'Wrath of Man' (Photo credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved)

In a clash of the actioners, Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man narrowly defeated Mortal Kombat at the box office last weekend, with the two titles driving almost half of all ticket sales.

Distributed by Studiocanal, Ritchie’s latest Jason Statham-starrer opened on $1.7 million from 389 screens, an average of $4,444. With previews, it sits on $1.8 million.

Co-written by Ritchie with Ivan Atkinson and Marn Davies, the film is based on the 2004 French feature Cash Truck by Nicolas Boukhrief.

Statham plays H, hired by a cash truck company. During one job, the truck gets held up at gunpoint and he single-handedly deals with the robbers. Secretly, H is hunting for the people who murdered his son during a similar robbery, and plans to use his new position to set traps for every would-be robber in the city until he finds his son’s killers.

The film is yet to be released in the US and UK, where it will bow May 7 and July 23 respectively.

In its second frame, Warner Bros.’ Mortal Kombat fell 55 per cent to take $1.6 million, advancing to $6.7 million. Worldwide, the South Australian-shot film from Aussie director Simon McQuoid has grossed $US66.9 million.

Overall the box office was relatively quiet, with a number of titles in the market now for several weeks. The top 20 titles brought in $6.8 million, a fall of 18 per cent on the previous, according to Numero.

Oscar winners Nomadland, The Father and Minari all received an uptick, and Promising Young Woman held steady.

Nomadland got a big enough Oscar bump to move to #1 on our list of films. Pretty incredible since the film has been out for two months not including the Boxing Day preview season,” Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari tells IF.

The Father also held steady not dropping from the previous weekend. Even Promising Young Woman got an Oscar bump and continues for the new week. A movie that’s been out since January 7. That certainly seems to make a case for the shortening of windows not being all doom and gloom. Provided films go exclusively to cinemas first, audiences will almost always choose to see a film on the big screen if it’s appealing enough.”

Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly told IF other new specialty titles such as Universal’s Land, Robin Wright’s feature directorial debut, and auteur Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow (Madman), struggled against the renewed interest in the Oscar winners. Awareness of Zhang Yimou’s Cliff Walkers, from CMC, was also low given last minute date changes.

Behind Wrath of Man and Mortal Kombat was WB’s Godzilla vs. Kong, which garnered another $501,101 in its sixth outing, climbing to $26.8 million in total.

Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2, a UK-Australian co-production between Animal Logic Entertainment and Olive Bridge Entertainment, now sits on $19.5 million after making another $495,681 in its sixth weekend.

Judi Dench and Eddie Izzard WWII drama Six Minutes to Midnight held relatively well for Transmission, dropping 27 per cent in its second to earn $314,605, moving to $1.2 million.

Best Picture winner Nomadland enjoyed an 180 per cent uptick on the previous for Disney, bringing in $285,797. The drama, which also saw Chloe Zhao win Best Director and Frances McDormand Best Actress, now sits on $3.9 million.

The Father, for which Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton took home Best Adapted Screenplay and Anthony Hopkins Best Actor, saw a boost of 32 per cent, ringing up $237,864. It has made $2.2 million for Sharmill in five weeks.

In its third weekend, Sony horror The Unholy moved to $1.6 million after collecting $219,264.

Rounding out the top 10 was Cold War drama The Courier, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, sitting just shy of a $4 million after five weeks, with weekend receipts tallying $217,158 for Roadshow.

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