JJ Winlove’s June Again, starring Noni Hazlehurst, Claudia Karvan and Stephen Curry, resonated with Mother’s Day crowds at the box office.
The local film opened third nationally over the weekend, behind only the spectacles of much larger films Wrath of Man and Mortal Kombat.
Winlove’s debut feature, June Again follows family matriarch June (Hazlehurst), who gets a fleeting bout of lucidity from dementia. Much to their amazement, June re-enters the lives of her adult children, Ginny (Karvan) and Devon (Curry), and learns that ‘things haven’t gone according to plan’.
With limited time but plenty of pluck, she sets about trying to put everything, and everyone, back on track. When her meddling backfires, June sets out on a romantic journey of her own and discovers she needs help from the very people she was trying to rescue.
Studiocanal opened it on 319 screens, with ticket sales tallying $561,468. With previews, its cume is $683,670.
June Again was the standout for regional NSW and Queensland circuit Majestic Cinemas.
“It resonated on Mother’s Day and is a really good Aussie movie that I believe will get great word of mouth and have good legs,” CEO Kieren Dell tells IF.
Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly observes June Again‘s performance indicates a continued appetite for local fare, following on from films like The Dry and Penguin Bloom earlier this year.
“June Again enjoyed it’s best showing in regional centres; a terrific outcome for the film and regional screens for what is a charming release. The film’s 292 screen release is considerable, given that the film might have released on a fraction of that number were we in a ‘timeline’ without COVID,” he tells IF.
“The film’s success indicates ongoing nationwide audience taste for local features, hopefully ensuring that when international blockbusters do return to theatres that they will screen alongside Australian features made on smaller budget.”
However, Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari found the film didn’t compete against upscale fare at his venue in Sydney’s Cremorne.
“Nomadland, The Courier and The Father were again our top 3 film releases. Bitterly disappointed in the June Again results for The Orpheum as on paper it would seem like the perfect fit for our core demographic, yet it was overtaken by most other films this week. Hopefully it picks up over the coming week but we’ll see.”
The overall box office was quiet with most titles now in the market for several weeks, though as Connelly observed Mother’s Day meant some week-on-week declines were not as significant as they might have otherwise been.
Amid cases of community transmission, cinemas in the Greater Sydney area are also currently subject to new COVID restrictions, with patrons again required to wear face masks until at least May 17.
The top 20 collected $5.2 million, down 24 per cent on the previous, according to Numero.
Among the weekend’s other new releases was Univeral’s Fatale, starring Hilary Swank and Michael Ealy, which bowed to $242,559 from 233. The thriller follows a successful married man (Ealy) who finds himself entangled in a cunning police detective’s (Swank) latest investigation after a one-night stand.
Doug Liman’s Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor as a disgruntled London-based couple whose attempt a high-risk heist surprisingly brings them closer together, opened on $191,903 from 201 screens from Maslow Entertainment.
Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man was the main drawcard for the second week running, holding well to earn $1.2 million, down only 28 per cent. The Jason Statham-starrer now sits on $3.8 million for Studiocanal.
Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat fell 53 per cent in its third frame to take $772,511, bringing receipts for the South Australian-shot film to just shy of $8 million.
Now seven weeks in, Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2 continues to draw a crowd of young ones, earning $352,121 to move to $20 million, while WB’s Godzilla vs. Kong, also in its seventh is now on $27.3 million after ringing up $274,650.
In its sixth, WB’s Tom and Jerry is sitting just shy of $9 million after earning $198,585.
WWII drama Six Minutes to Midnight dropped 39 per cent in its third to earn $314,605, moving to $1.5 million for Transmission.
Rounding out the top 10 was Best Picture winner Nomadland, which earned another $185,952, despite now being available on Disney+ and screening Foxtel. Ten weeks in release, the Disney drama is now on $4.2 million.