As of Tuesday after a long weekend, the box office reports are telling us that the top of the chart has become unstable.
Raya and the Last Dragon is in first slot, giving Disney a welcome run at mass interest. It has $1.45m off an opening day of $91k from 379 screens in 365 locations. That is the true multiplex template, though it is already available to stream in Australian on Disney+ Premier Access. It is also the first Disney film to be made almost completely from home.
Roadshow organised an almost identical release schedule for Chaos Walking, gained a fan boost for that first day of $173k but dropped behind to sit at number two with $1.17m in box office. It is US$100m worth of dystopian action film from Doug Firman who is a television director turned producer and director of features building on 2014’s Edge of Tomorrow. Bad crits and poor performance in the US point to a rush to be first even though it was due out just pre-Covid and has endured a bunch of reshoots since them.
Deadline claims that Lionsgate has already written it off, which will be depressing for a major distributor trying to please its bankers.
Warner Bros and The Little Things is hanging onto the third slot, making $630k for the weekend to take $4.07m by the end of week three.
Demon Slayer lost 70% in week two though it kept almost all its 201 screens, to make $564k and $2.18m in total.
The Dry still heads the Australian contingent, now at number five in week 10 – surely a remarkable statistic. $375k was added to take the total to $19.38m so it will make $20m and faster than we predicted.
With its festival and preview figures added, Nomadland has made an impressive $1.41m by the end of its first weekend. But that was only $302k off 89 screens so the boutique release is paying off for the award-powered art-house enchanter. Disney will be pleased as we are reminded it can do lean and arty as well as noisy or soppy.
On number seven, Penguin Bloom took a 50% hit, down to $148k off 259 screens, down 54 to house the new releases. On a total of $7.08m, it will find the $8m hard to get. Back in the dim past when the picture was funded, a cinema total of $8m would have been very acceptable.
Minari is closer to classical arthouse, about a family, a cultural minority, and with subtitles. Despite glowing reviews and a fabulous cognoscenti driven world of digital umbra, it has only made $720,000 in three weeks. Madman would say that is fine – true but this is a special film.
High Ground, tough as desert prickles, has made $2.75m in six weeks. It lost a third of its screens last weekend and a third of its box office revenue as well, so it is doing the same business per cinema to create $120k across the counter. Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton’s similar Indigenous western, took $2.03m in the same period in 2018. I am guessing that the loss of the tentpole films has less impact on pictures which tend to have a larger core but possibly a less impulsive audience.
Firestarters deserves much better – it is on $169k in three weeks, now off 34 screens.
The cinemas took around $4m off the first five slots which is an improvement so the sector is recovering quietly at the multiplex end.