BO Report: Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe fans embrace ‘Boy Erased’

‘Boy Erased.’

Given the challenging subject, Joel Edgerton’s gay conversion therapy drama Boy Erased opened very respectably in Australia last weekend, its first international market after platforming in the US.

In part that speaks to the star power of Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe as well as Lucas Hedges’ impressive turn as the teenage protagonist and Edgerton’s direction, screenplay and supporting role.

Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody and Warner Bros’ A Star is Born continued to dominate ticket sales as Sony’s sequel to the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo flopped.

Hindi action-adventure Thugs of Hindostan drew plenty of Bollywood fans while They Shall Not Grow Old, Peter Jackson’s artful mix of restored WW1 footage owned by the Imperial War Museum and BBC audio generated an impressive $178,000 from limited sessions on Sunday.

Meanwhile Disney’s British live action romantic comedy Patrick, Transmission’s polarising Suspiria and Icon’s WWI action-drama Journey’s End failed to resonate.

The top 20 titles yielded $13.7 million, down 11 per cent on the prior weekend according to Numero. Bohemian Rhapsody rang up $6.2 million in its second outing, easing by a mere 9 per cent, hoisting its total to $17.1 million.

The biopic starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury has garnered $100 million in the US and $185 million in the rest of the world and is set to be a very profitable exercise considering the $55 million production budget.

Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born topped $24 million after pocketing $2.7 million in its fourth weekend. The musical drama co-starring Cooper and Lady Gaga has hauled in $178 million in the US and $322.8 million worldwide – a handsome return for a film which cost $36 million.

Claire Foy’s portrayal of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander in Fede Alvarez’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web may well be a one-off after the $800,000 debut on 314 screens including previews in Oz and the dire US take of $8 million. Columbia, MGM and New Regency partnered on the production based on the novel by David Lagercrantz, which was budgeted at $43 million, so they are unlikely to recoup.

David Gordon Green’s Halloween reached $6.1 million after fetching $563,000 in its third for Universal. The slasher movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis has bagged $156.8 million in the US and $245.5 million worldwide, a fabulous return on a $10 million budget.

Written and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Katrina Kaif, Fatima Sana Shaikh and Lloyd Owen, Thugs of Hindustan captured $506,000 on 71 screens for Mind Blowing Films.

Sony’s animated adventure-comedy Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween directed by Ari Sandel drew $418,000 in its third frame, advancing to $3.6 million.

Boy Erased scored $395,600 on 167 screens and $421,000 including advance screenings for Universal, opening bigger than Boyhood, Call Me By Your Name, Room and Moonlight and on par with Dallas Buyers Club.

“The results are in line with other upmarket titles of recent years and it should hold appeal for audiences seeking out quality performances and thought-provoking subject matter,” says Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close. That suggests an eventual tally of between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Cinema Nova was the top-grossing location as general manager Kristian Connelly described the opening as very respectable for a topical and timely film starring Crowe and Kidman as a devout Baptist couple in Arkansas who send their son (Hedges) to the “conversion therapy” camp Love in Action.

Focus Features launched the film adapted from Garrard Conley’s memoir on five screens in the US and broadened to 77 screens last weekend, collecting $997,000 thus far. It will be playing at about 500 cinemas by Thanksgiving weekend.

Marvel superhero adventure Venom punched up $294,000 in its sixth for Sony, delivering $21.7 million. The Ruben Fleischer-directed movie has raked in $673.5 million globally, boosted by China’s meteoric $111 million debut, a record for the studio.

Gerard Butler’s latest misfire, Hunter Killer, plunged by 56 per cent to $229,000 in its second weekend, making $977,000 for Roadshow.

Directed by Mandie Fletcher (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie), Patrick bombed in the UK in July. So the Australian opening of $121,000 on 113 screens was no surprise for the rom-com starring Beattie Edmondson as a klutzy singleton who uses her adorable dog to meet potential beaus in the park.

Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, a reimagining of Dario Argento’s 1977 supernatural horror movie, divided the critics after its world premiere in Venice, hailed by some as ambitious and grandiose and derided by others as irritating and laughable.

Aussies seem to be taking the latter view judging by the $59,000 opening on 39 screens and $117,000 including festival screenings and previews for the Amazon Studios production starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton.

Directed by Saul Dibb and based on R.C. Sherriff’s 1928 play about British soldiers stuck in the trenches as the Germans prepared to launch a spring offensive in 1918, Journey’s End is a stirring drama featuring Asa Butterfield, Sam Claflin and Paul Bettany but it took just $58,000 on 104 screens including previews.