Tom Holland stars as Nathan Drake in Sony/Columbia Pictures' 'Uncharted'. (Photo: Clay Enos)

Tom Holland continues to weave box office magic, this time in action adventure Uncharted, in which he stars opposite Mark Wahlberg.

The Sony title, based on the popular Playstation game by Naughty Dog, premiered at no. 1 last weekend with $5.6 million from 546 screen – an average of $10,307 per screen.

That is the largest opening weekend of any new release in 2022 so far, more than doubling that seen for Jackass Forever.

Holland plays the street-smart Nathan Drake in the Ruben Fleischer-directed film, recruited by treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg) to recover a 500-year-old lost fortune amassed by explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Trade for Uncharted accounted for more than 50 per cent of the overall national box office, with the top 20 titles grossing $10.4 million according to Numero, up 33 per cent on the previous.

In the US, where it is Presidents Day weekend, Uncharted is estimated to open at $US52 million, and is tracking at $US139 million worldwide. Unlike many other Hollywood blockbusters in recent times, the film will also get a release in China, where it is due to premiere March 14.

Wallis Cinemas programming manager David Simpson tells IF Uncharted had a “first-class opening weekend”, with a number of sell out sessions at its sites across South Australia.

Similarly, Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell saw big numbers for Uncharted across his circuit across regional NSW and Queensland, telling IF the “Tom Holland factor” had proven to translate from Spider-Man: No Way Home.

“It even did well in sites that wouldn’t normally do well with this type of content, which was a pleasant surprise,” he says.

While Uncharted took a huge slice of the pie, upscale cinema operators who did not screen the film are still reporting decent trade, with Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari telling IF Belfast, Death on the Nile, and House of Gucci continue to do “solid business”.

Similarly, Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly tells IF he was delighted to see such a bullish opening for Uncharted, despite not it not playing at his Melbourne venue, where Belfast, Drive My Car, Death on the Nile, Licorice Pizza and House of Gucci reign.

“It’s my view that a rising tide floats all boats,” he says, going on to observe that audiences are “slowly but surely” returning to the cinema.

“The arrival of the anticipated new Batman entry in early March should help the national totals and an attractive suite of features now scheduled for April should help upscale venues following the late March Oscar winner announcements,” he says.

Dell has also seen older audiences in NSW become more comfortable returning to cinemas, with restrictions such as mask wearing and QR codes now starting to ease. The state government’s Discover vouchers are also aiding foot traffic.

However, in Queensland, where vaccine mandates and compulsory masks remain, this is “a little way off”, and he predicts this would be similar for other states.

Uncharted was the only new release in the top 10, with the second spot held by Death on the Nile in its sophomore weekend. The Kenneth Branagh-helmed film held decently, dropping 38 per cent to $1 million, with overall receipts now tallying $3.6 million for Disney.

Now three weeks in, Jackass Forever collected $775,892, growing to $5.8 million to Paramount, while Universal’s Marry Me‘s second outing drummed up $694,716, a 46 per cent drop, to move $2.6 million.

Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home continues to draw 10 weeks in, with a weekend result of $468,718 pushing the film to $79.9 million.

Belfast is holding remarkably well, dropping only 11 per cent in its third frame to $440,879. Nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the film has grossed $2.3 million so far for Universal. Both Dell and Simpson note the film is pleasingly working to bring back older audiences, who have otherwise been hesitant to return to cinemagoing.

Another film with continued legs is Sing 2 which dropped just 2 per cent in its ninth with $440,879, a result that sees the film cross $19 million for Universal.

Stablemate House of Gucci also remains a solid performer, dropping 25 per cent in its eighth with $245,703, which sees the film reach $9.6 million.

Liam Neeson-starrer Blacklight, distributed by Rialto, tumbled 61 per cent in its second frame with $126,797, moving to $591,034. The Melbourne-shot film has been completely panned by critics, with just an 8 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top 10 was Warner Bros.’ King Richard, which dropped just 24 per cent in its sixth with $125,976. The film, which sees Will Smith nominated for an Oscar, stands at $3 million.

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