US critics go cold on Drift

Sam Worthington may be a big star in Hollywood action-adventures but Drift, the Australian surfing- set drama in which he co-stars with Myles Pollard and Xavier Samuel, has had a limited release in the US.

Wrekin Hill Entertainment, which bought North American rights last September, launched the film at 11 cinemas on August 2, a month after the title debuted on Video-on-Demand platforms.

The US critics gave the film featuring Pollard and Samuel as brothers who build a surfboard/surfwear business in the 1970s, with Worthington as their hippie photographer mate, a cool reception.

As of today, the distributor had not reported any figures to Rentrak, Box Office Mojo, The Numbers or other web sites which track the US box-office.

Australian films released in US cinemas and on VoD platforms have not fared well this year. Mental earned just $18,000 in ticket sales and 100 Bloody Acres made $6,000, according to Box Office Mojo.

Expectations probably were not high for Drift considering it grossed just $903,000 on home turf, and the US cinema release serves primarily as a platform to drive VoD buy-rates.

Typifying the harsh reviews, Village Voice Zachary Wigon opined, “Not so much drifting as veering between storylines, Ben Nott and Morgan O'Neill's Drift often feels like a film with narrative ADD. With likable leads (Xavier Samuel and Myles Pollard as brothers Jimmy and Andy Kelly, plus Sam Worthington supporting as a surf-hippie) and gorgeous scenery, it wouldn't have been difficult to make a charmer about a group of guys building a surfboard manufacturing business. Unfortunately, that's the film Drift might have been, not the film it is.”

The New York Times’ Jeanette Catsoulis declared “this earnestly old-fashioned tale telegraphs its conclusion with every bromidic beat.”

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Walter Addiego said, “The film has genial moments, but they're lost in a sea of boilerplate incidents and prefab characters.”

Updating the results of other Australian films released in the US this year, The Great Gatsby has raked in $144.5 million, The Sapphires $2.45 million, Lore $970,000, Storm Surfers 3D $110,000, and Wish You Were Here $46,000.