Box office: See How They Run falters as Super Pets wins the holidays

Despite the school holiday audience, total returns are still modest as the slate is short on true blockbusters.
Dog flies with Superman

Eager for an Australian success? Elvis of course is a blockbuster, while Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is doing fine with $3.16m in seven weeks. But two films deserve much more attention – the documentary Franklin, with $218,000 in five weeks off 16 screens at the moment, and Goran Stolevski’s Australian-Macedonian film You Won’t Be Alone. $76,000 in two weeks, off seven screens, with just $6,000 from last weekend. Last week we called the film’s audience a small elite, and it seems even more true now.

Read: Sissy and You Won’t Be Alone shake up the horror film genre

Let’s see how they ran…

Disney launched See How They Run last weekend which has all the hallmarks of drawing-room detective fun, which becomes a case within a case in a now classic 21st century loop. Disney negotiated 315 screens on 270 locations, which is a pretty modest effort. The audience ‘repaid’ the favour by staying away, as it made all of $700,000 over the weekend. That number looks fine for an indie, but this is Disney folks, for whom this is chump change. 

It has made $25m around the world in two weeks, though the cinema release does look like an attention ploy for a key streaming product.

DC League of Super-Pets took full advantage of the bored student tornado created by school holidays to gain 5% over the weekend – a very rare event in week three. $13.08m is not to be sneezed at either. 

Ticket to Paradise, despite huge acting chops and the obvious appeal of a level of snark seen rarely in the cinema since the invention of colour, has dropped behind. It now has $10.91m from its three weeks, and lost 33% to bring the weekend take down to a humbled $1.93m.

They both left Paws of Fury practicing karate in the street and piddling on trees, with around a fifth of the interest generated by the above two holiday pleasures. 

New horror film Smile did reasonably well in its first weekend, for a scare flick. $1.11m over the weekend off 291 screens tells us that Paramount filled its allotted cinemas. 

IMAX provided a useful boost for the re-released Avatar with $635,000, and Moonage Daydream, which has made $969,000 over three weekends. That’s not much, you say, your eyes glinting with common sense, but we are living in terrible times for music films. 

Fall, the windiest chamber-piece film ever, is doing nicely, with $1.64m in two weeks. It did however lose half its box office last weekend as interest seems to be waning fast. It will ultimately do better than After Ever Happy, which is only just ahead over four weeks. They are very different, as After Ever Happy is a franchise, has a media identity and the potential for soppiness, while Fall is a lean, mean thriller which can make an audience hold its collective breath. Put together, they are a study in contrasts, as the relative success of Fall illustrates the power of a really tight concept blazing from the poster. 

Read: Classic horror films and scary hidden gems streaming now

Next weekend 

Wog Boys Forever is the third film in the set which started with Wog Boy in 2000, and then Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos in 2010. It stars writer/actor/comedian Nick Giannopoulos, who also directs his hapless comrades, Vince Colosimo and Sarah Roberts. Giannopoulos has hit the media to point out he had no help from either Screen Australia or VicScreen, despite the success of the two previous films. 

Wog Boy made nearly $20m in 2022 dollars, while Wog Boy 2 took $6m. Is this a downhill slide? Can new generations take up the venerable Greek survivor? We will see.

Don’t Worry Darling is a post Stepford Wives, post Handmaid’s Tale about a ‘perfect’ suburban community in the 1950s, where the women are enveloped by suburban plenty and the men have a mysterious mission in the ‘Victory Project’. Screenwriter Katie Silberman is still only 31, with Set It Up and Booksmart on her CV. Lead Florence Pugh is a compelling performer at the top of her game, while director Olivia Wilde is also an actress and social justice campaigner who is seriously respected. 

Unfortunately most reviews sledge it for being too long; those antecedent projects set a very high bar to create anything original. It has made $28m in two weeks in the US, which means its particular star power is working.

Amsterdam, also from Disney, is directed by David O. Russell, who has a heap of Oscar nominations for compelling films like American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook. The picture stars Margot Robbie which provides an Australian connection. It is based on the 1930s murder of US senator Bill Meekins, which blew up into a giant conspiracy, which is why the film is described in the blurbs as a ‘period-mystery-comedy-thriller’ [thanks Wikipedia]. The list of producers includes actor Christian Bale and David O. Russell but not Margot Robbie.

Fear in true stories

Margot Robbie is also involved as a narrator in Under Cover, a documentary about homeless women over fifty, released by Backlot Films.

Under Cover is written and directed by Sue Thomson, who shares the producing role with Adam Farrington-Williams, while Diana Fisk runs the social media campaign. It was supported by the Documentary Australia Foundation, with funding from agencies and private donors. This is a crusading film, so it will have a precise release for which box office is not necessarily a good indicator of success. 

But it is right in the zeitgeist and we really hope it does well. After all, screen creation is an addictive but chancy profession, which can lead to a difficult old age. It has an excellent trailer.

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.