BO Report: ‘Victoria and Abdul’ smothers ‘mother!’ and ‘American Assassin’

Victoria and Abdul

‘Victoria and Abdul’.

Stephen Frears’ drama based on the true story of the relationship between Queen Victoria and a young Indian servant proved much more appealing to Australian cinemagoers than American Assassin and mother!  last weekend.

Granted, Frears’ Victoria and Abdul was the widest of the three releases but the winning margin was surprising, given the star casts of Michael Cuesta’s action-thriller and Darren Aronofsky’s horror/mystery.

Well, perhaps not so surprising in the case of the incomprehensible mother!’s dismal debuts in the US – where it was obliterated by the second weekend of the Warner Bros/New Line blockbuster If – and in the UK, France and Germany.

Among the Aussie films, Jeffrey Walker’s Ali’s Wedding is still earning tidy sums in its third weekend and Rhiannon Bannenberg’s tween feature Rip Tide opened on limited screens after earning positive reviews at the Sydney Film Festival.

The top 20 titles generated nearly $13.9 million, up just 1 per cent on the previous weekend, according to Numero.

Directed by Andy Muschietti, It easily retained pole position in Australia too, grossing $5 million in its second outing at 278 locations, easing by 33 per cent. That’s an impressive hold considering the opening weekend set a record for the genre and beat the debuts of Wonder Woman and Dunkirk. That brings the 11-day haul to $14.7 million.

The horror/thriller raked in an estimated $US60 million in the US, propelling the total to $218.7 million; worldwide the cume is a staggering $371.3 million.

Sony’s The Emoji Movie, an animated sci-fi-comedy directed by Tony Leondis, ranked second, drawing $2 million at 281 cinemas and $2.3 million including previews. That’s a decent result in advance of the school holidays, considering the $50 million production has under-performed in the US, taking $83.8 million.

Judi Dench stars as the Queen while Ali Fazal plays Abdul in Frears’ film, which rang up nearly $1.9 million at 272 for Universal.

Roadshow’s CIA thriller American Assassin, which stars Michael Keaton, Dylan O’Brien, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch, captured $1.2 million at 204. Pro-rata, that’s below the estimated US 3-day take of $14.8 million.

Paramount’s mother!, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Xavier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, fetched just $708,000 at 213 in Oz and $7.5 million in the US. In the US critics questioned both Paramount’s decision to release the film one week after If and the casting of Lawrence as a petrified, tormented wife, the polar opposite of her kick-ass roles in The Hunger Games and X-Men franchises.

Aussie director Patrick Hughes’ The Hitman’s Bodyguard topped $6 million after rustling up $661,000 in its third weekend at 271 for Roadshow, despite plunging by 47 per cent.

Universal’s racy comedy Girls Trip directed by Malcolm D. Lee advanced to $3.8 million after earning $558,000 in its third on 187, falling 42 by per cent.

Tom Cruise fans aren’t flocking to American Made, the Doug Liman-directed CIA adventure which has scored a moderate $6.2 million after pocketing $306,000 in its fourth frame at 202 for Universal, down 61 per cent.

Celebrate Studio Ghibli, Madman Entertainment’s month-long celebration of the films produced by the venerable Japanese studio, is winding up after banking $766,000, including $116,000 from 52 screens last weekend.

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk has amassed more than $508 million worldwide, including $185 million in the US and $23.2 million after nine weeks in Oz.

Ali’s Wedding reached $700,000 after collecting $114,000 at 58 for Madman Entertainment, off by 41 per cent.

Umbrella Entertainment launched Rip Tide on 69 screens with a limited number of sessions, making $44,000 plus $7,600 from two festival screenings. The distributor is treating the first weekend as previews ahead of the proper release this Thursday.

Disney Channel star Debby Ryan plays Cora, a teenage model whose mother (Danielle Carter) runs a major a major modelling agency.  When the video of Cora’s emotional breakdown on set goes viral, she flies to Australia to see her estranged aunt Margot (Genevieve Hegney), a former pro-surfer whose surfing business on the rocks.

In its second weekend, Gregory Erdstein’s comedy That’s Not Me brought in just $9,000 on nine screens. In addition to the $48,000 tallied from the indie’s cinema release, the film grossed $26,000 from screenings at the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane festivals. Also in its second week, Sera Davies’ feature doc Namatjira Project took $7,000 on nine, for $37,000 thus far.

First-time US director Geremy Jasper’s Patti Cake$, which stars Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald as an aspiring, overweight New Jersey rapper, made quite a splash when it premiered in Sundance. But the drama did not cut through in the US last month, released by Fox Searchlight, so the Australian opening of  $19,000 on 20 screens and $67,000 including festival screenings is no surprise.