‘The Spy Who Dumped Me.’

The Kate McKinnon-Mila Kunis starrer The Spy Who Dumped Me might have been a metaphor for how moviegoers felt about last weekend’s new releases.

Distributors dumped several titles which had failed or under-performed in the US, including the above-mentioned action-comedy, On Chesil Beach and Superfly.

Meanwhile Living Universe, an Australian and French co-production directed by Alex Barry and Vincent Amouroux, an interstellar adventure searching for life on another planet, fetched just $17,000 from limited sessions on 26 screens.

Chinese survival dramedy The Island had the best screen average of the new releases, way ahead of Indian action-thriller Vishwaroopam 2.

Given the paucity of appealing new films, takings for the top 20 titles last weekend dropped by 23 per cent to $10.7 million, according to Numero.

After smashing opening records for the franchise, Paramount Pictures/Skydance’s Mission: Impossible – Fallout easily retained top spot, grabbing $3.6 million in its second weekend, down 42 per cent.

The action adventure co-starring Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Henry Cavill, Rebecca Ferguson and Michelle Monaghan has bagged $12.1 million in Oz, $161.9 million after 17 days in the US and $275.6 million in the rest of the world, tracking 19 per cent ahead of Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.

Universal’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again whistled up $1.6 million in its fourth weekend and is nearing $19 million. Pro-rata, that is far better than the US total of $103.8 million.

Directed by Susanna Fogel, The Spy Who Dumped Me entered in third spot, making a mediocre $1.57 million including previews for Roadshow. That’s no shock given the Lionsgate release opened with a lousy $12.1 million in the US and has since staggered along to $24.5 million.

Denzel Washington fans clearly are enjoying Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer 2, which has collected nearly $8 million after raking in $523,000 in its fourth frame, eclipsing the $6.6 million lifetime total of the original.

Word-of-mouth is buoying Björn Runge’s The Wife, which booked $463,000 in its second weekend, easing by a mere 13 per cent. The drama about a Nobel Prize-winning author (Jonathan Pryce) and his spouse (Glenn Close) has generated almost $1.4 million for Icon.

Among the lesser lights of the Marvel Comic Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp reached $19.3 million after making $404,000 in its sixth outing. The superhero adventure has rung up $203.5 million and $254.4 million internationally for a global total of $448.9 million for Disney.

Disney/Pixar’s blockbuster Incredibles 2 topped $45 million after scoring $306,000 in its ninth frame. The Brad Bird-directed comedy has overtaken Toy Story 3 to rank as the highest grossing Pixar release of all-time, amassing $1.08 billion worldwide: $590 million domestic and $499 million in the rest of the world.

Director Huang Bo’s The Island, which stars Huang as a cubicle drone on a corporate team-building boat-trip who discovers he’s won the lottery just as a giant wave leaves him and his co-workers shipwrecked, drummed up $247,000 on only 20 screens for Magnum.

The Breaker Upperers, the Kiwi comedy directed, written and starring Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, pocketed $241,000 in its third weekend, generating a tidy $1.9 million for Madman Entertainment.

Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Weekend drew $236,000 in its seventh weekend, raising the total to $18.3 million. Drac and his pack have captured $378.3 million globally, beating the first edition but trailing the second’s $473.2 million.

Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle play an ill-matched couple in On Chesil Beach, Dominic Cooke’s un-romantic drama based on the Ian McEwan novel set in 1962. The film flopped in the UK and the US so the Australian debut of $143,000 on 115 screens and $189,000 including previews was probably about as much as Transmission Films could have hoped for.

Released by MKS Retail, actor-writer-director Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam 2, in which he plays an agent whose task is to eliminate an Al-Qaeda terrorist and his jihadists before they attack New York City, took $115,000 on 42 screens.

Helmed by Director X, Sony’s Superfly is a musically charged re-imagining of the 1972 Black-ploitation title Super Fly by Gordon Parks, Jr. The saga about a career criminal who wants out of the Atlanta drug scene ended up with just $20.5 million in the US and clearly did not resonate here, mustering $54,000 on 51 screens.

Cinema Nova general manager Kristian Connelly tells IF: “The conclusion of the US summer blockbuster season and the scarcity of upscale titles caused by the capital city film festivals combined for a lacklustre session; however The Wife is enjoying excellent word of mouth with the box office holding or trending upward in many locations where it hasn’t been discounted.”

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