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The Sapphires stays strong at Oz box office

After six weeks in cinemas, home-grown musical The Sapphires is about $1m away from becoming one of Australia’s top 15 local films of all time.

The eOne/Hopscotch film attracted nearly $1m worth of ticket sales from 255 screens in the seven days up to yesterday, putting it sixth in the chart and bringing the total gross since its August 9 opening to $12.77m ($12.29m). The industry regards a $10m gross in Australia as equivalent to $100m in the US.

The other Australian film high up in the box office chart is Roadshow’s Kath & Kimderella, although it fell to fourth place this week after being the most popular film of the previous week. It has grossed $4.43m (A$4.26m) from 285 screens in the fortnight since its September 6 opening.

Kath & Kimderella was no.15 in the list of all-time opening weeks for Australian films … and was ahead of Red Dog, so we were very happy with ithe result,” Roadshow’s marketing director Phil Oneile told Screendaily. “To get an Australian film to open at that level is a good achievement.”

Oneile said he is confident that the film plays well to families and this will augur well for its performance during the school holidays that begin next week in most parts of Australia.

The Sapphiresshould also benefit from families with time on their hands.

The Sapphires has shown strong resilience in the face of The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, Expendables 2 and, this week, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted although it failed to top the charts when it debuted.

The uplifting period musical, based on the true story of an all-girl group that leaves Australia to entertain the troops during the Vietnam War, is the best Aussie performer this year.

“The film is holding in there and should be applauded,” said one exhibition executive. He preferred not to be named because of what he subsequently said: that he doubts the general public will embrace Bait 3D or Mental, the two local films that are being touted as potential mainstream hits when they release on September 20 and October 4 respectively.

“The US does genre films so much better than us,” he said of Bait 3D, “and even the good US ones don’t always work here”.

The third Australian film in the top 20 chart is Madman’s Storm Surfers 3D: The Movie, which opened on August 14 and has grossed $563,000 (A$542,000) since. It is a modest result for the real-life surf adventure, which screened in Toronto, but is only on 34 screens.

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