BO Report: ‘The Nightingale’ opens while ‘The Australian Dream’ rallies

Photo by Matt Nettheim

‘The Nightingale.’

While Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale has achieved an 86 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes since the world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, many critics have described the tale of rape, murder and revenge as harrowing and bleak.

So in that context the film’s opening in Australia last weekend via Transmission Films was quite respectable – and some exhibitors expect it will have a leggy run.

Meanwhile Madman Entertainment’s The Australian Dream had a buoyant second weekend, helped by word-of-mouth and the two-for-one ticket offer to AFL members.

Rachel Ward’s Palm Beach advanced to $3.8 million after nabbing $305,000 in its fourth weekend, easing by 31 per cent for Universal Pictures. Kriv Stenders’ Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan dipped by just 16 per cent to $250,000 in its fourth, delivering $2.5 million for Transmission Films.

The Nightingale grossed $98,000 on 32 screens, bringing the total including festival screenings to $217,000. Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly tells IF the thriller’s opening at his cinema was in line with his expectations, considering the widespread discussion about its depictions of brutality.

He predicted: “The film should hold in the coming weeks as audiences spread the word that Jennifer Kent’s vision is a rewarding and powerful experience that deserves to be seen.”

Produced by Kristina Ceyton and Made Up Stories’ Bruna Papandrea and Steve Hutensky, the 1825-set tale starring Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, newcomer Baykali Ganambarr, Michael Sheasby, Damon Herriman, Harry Greenwood and Ewen Leslie has earned $US333,000 after its fifth weekend in the US for IFC Films.

Daniel Gordon’s Adam Goodes documentary The Australian Dream drew $121,000 on 105 screens in its second weekend, falling by 27 per cent overall but jumping by 20 per cent at Cinema Nova, kicking on to $698,000, meaning it’s on track to rank among the top 10 highest grossing Australian feature docs of all time.

Written by Stan Grant and produced by Good Thing Productions’ Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell and Sarah Thomson and Passion Pictures’ John Battsek, the doc had glowing reviews at the Telluride Film Festival and will next screen at the Toronto and London Film Festivals.

It was a blah weekend at Australian cinemas as the top 20 titles generated just $10.2 million, down 15 per cent on the previous frame according to Numero. The fate of The Kitchen, Warner Bros/New Line’s female-driven gangster saga was probably sealed after its US demise. One of the few bright spots was multi-lingual Indian action-thriller Saaho.

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood was the market leader again, virtually by default, bagging $2.6 million in its third frame. The Sony release starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie has hauled in $16.1 million, surpassing Django Unchained as the director’s biggest hit here. The 1969-set drama/thriller has collected $284 million worldwide.

Angel Has Fallen, the third edition of the franchise which stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman and Jada Pinkett Smith, drummed up $1.4 million in its second weekend, drppping by a surprisingly moderate 20 per cent, collaring $3.8 million for Roadshow.

Disney’s The Lion King ascended to $61.7 million after banking $1.1 million in its seventh stanza. The Jon Favreau-directed musical fantasy adventure ranks as the seventh biggest blockbuster of all time globally with $1.562 billion.

Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw scored $778,000 in its fifth, advancing to $17.9 million. The action thriller starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham has amassed $684.3 million worldwide, propelled by China’s $166.2 million in 10 days.

Chinese director/co-writer Yu Yang’s Ne Zha, the tale of a boy with the power to destroy the world who must choose between good and evil to break the shackles of fate, conjured up $510,000 in its second outing and $1.4 million thus far for distributor CMC.

The Tamil/Telegu/Malayalam versions of Saaho (Let Victory Be Yours) from writer-director Sujeeth captured $420,000 on 48 screens for Southern Star. On top of that, the Hindi version starring Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Chunky Panday, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Jackie Shroff rang up $289,000 on 47 screens for Mind Blowing Films.

Directed by first-timer Andrea Berloff (screenwriter of World Trade Center and Straight Outta Compton), The Kitchen cooked up just $380,000 and $412,000 including previews. That’s no surprise considering the film starring Melissa McCarthy and Tiffany Haddish as women who take over crime rackets after their mobster husbands are sent to jail bombed in the US, finishing with $11.8 million.

Universal’s flop A Dog’s Journey, the sequel to the 2017 hit A Dog’s Purpose, mustered $295,000 in its third, reaching $1.6 million.

Amazing Grace, the film of Aretha Franklin’s 1972 two-day performances to record a live album with James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir in Los Angeles when she was 29, whistled up $3110,000 including previews on 106 screens for Studiocanal.