BO report: No stopping ‘Doctor Strange 2’ as ‘Operation Mincemeat’ enters the fray

'Operation Mincemeat'.

There was more dominance from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness at the box office on the weekend, as British dramas Downton Abbey: A New Era and Operation Mincemeat rounded out the top three.

The Disney sequel took in another $7.3 million at an average of $9,478 per session to secure a 50 per cent hold from its opening weekend and achieve an overall gross of $27.6 million.

It was again followed by Universal’s newest Downton Abbey film, which fell under the $1 million for the first time, garnering $909,417 from its third frame to average $2,824 per session and track at $5.7 million.

Transmission’s Operation Mincemeat was the pick of the new releases, bowing to $597,321 from 245 screens for an average of $2,438 per session, just edging out Paramount’s The Lost City for third position, with the rom-com delivering $595,150 from its fifth outing to reach $14.4 million overall.

Set in 1943, John Madden’s film follows two brilliant intelligence officers, Ewen Montagu (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (Matthew Macfadyen) who conceived a plan that was dubbed Operation Mincemeat. They would trick the Nazis into thinking that Allied forces were planning to attack southern Europe by way of Greece rather than Sicily. Their plan was to get a corpse, equip it with misleading papers, then drop it off the coast of Spain where Nazi spies would take the bait. The cast also includes Kelly Macdonald, Penelope Wilton, and Johnny Flynn.

Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace general manager Alex Temesvari said the historical war drama had contributed to a “solid” weekend trade at the venue.

Operation Mincemeat was our number one film and I believe we ranked as the top indie location in the whole country for it which is welcome news,” he said.

“We also saw decent holds on Doctor Strange and Downton Abbey and had some success with live events and festivals this week.”

Animated adventures in their seventh weekend occupied the middle places of the top ten, with Paramount’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drawing $559,077 for an overall gross of $21.3 million, while Universal’s The Bad Guys had $462,644 to move up to $14.5 million.

One spot down in seventh, Roadshow’s Everything Everywhere All at Once continued its incredible run, bringing in $399,919 in its fifth frame to average $3,389 per session, representing a decline of only 2 per cent from the previous week. The film has grossed $3.8 million overall.

Southern Star’s Indian Telugu-language action comedy film Sarkaru Vaari Paata got the better of Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore to make it into eighth, opening to $363,605 from 79 screens for an average of $4,603 per session, the second best after Doctor Strange 2.

Fantastic Beasts earned $284,435 from its sixth weekend to move past $18 million overall, while Universal’s Stephen King adaptation, Firestarter, could only manage $249,088 from 228 screens on its opening weekend to round out the top 10.

Roadshow’s local hope, The Drover’s Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, dropped five places to 14th in its sophomore outing, drawing $150,097 at an average of $1,900 per session for a gross total of $449,286.

Overall, the top 20 grossed $12.9 million, down 34 per cent from last week’s total.

Going forward, Temesvari said excitement was building for the release of Top Gun: Maverick at the end of the month.

“Now we anxiously wait until Top Gun: Maverick blows the doors off the box office,” he said.

“Our pre-sales are extremely encouraging so far.”