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`Australia` fails to match `Quantum` at box-office Down Under

28-Nov-2008 • Quantum Of Solace

The first figures in the battle of the blockbusters are in, and Australia has failed to match the opening day box office takings of the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, reports SMH.

Australia grossed $1,307,853 in ticket sales from 304 screens on its opening on Wednesday, according to Nielsen EDI figures published by Screen Australia.

Director Baz Luhrmann's epic romance starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman more than doubled the $575,596 taken on the opening day of his last film, Moulin Rouge! in 2001.

But it falls short of the massive $2.03 million racked up on one day by the latest James Bond caper Quantum of Solace when it was released on Wednesday last week.

Film expert Bruce Molloy from Bond University said Luhrmann and distributor Twentieth Century Fox would be disappointed with its performance.

"I would think they would hope to do better - I've never seen a saturation publicity campaign like this, ever," Professor Molloy said.

"If Quantum of Solace opened by almost half as much again, that is a concern."

However, Prof Molloy said Australia would be better judged after its opening weekend, and would probably do well off word of mouth.

Inside Film (IF) Magazine journalist Simon De Bruyn agrees.

"It's just not a first day film in my opinion," he said.

"It's a long-burn film and the long burn will go over several weeks at the box office.

"And Australians love word of mouth so they'll want to see what their mates think."

Twentieth Century Fox was asked to comment but did not return calls.

Australia will open in the US on Thursday, and the next four days will likely decide if Twentieth Century Fox recoups its substantial investment in the $198.7 million film and if its largely-Australian cast and crew will be Oscar nominees.

If the film has a strong opening and can stay in cinemas for the months leading up to February's Academy Awards, gold statuettes may rain down on the film.

But the early box office predictions do not look good there either.

At least one box office expert is predicting Australia will finish a disappointing fifth place on the box office ladder over the coming Thanksgiving long weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, earning a disappointing $A27.51 million.

"Opening at about 2,600 venues, Australia could be in big trouble," Reagen Sulewski, of boxofficeprohets.com, predicted.

One of America's best-known box office experts, Gitesh Pandya, is expecting Australia to earn more, $33.63 million, but still be behind at least three other films.

Teen vampire blockbuster, Twilight, is expected to be the box office winner with a take of around $64.2 million, adding to the $106.99 million it made last weekend.

The Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy Four Christmases (the film debuts in Australia next week and has been retitled Four Holidays) is tipped to finish second with about $61.14 million.

Luhrmann's Australia will fight with the latest instalment of British tough guy Jason Statham's action franchise, Transporter 3, and Quantum of Solace, for third.

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