Box office: Long Story Short late to the box office party

Four of the top five films at the box office are now Australian for a total exceeding $25m.

Still The Dry leads the pack out for the weekend. Now up to $17.33 million, it has lost 54 screens to take it down to 334, lost 40% over the weekend, and made $711k since last Thursday. We reckon it will make the magic $20 million.

At number two, Penguin Bloom has now made $5.87 million in four weeks, lost 24 screens last weekend, is down 39% and made $445k. Respectable but not humungous. 

Read more: Feathers in cap for Penguin Bloom at TIFF?

Madman put out Detective Chinatown 3, a Chinese mystery buddy film. The opening weekend for this film in its home market was probably US$200 million, which is the highest ever in China. It also has the medal for biggest opening day sales ever in the history of Planet Earth, even without a US release. Everyone came out for a family friendly comedy on Chinese New Year. 

While the Chinese exhibition industry is back in business, here it only took $412k off 52 screens in 36 cinemas. 

Next on the Australian list at number four is Long Story Short on its first weekend. $333k off 278 screens, even with a mildly muscled up distributor in StudioCanal. 

Read more: The financial artwork behind Long Story Short 

High Ground, at number five after three weeks has made a tad under $2m on 245 screens and lost 31%.That is a good figure, not only reasonable in itself but beating an odd trend. Almost everything lost around 40%, which tells us that the whole market shrunk last weekend. The Melbourne lockdown would not have helped. 

Birth Time: the documentary is out on demand, and took $46k off two screens. 

Occupation: Rainfall, following the trend for last weekend, lost 103 of its 164 screens and took $24k off the rest. Understandably it dropped 73%, so the existing screens are at least doing more business. But this is not a successful crusade.  

David Tiley was the Editor of Screenhub from 2005 until he became Content Lead for Film in 2021 with a special interest in policy. He is a writer in screen media with a long career in educational programs, documentary, and government funding, with a side order in script editing. He values curiosity, humour and objectivity in support of Australian visions and the art of storytelling.