There were a flurry of new releases over the Easter long weekend, but none could match the spectacle of Godzilla vs. Kong, which held onto the top position.
Warner Bros.’ Queensland-shot monster match notched another $4.7 million in its second frame, taking its cume to $14.2 million.
Godzilla vs. Kong launched in the US over the weekend, where it has made $US48.5 million, making it easily the most successful opener of the COVID-19 era. Internationally, it was no. 1 in every territory bar China, and sits on a total of $US236.9 million.
The success of the film as well as the other new releases in the market, such as Nobody and Tom & Jerry, has meant talk about a return cinemagoing in earnest and a more stable market, both in Australia and internationally.
“While still not at pre-COVID levels of business for obvious reasons, it’s certainly nice to have a number of mainstream and arthouse titles in the mix,” Hayden Orpheum Picture Place GM Alex Temesvari tells IF.
“The national and international box office results for Godzilla vs. Kong are also extremely encouraging and signal a return to movie going on a bigger scale then we have seen so far during the pandemic.”
Yet despite finding some success with titles such as The Father and The Courier, for more arthouse circuits like Carlton’s Cinema Nova, there is still a way to go before audiences reach pre-pandemic levels.
“The phenomenal success of Godzilla vs. Kong in the multiplexes show that audiences are excited to return when the film in-question promises spectacle and thrills, but with a few Oscar nominated exceptions in the upscale space we have yet to see the arrival of a monster-sized arthouse hit,” CEO Kristian Connelly tells IF.
By pandemic standards, the Easter box office was healthy, with the top 20 titles taking $11.8 million through to Sunday, down 9 per cent on the previous, according to Numero.
For Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell, the weekend had a feel of a “normal” Easter at the cinema, with good crowds lured in with rain about.
“While Godzilla vs. Kong was very strong everywhere, for us Peter Rabbit was the big one with families coming out in droves, which we expect to continue over the holiday period.
“Tom & Jerry and Nobody were solid, but again we expect them to pick up as holidays get into full swing, while The Courier hit the mark with our older customers. Many are still eager to see Nomadland as well.”
With school holidays beginning around Australia, Peter Rabbit 2, distributed by Sony, remained at no. 2 in its second weekend. The Animal Logic Entertainment co-pro earned another $2.5 million to advance to $5.5 million; a drop of just 8 per cent.
Universal’s critically acclaimed Nobody, starring Bob Odenkirk as an average suburban dad who sets off on a path of vengeance following an attack, bowed on $1.2 million from 315 screens.
WB’s Tom and Jerry, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Aussie Pallavi Sharda, opened on $1 million from 353. With previews, the hybrid animation, directed by Tim Story sits on $1.4 million.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne, a British businessman recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service in Roadshow’s The Courier, which bowed on $758,153, or $837,222 with previews.
Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon continues to hold thanks to the school holidays, ringing up $419,913 to move to $6.2 million.
The Academy Award nominated The Father, from Sharmill, opened on $305,142, taking the Anthony Hopkins-starrer to $556,181 with previews.
Fellow Oscar hopeful Nomadland nudged $3 million in its fifth frame with takings of $139,019 for Disney.
On just 24 screens, Chinese comedy Hi, Mom continues to draw a sizeable crowd, taking $88,929 in its third to move to $592,518 for Little Monster Entertainment.
Roadshow’s Chaos Walking, now five weeks in, rounded out the top 10 with earnings of $86,739. Overall the dystopian actioner, which is also now on PVOD, has made $3.6 million.
With regards to local film, this weekend marks the first time Roadshow’s The Dry has dropped out of the top 10 since its release on January 1, 14 weeks ago. The Robert Connolly film has a cume of $20.5 million.