BO Report: ‘Red Sparrow’ squeaks while ‘Winchester’ and ‘The BBQ’ burn out


‘Red Sparrow.’

Jennifer Lawrence’s star power wasn’t enough to elevate spy thriller Red Sparrow above mediocre debuts in Australia, the US and more than 60 other markets last weekend.

Glowing reviews for Annette Bening’s performance in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and for the Oscar-nominated Swedish satirical drama The Square did not translate into sizable ticket sales for either.

Meanwhile the Spierig brothers’ Winchester and Stephen Amis’ The BBQ plunged in their second weekends, no doubt wounded by lousy word of mouth.

Winchester, the supernatural thriller starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke, ranked in eleventh spot as it tumbled by 55 per cent, making $177,000 at 194 screens. The StudioCanal release has pocketed $714,000 and will struggle to get to $1 million.

The BBQ, which features Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, Julia Zemiro and celebrity chef Manu Feildel, collapsed by 56 per cent, taking $107,000 at 151 screens. Co-distributed by Madman Entertainment and Label, the comedy has grossed $507,000.

Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country reached $1.55 million after nabbing $104,000 in its sixth weekend, falling by 31 per cent although Transmission Films expanded the release from 88 to 109 screens.

Given the absence of compelling new releases the top 20 titles garnered $13.6 million, down 23 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Lawrence and director Francis Lawrence were a potent combination in the last three editions of The Hunger Games franchise but the magic is missing in Red Sparrow.

The 20th Century Fox/Chernin Entertainment production rang up $2.7 million at 293 cinemas, a distant second behind the third weekend of the Disney/Marvel blockbuster Black Panther.

Granted, the Oz opening of the thriller, which stars Lawrence as a sultry Russian ballerina who is recruited by the country’s intelligence service to become part of their female killing corps, was a lot better than the estimated $US16.4 million debut in the US.

In the US Fox moved Red Sparrow out of the way from Lawrence’s incoherent thriller mother, which was such a disaster maybe some of her fans are wary now. The distributor launched Red Sparrow in 65 markets outside the US, generating just $US26.5 million.

Director Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther vaulted to $28.4 million after scoring $4.5 million, down 40 per cent. The superhero adventure’s global haul is fast approaching $900 million after earning $501.1 million in the US and $396.6 million in the rest of the world, with China ahead. That will be the fifth Marvel Cinematic Universe title to cross that threshold.

Game Night, the Warner Bros. comedy starring Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman and Kyle Chandler, whistled up $1.3 million in its second weekend, off 34 per cent, advancing to $3.8 million.

Word-of-mouth is working for Richard Loncraine’s UK romantic comedy-drama Finding Your Feet, which took $757,000 in its second outing, slipping by 25 per cent. The eOne release starring Timothy Spall, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and Joanna Lumley has banked almost $2.5 million.

Fox’s over-achiever The Greatest Showman soared to $31.5 million after collecting $674,000 in its 10th stanza. The musical drama directed by Aussie Michael Gracey has pocketed $164.6 million in the US and $211.2 million internationally.

Universal’s Fifty Shade Freed ascended to $13.6 million after fetching $524,000 in its fourth frame, tracking well below the previous editions.

Given the critical acclaim for first time director/writer Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, it is surprising that the coming-of-age story dropped by 48 per cent in its third outing, mustering $334,000 and $3.2 million thus far for Universal.

Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri topped $10.4 million after making $274,000 in its ninth weekend for Fox. That is among the best results in the world considering the US tally is $52 million and international stands at $79 million.

Aussie director Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya zipped along to $8.1 million after drumming up $271,000 in its sixth for Roadshow: again a stand-out given the US takings of $28.9 million.

Operation Red Sea, a Chinese-Hong Kong action film directed by Dante Lam, captured $202,000 in its second weekend at just 18 screens, easing by just 24 per cent, generating $580,000 for Madman.

Bening plays former Hollywood star Gloria Grahame who moved to England in the 1970s and fell in love with a working-class actor (Jamie Bell) in Paul McGuigan’s Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. The Transmission release rang up $112,000 on 111 screens and $219,000 with previews.

Director Ruben Östlund’s The Square, which stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West and Terry Notary, drew $50,000 on 17 screens and a more impressive $122,000 with previews and festival screenings for Sharmill Films.