Paul Feig-directed movie has scraped up just $31.6 million.

Sony’s flop Charlie’s Angels reached $4.2 million after pocketing $515,000 in its third. The Elizabeth Banks-directed reboot has garnered a dismal $16.8 million in the US and $34.6 million in the rest of the world.

Roadshow’s British comedy-musical Fisherman’s Friends dropped by 40 per cent to $281,000 in its second weekend, indicating mixed word of mouth, banking $1.1 million.

Todd Phillips’ Joker vaulted to $39.7 million on the back of its $250,000 ninth weekend. The WB/Village Roadshow/Bron Studios’ blockbuster has amassed $1.048 billion worldwide.

Mirroring its US fate, the Brian Kirk-directed thriller 21 Bridges is a bust, taking $219,000 in its second frame and $914,000 thus far for Roadshow.

Disney’s Terminator: Dark Fate staggered along to $8.3 million after making $148,000 in its fifth.

Gavin 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 $122,000 in its second weekend on 62 screens, off 33 per cent, delivering $567,000 for Universal.