BO Report: Solid starts for ‘The Lego Movie 2’, ‘Fighting with My Family’

‘The Lego Movie 2’

The Australian box office slump continued last weekend despite respectable debuts for Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie 2 and Universal’s Fighting with My Family.

Icon’s British comedy-drama Swimming With Men sank while Madman Entertainment’s Destroyer looks like joining the list of Nicole Kidman films which get critical plaudits and play to niche audiences.

Bollywood action film Kesari had an impressive launch while Icon’s Hotel Mumbai held well in its second weekend, suggesting the impact of opening amid the Christchurch massacre is no longer a factor.

The top 20 titles generated $10.6 million last weekend, down 20 per cent on the previous frame, according to Numero.

Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel reigned again despite tumbling by 47 per cent in its third outing, scoring nearly $3.9 million. The sci-fi fantasy co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck advanced to $31.6 million.

The global haul for the movie co-starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law and Annette Bening rocketed to $910 million, ranking as the 10th biggest superhero release of all time, surpassing Thor: Ragnarok, Venom, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Batman vs Superman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man 3.

Directed by Mike Mitchell and featuring the voices of Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie and Tiffany Haddish, The Lego Movie 2 rang up $1.9 million, which brings the total to $3.8 million including advance screenings.

Warner Bros. would have had to lower its expectations after the family film drew $34.1 million in its first weekend in the US in February, well below 2014’s The Lego Movie, and went on to make $103.3 million.

In the US pundits theorised that releasing The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie in 2017 followed by this sequel may have been over-reaching.

The executive producer, Animal Logic’s Zareh Nalbandian, told the Sydney Morning Herald last week: “The studio is going to have to think hard about when audiences are going to be ready for another story. But you can see there are still places to go so I don’t think it’s the end of the franchise.”

Writer-director Stephen Merchant’s Fighting with My Family, which stars Florence Pugh as the young English woman who overcame her working class roots to become the WWE’s youngest ever women’s champion (ring name Paige) at the age of 21, grabbed $1.2 million and $1.6 million including sneaks, opening bigger than comparable titles such as Southpaw and The Fighter.

That also compares well with the US where the movie produced by Dwayne Johnson, which co-stars Nick Frost, Lena Headey, Jack Lowden and Vince Vaughn, was released by MGM, collecting $21.9 million in six weeks.

Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close said: “Several new films entered the market this past weekend, giving audiences significantly more choice in content than previous weeks; however results were slightly softer than we expected across the board.

The Lego Movie 2 captured the attention of family audiences and the results for Fighting with My Family were solid. Good word-of-mouth for both should see them play well in coming weeks.”

Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai advanced to $2.06 million after collaring $632,000 in its second weekend, off 35 per cent, rated by Cinema Nova’s Kristian Connelly as a respectable hold.

Sony Pictures’ A Dog’s Way Home mustered $350,000 in its fourth weekend, climbing to $4 million.

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book reached $13.3 million after snaring $337,000 in its ninth for eOne. The triple Oscar winner has raked in $294 million worldwide, a handsome return for its $23 million production budget.

Writer-director Anurang Singh’s Kesari, an action film starring Akshay Kumar and set during the battle between 21 soldiers of the Sikh Regiment of the British Army and thousands of mountain tribesmen from Afghanistan in 1897, captured $307,000 on 49 screens for Zee Studios.

Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer, which stars Kidman as a world-weary detective who seeks revenge and redemption, took $195,000 on 70 screens and $263,000 with advance screenings. That’s not a bad start considering the thriller opened in the US last December and ended up with $1.5 million.

Oliver Parker’s Swimming with Men, which follows Rob Brydon as a bored accountant who dives into the world of male synchronized swimming to try to save his flailing marriage, fetched $194,000 on 138 screens and $333,000 including British Film Festival screenings.

Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born resurfaced in the top 10, whistling up $166,000 in its 23rd weekend. The WB release has clocked $36.4 million.