June 18th, 2014 / 7 Comments

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With bylines like this it’s no wonder there’s a perception that the opening weekend has been truly disappointing.  I personally don’t think it is and if you check out my post from Monday, you’ll see that Animal Kingdom had a slow opening weekend as well.  But this article from Giles Hardie for The NewDaily, if you actually read the entire article, is a pretty positive response even if the attention grabber makes you believe differently:

The Rover debuted outside the Top 10 box office earners, despite opening on a relatively high number of screens for an independent Australian film. Grossing a disappointing $143,000, the average across 41 screens was a little under $3,500 per screen which implies many a near-empty screening.

One senior Australian producer described this as disastrous, indicating the film’s backers would have been hoping for 10 times that figure after the movie impressed critics at Cannes Film Festival a few weeks ago and has since had a very high profile publicity campaign in Australia, alongside largely glowing reviews.”

I think people forget that this is a limited release.  As Vertigo pointed out, if you work and wanted to see the film you would be lucky to find 2 sessions after 5.00 pm on a weeknight.  And that’s if you live in the city or close proximity.  I’m sure there are a few of you reading this that have to travel for a few hours in order to get to a screening or are waiting for a weekend to get to one.  Most of you would have been there on the weekend if you could have gotten to a session.   I’m not making excuses, it’s fact, and I”m sure all involved would have loved for it to make 10 times in opening weekend, but let’s see the positives from Giles:

“Nonetheless, while the studio and producers will be frustrated, the film should be chalked up as a success for its key players.

For Michod, it represents the critical second film. The statement making next step after his debut feature Animal Kingdom blew up at Sundance Film Festival landing him firmly in Hollywood’s sights.

The Rover also arrives two years after Robert Pattinson’s final Twilight film which still clunks in the memory, though clearly louder in Pattinson’s. Since that time he has tried and failed to step out of the (presumably glittery) shadow of Edward Cullen, with maligned efforts such as Bel Ami and Cosmopolis.

And it is a little over 10 years since Guy Pearce’s own collapse. His “mini nervous breakdown.” When too much work and pot smoking left him hating the industry. Since then he has been incredibly careful with his role selection, taking long breaks in between at home in Melbourne. The result has been some outstanding work but mostly as villains or in smaller, important supporting roles.

For all three men, this was a big decision. The choice to do any film is considerable given time and career pressures. The Rover represented a potential turning point for this impressive trio.

The price of success for Michôd was being forced to choose, to stick or twist. Did he pursue the Hollywood dream or take on perhaps the bigger challenge, attempting a second Australian film that still advanced his career.

For Pattinson this could be the film that demonstrates more than just a desire to be thought of as an actor, not as RPatz. Playing the puppy-like Rey, a mentally simple Southern American, requires the sort of skills associated with the best character actors. It is a role that would highlight even the smallest acting flaw. Pattinson never looks like stumbling, instead swiftly disappearing into the part.

For for the two actors the immediate aftermath couldn’t be more distinct. Pattinson will be a regular feature on our screens as he pursues his metamorphosis … Pearce will remain Australia’s most easygoing and least celebrated megastar. “

Seems like a success to me.  Click on link to read full article.

  • Tracy
    Posted on June 18, 2014

    I’ll note that the fact that many theaters ran the film only 1x per day (at 10:30 am for some…what?) just totally KILLS the per-theater average. It means people are looking at that total and comparing it to films that get 4-5x a day screenings. It literally has 1/4 to 1/5 the chance to earn money in those theaters.

    With that set up, I think the $3k/theater average is acceptable. Not great by any means, but okay.

  • Trish
    Posted on June 18, 2014

    Yeah, it’d be interesting if “Transformers 6.5” or “Generic American Super Hero movie #59″ had a limited release and a tiny advertising budget, whether they would break any box office records. Give us a break! It’s an independent film – almost arthouse – intelligent, mature and thoughtful – of course your average 15- to 18-year-old movie goer won’t go and see
    ‘The Rover”. I’m getting sick of how everything is always reduced to the amount of money it makes. I’d rather see films that enrich the soul than those that line pockets.

  • silvie
    Posted on June 18, 2014

    Well said @Trish

    I don’t know about Sydney but Hoyts in Melbourne have only one screening session per day at 10.30 am, (great time slot….not) The Village shown only at select locations with maybe 2 or 3 sessions. Thank goodness for Cinema Nova.

  • Carmel
    Posted on June 18, 2014

    @Trish – I love your comment.

    As for the article – Maybe this is part of the reason Aussie movies find it so hard to get a foot hold here at home.

    I’m still digesting it all but … GO THE BLUES!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  • Maria
    Posted on June 19, 2014

    So it’s not just Sydney thanks Silvie and let’s face it it’s not exactly a Mum’s & Bub’s Club kinda movie for that timeslot.

    Here’s the screenings for the next week for my local cinema –
    The Rover Rated MA15+, 103 mins
    Thu 19 Jun-Sun 22 Jun: 12:15pm, 4:30pm, 9:00pm
    Mon 23 Jun: 10:00am (BC), 12:15pm, 9:00pm
    Tue 24 Jun: 12:15pm, 4:30pm, 9:15pm
    Wed 25 Jun: 12:15pm, 4:30pm, 9:00pm

    So really if I can’t get there on Sat or Sun for either 12.15 pm or 4.30 pm I’ll have to go at 9pm or later if I want to see it. I’m sure that’s going to do really well for box office *shakeshead*

  • Sue
    Posted on June 19, 2014

    I wouldn’t be surprised if The Rover becomes one of those movies that is truly appreciated and talked about for it’s uniqueness, years after it’s release. It’s so beautifully shot, the acting is brilliant, the characters are so rich and diverse, the storyline is, at it’s core so simple yet poignant . These kinds of movies are the ones that deserve to be remembered. I’m just so glad that we get to enjoy the wealth of interviews, Q&As etc that the guys are doing at the moment.
    I think one of the problems with the marketing of this movie is, whilst it is kind of a ‘guys movie’, it’s a ‘THINKING guys movie’ – and I’m just not too sure how many of them exist ……..

  • Julie- Sydney RobFan
    Posted on June 20, 2014

    @Trish love your comment

    @Sue you may be onto something there

    I would be curious as to what numbers would have been like if it was released in more cinemas. I know many people go to their local cinemas, but wouldn’t travel to a specific one to see a particular movie. So maybe numbers would have been higher?

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