BO Report: Ticket sales slump despite ‘The Mountain Between Us,’ ‘Happy Death Day’ and new Oz releases


‘The Mountain Between Us’. 

It was a grim weekend for Australian cinemas despite the launches of The Mountain Between Us, Happy Death Day and several local films.

The top 20 titles collected $10.2 million, down 29 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero.

Despite the modest figures for Australian releases Blue, What If It Works? and Bad Blood, the distributors say the theatrical window is still important for creating awareness and value for VOD and DVD sales.

Karina Holden’s feature documentary Blue, which warns of the threats to the world’s oceans and marine life, rang up $29,000 at 36 screens and $75,000 including previews, a disappointing result given the glowing reviews and the focus on environmental issues.

The distributor, Transmission Films’ Andrew Mackie tells IF, “We certainly hoped for more but in the light of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’s result [$312,000] we knew it would be a challenge to get the traditional first-run theatrical audience out for Blue.

“The film has an important message, we’re fans of the filmmakers and we still see a theatrical profile as crucial to driving the other rights forward. As with Embrace, we expect there to be healthy cinema-on-demand and educational business going forward.”

Produced by Tristram Miall, writer-director Romi Trower’s debut feature What If It Works?  fetched $7,200 on three screens in Melbourne.

The film, which stars Luke Ford as a chirpy tech nerd who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, will open at the Dendy in Sydney on October 26.

The distributor, Label’s Tait Brady, acknowledges it is tough to book screens for low-budget Aussie films but tells IF: “The filmmakers want and need a theatrical release and it does build value for ancillary rights.”

The drama co-starring Anna Samson, Brooke Satchwell and Wade Briggs will have the benefit of an accelerated VOD and DVD release in December.

Distributed by Potential Films, writer-director David Pulbrook’s suspense thriller Bad Blood made $1,200 on four screens plus about $8,000 from Adelaide Film Festival screenings.

The film starring Xavier Samuel and Morgan Griffin will open on three screens in Adelaide and in Devonport, Tasmania, on October 19 and the following week in more regional areas.

Producer Anthony I. Ginnane tells IF: “The net Australian result will be on line with the Turkey Shoot remake – theatrical deficit covered by DVD and EST, with overages from TV.“

According to Ginnane, Bad Blood launched on 79 screens in the US on the Cinemark and Century Theatres circuits last week but no figures were reported.

Rialto released Aussie director Greg McLean’s Colombian-set adventure/horror/thriller The Belko Experiment on 12 screens, generating just $8,000.

In the US the film written and produced by Guardians Of The Galaxy’s James Gunn grossed a modest $US10.1 million.

In Oz, Sony’s Blade Runner 2049 top-scored again, despite plunging by 43 per cent to $2.6 million in its second weekend at 291 locations. That brings the total for the reboot directed by Dennis Villeneuve to $8.4 million.

Fox’s survival thriller/unlikely romance The Mountain Between Us collected $1.7 million at 261. Pro-rata, that is better than the underwhelming $US10.1 million debut in the US, where the Kate Winslet-Idris Elba starrer directed by Hany Abu-Assad has pocketed $20.5 million in 10 days.

Happy Death Day, Universal/Blumhouse Productions’ micro-budgeted horror/comedy directed by Christopher B. Landon, scared up $1.4 million at 215. That’s not a bad result for the genre, considering the slasher movie opened at No. 1 in the US, capturing an estimated $26.5 million.

Fox’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle brought in $1 .1 million in its fourth frame at 292, down 45 per cent. Matthew Vaughn’s action/adventure/comedy has amassed a strapping $17.5 million Down Under and $287 million worldwide.

The stand-out title during the school holidays, Sony’s animated sci-fi-comedy The Emoji Movie reached $13.1 million after earning $448,000 in its fifth outing at 272.

Fox/DreamWorks Animation’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie advanced to $9.1 million after drawing $404,000 in its fourth at 284.

A consistent performer, Stephen Frears’ Victoria and Abdul has scored $7.5 million after making $360,000 in its fifth at 279 for Universal.

Warner Bros/New Line blockbuster It is hanging in, raking in $355,000 in its sixth weekend at 225 to reach $23.3 million.

Running out of legs, Warner Animation Group’s The LEGO Ninjago Movie climbed to $5.1 million after grossing $252,000 in its fourth at 294, by far the lowest result in the three-pic franchise.

Fox’s Battle of the Sexes tumbled by 50 per cent to $225,000 in its third set at 240. The dramedy starring Steve Carell and Emma Stone has netted a mediocre $2.2 million.

Among the other new releases, Marc Webb’s The Only Living Boy in New York, a drama starring Jeff Bridges, Pierce Brosnan and Callum Turner, bombed with $54,000 on 33 screens for Roadshow.

Brothers Ben Safdie and Joshua Safdie’s New York-set crime thriller Good Time has an appealing cast led by Rob Pattinson and Jennifer Jason Leigh but audiences were not persuaded, judging by the $18,000 debut on eight screens. However the total for the Hi Gloss Entertainment release including Sydney and Melbourne festival screenings is a more respectable $57,000.