‘Australia’ still #1 Down Under

Epic romance retains top spot despite clamour

SYDNEY — It’s a tale of two audiences.

Baz Luhrmann’s “Australia” continued losing auds in Oz cities, but strong showings outside the urban areas, where mixed reviews went unheeded, helped pic to retain top spot in its soph session Down Under despite a strong debut by Disney’s “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.”

Epic romance, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, grossed A$4.1 million ($2.65 million) for a $9.6 million, 12-day cume from 642 screens, the widest ever rollout in Oz. That result edged out “HSM 3” with $2.6 million.

” ‘Australia’ has probably exceeded my expectations,” said Kieren Dell, CEO of five-site regional New South Wales circuit Majestic Cinemas.

Weekend perf was 36% off the opening weekend result, with strong regional auds offsetting softer results in the cities. Fox was hoping good word of mouth and the tendency for Luhrmann’s pics to hold would see “Australia” drop by just 25%.

But Fox Australia marketing topper Marc Wooldridge is still happy with the result.

“It’s definitely got momentum. We always predicted a long tail, and it’s playing out that way,” he said.

Peter Cody, film manager of the mostly metro circuit Greater Union, said, “It held up remarkably well over the weekend; the percentage drop was quite low in comparison with most big films. We were very happy.”

“Australia” will play on fewer screens this weekend to make way for “Twilight,” but Fox doesn’t expect a commensurate box office drop, as “Australia” is mostly playing to older auds.

“I’ve already spoken to older people who have seen it two or three times, and now that it’s (school summer vacation) the kids are starting to come in,” said Dell.

“It’s still playing to very good houses,” said Peter Howard, manager of regional cinemas in Taree and Tuncurry in New South Wales.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety