By Brendan Swift

Australian thriller Red Hill has posted a moderate opening weekend of just over $110,000 as audiences instead flocked to comedy Due Date and the latest Harry Potter instalment.

The local western, starring Ryan Kwanten as a young police officer who must survive his first day's duty in a small country town, has attracted critical acclaim but posted a screen average of just $1,912 across its 58 screens.

Sony Pictures have backed the film strongly with TV spots and an online campaign but the release of Due Date, touted as a follow up from the team behind mega-hit The Hangover, appears to have won over its primary target audience of males aged 15 – 29, who like action-genre films.

Roadshow’s Due Date, which was also released last Thursday, posted an opening weekend of $2.67 million across 294 screens, giving the film an impressive screen average of $9083.

The record-breaking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, which posted the eighth highest opening weekend in Australian history with more than $19 million, maintained top spot at the box office in its second weekend.

The film, distributed by Warner Bros, grossed $6.73 million across 610 screens. Its screen average of $11,033 was the highest of all major releases over the weekend.

Meanwhile Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts, opened strongly in third position with $587,118 across 138 screens. Its screen average was $4254.

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