BO Report: ‘Top End Wedding’ charms audiences as ‘Avengers: Endgame’ soars

‘Top End Wedding.’

Released in the slipstream of the Disney/Marvel Studios’ juggernaut Avengers: Endgame, Wayne Blair’s Top End Wedding proved effective counter-programming last weekend.

The romantic comedy starring Miranda Tapsell, Gwilym Lee, Kerry Fox, Huw Higginson and Shari Sebbens wooed $1.1 million at 287 locations and $1.588 million with paid previews for Universal Pictures.

The opening was slightly behind that of Jeremy Sims’ Last Cab to Darwin’s $1.14 million, which finished with $7.4 million.

So, given the largely positive reviews and favourable word-of-mouth, the film co-written by Tapsell and Joshua Tyler and produced by Goalpost Pictures’ Rosemary Blight and Kylie du Fresne and Kojo’s Kate Croser could well reach $7 million.

The launch date was locked in before Universal took over eOne’s theatrical releases and before anyone knew the latest Marvel title would smash industry records in Australia and globally.

The superhero action adventure directed by the Russo brothers scored $13.6 million in Oz, the biggest second weekend in history, propelling it to $65.8 million, past the $61.8 million lifetime total of Avengers: Infinity War.

The global total soared to $US2.189 billion, streaking past Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Titanic to rank as the No. 2 title of all time behind Avatar’s $2.788 billion.

The movie produced by Kevin Feige and scripted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely has earned $620 million domestically and $1.569 billion in the rest of the world, trailing only Avatar’s $2.028 billion. In China it’s taken a staggering $576 million, the biggest non-local title ever in that market.

Exhibitors were very happy with Top End Wedding’s debut. Cinema Nova was the second-highest grossing location in the country; two Event Cinemas in Darwin, Casuarina and Palmerston, ranked first and third respectively.

“Week-to-week declines should be gradual for the rom-com as word of mouth spreads and audiences move on from the Marvel blockbuster,” Cinema Nova GM Kristian Connelly tells IF.

Wallis Cinemas programming manager Sasha Close says: “Word of mouth should propel the film to a healthy final box office. Perhaps it would have benefited by releasing away from Avengers; however audiences deserve choice and diversity at the cinema and I’m glad Universal held to the May 2 date.”

Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell agrees: “We are hopeful of good legs and the feedback has been very positive from our patrons.”

The top 20 titles harvested $18 million, according to Numero, a steep 54 per cent drop on the previous weekend with the end of school vacation.

Director Jordan Levine’s Long Shot, a comedy starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, entered in third spot, delivering a mediocre $820,000 on 250 screens and $845,000 including previews for Studiocanal.

Universal’s alternate content release Peppa Pig: Festival of Fun chimed in with $357,000 and $451,000 including sneaks.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo advanced to $11.8 million after making $211,000 in its sixth outing. The Disney movie has drummed up a soft $109.7 million domestically and a more respectable $229 million in the rest of the world, well short of recouping the $170 million budget plus P&A spend.

Paramount’s animated fantasy adventure Wonder Park drew $209,000 in its fourth, climbing to $6.2 million.

Michael Engler’s The Chaperone plunged by 44 per cent to $197,000 in its second weekend, generating a modest $970,000 thus far for Studiocanal. Even so, the 1920s-set drama starring Elizabeth McGovern, Haley Lu Richardson, Campbell Scott and Miranda Otto is easily outperforming the US, where it ended up with $416,000.

Warner Bros’ Shazam! reached $16.5 million after collecting $195,000 in its fifth. The DC comics-based superhero adventure starring Zachary Levin has snared $135.2 million in the US and $355.6 million globally.

Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel ascended to $41.4 million after collaring $160,000 in its ninth. The sci-fi fantasy co-directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck has amassed $1.12 billion worldwide.