Ride Like a Girl hooks audiences

Ride Like a Girl was quick out of the gates and clobbered its opposition.

This is the press release that distributors Transmission are really proud to send: 

‘Rachel Griffith’s directorial debut Ride Like a Girl has topped the Box Office on its opening weekend in Australian cinemas. 

‘After opening at number 1 on Thursday, the film is continuing its race towards the record books and it is on track to become the highest grossing Australian film of the year. The weekend takings were $1,684,858 with a cumulative total of $2,377,731 (with some screens still to report.)

Ride Like a Girl is a Transmission Films release and is screening at 269 cinemas around the country. It is the feature directorial debut of Rachel Griffiths and it stars Teresa Palmer as Michelle Payne and Sam Neill as her father Paddy Payne. Stevie Payne has been receiving critical acclaim for playing himself in the film. 

Richard Payten and Andrew Mackie from Transmission Films said: “She’s first again! This opening weekend result puts Ride Like a Girl in a class with many of the biggest Australian films. That audiences have embraced Ride Like a Girl during a competitive school holiday period, against major studio releases, is a testament to Michelle Payne’s inspiring story and the wonderful storytelling by the makers of this crowd-pleasing hit. We’re hearing feedback from cinemas of standing ovations and grown men crying. Tissue makers can expect stock to fly off the shelves over the coming weeks.”‘

I saw the film on Saturday. Next to me was a fit, strong man with two small children, less than school age, who told me he loves horses and has a bit to do with the industry. I snuck a look at him a few times during the movie. I could see his tears moving softly down his face in the light from the screen. At the end his smaller daughter snuggled in for a big hug. 

More to come on this as the rest of the figures come out. 

We do have to keep a sense of proportion about this. Last weekend Ad Astra opened on 364 screens and took $1.942m while Downton Abbey stayed on top with $2.256m off 502 screens. If Ride came out last weekend, it would not have topped the league tables. But this weekend Ride.. found a lovely gap with very little being released for a general audience; we can expect that its screen average is better than either Ad Astra and Downton Abbey

Next week The Joker arrives and will do its tentpole best to dominate the market. By then Ride will have had a clear week to harvest the holidays. 

Breakfast television is in love. 

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.