Director Peter Andrikidis probably never dreamt his name would appear in the same sentence as Steven Spielberg, but that was before he knew their films would open in Australian cinemas on the same day.

It was a mismatch in budgets, scale of release and advertising campaigns but Andrikidis’ Alex + Eve and Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies both had respectable debuts in another lousy weekend for ticket sales.

Spielberg’s highly entertaining Cold War mystery/drama starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, John Scott Shepherd and Amy Ryan drummed up $1.8 million on 300 screens including previews.

Pro-rata, that is a bit better than the $US15.3 million debut in the US, where the Fox/DreamWorks release dropped by a modest 26 per cent in its second weekend, scoring $32.5 million so far – probably a pointer to its holding power here.

Andrikidis’ romantic comedy based on Alex Lykos’ play, which stars Richard Brancatisano and Andrea Demetriades, fetched $88,000 on 32 screens and $124,000 including its Greek Film Festival screenings. 

Distribution consultant Kim Lewis, who is handling the release for producer Murray Fahey's Magic Box, tells IF the film is performing best  in art house locations- the top-grossing venue was Palace Cinemas Norton Street Leichardt with $12,000- and not so well in multiplexes.

Among the other Oz films still in release, Oddball surpassed $10.1 million while, nearing the end of their runs, Last Cab to Darwin has collected $7.26 million and  Blinky Bill: The Movie $2.75 million. UnINDIAN lost sessions as it took $38,000 in its second frame, tallying $185,000.

Nationwide B.O. receipts tallied $10 million, up just 2 per cent on the previous blah weekend, according to Rentrak’s estimate.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian was light years ahead of the competition, earning $2.2 million in its fourth outing (easing by 30 per cent), which propelled its haul to $21 million.

Gregory Plotkin’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension rang up a fair $1.3 million on 330 screens, of which 64 per cent came from 3D screenings. That was below the last edition, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which had the advantage of opening in the January school holidays and took $1.4 million.

Bradley Cooper is a fine actor and can be a big draw in the right vehicle but very few people were motivated to see him as an upmarket chef who plans a comeback after a meltdown in John Wells’ Burnt, which was toast with $876,000 on 246 screens.

In the art house circuit The Lobster, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first English language film, a bizarre saga starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz set in a world where single people are given 45 days to find a mate and if they don’t, are turned into the animal of their choice, hooked a terrific $81,000 on 10 screens including previews.


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