'NIghtmare Alley'.

While Omicron has failed to deter audiences from films like Spider-Man: No Way Home and Sing 2, both of which continue to lead the box office, exhibitors argue COVID fears continue to see titles that are skewed towards older moviegoers underperform.

Such may have been the case for Guillermo del Toro’s latest Nightmare Alley, which bowed to $514,629 from 279 screens for Disney last weekend ($592,220 with previews), and Pablo Larrain’s Princess Diana biopic Spencer, which opened to $399,640 from 295 for Roadshow ($468,386 with previews).

Both have received positive reviews and boast stellar casts with del Toro’s thriller starring Cate Blanchett, Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara and Toni Collette, and Spencer led by Kristen Stewart, a key Oscar contender.

However, pro rata, each film’s opening is slightly above the US/Canada, where Nightmare Alley opened last year to $2.8 million and Spencer $US2.1 million.

“The openings for both Nightmare Alley and Spencer were soft, but perfectly in line with the trends we’ve seen overseas,” Village Cinemas national programming manager Geoff Chard tells IF.

“I’m very much hoping for a only a tiny drop (or hopefully even an increase) on Nightmare Alley into its second week, as it is a quality film and I’m certain the WOM will be overwhelmingly positive.”

Kieren Dell, whose Majestic Cinemas operates across regional NSW and Queensland tells IF that it has been tough for films like Spencer in this market.

“Anything that appeals to an older or older female audience is struggling due to COVID fear. This is even more pronounced in Queensland where they haven’t had the same experience of previous waves.”

Overall, the top 20 titles garnered $9.6 million last weekend, down 15 per cent on the previous.

Now in its sixth, Spider-Man added another $2.2 million to its tally for Sony, a dip of just 21 per cent, advancing to $73.8 million.

As IF has reported, the Tom Holland-starrer is now the fourth highest grossing in Australia’s history, behind only Avatar ($115.8 million), Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($94 million) and Avengers: End Game ($84.2 million).

Worldwide, the film is the sixth highest grossing of all time, having made a staggering $US1.69 billion. The feat is made all the more impressive by the fact it has not been released in China, the larges market in the world.

Sing 2 continues to hold, dropping just 2 per cent in its fifth frame with a result of $1.2 million, bringing its cume to $15.7 million for Universal.

Just behind was Paramount’s Scream in its sophomore outing, with a result of $1.17 million seeing the fifth instalment in the franchise climb to just shy of $4 million.

Both in their fourth weekend, Sony’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife now sits on $9.4 million after collecting $757,889, and Universal’s House of Gucci on $6.9 million after $698,980.

Disney’s The King’s Man gathered $554,883 in its third frame, advancing to $3.8 million, while Warner Bros’ King Richard collected $462,926 in its second to grow to $1.5 million.

School holiday audiences mean Paramount’s Clifford the Big Red Dog continues to hold well, dropping just 3 per cent over its fourth weekend with $429,221, moving to $4.1 million.

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