Jocelyn Moorhouse’s ‘Dressmaker’ shows box-office staying power in Australia

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Day and Date Down Under

November bought great news to the local industry when director Jocelyn Moorhouse’s Australian drama The Dressmaker stayed at the top of the box office for two weeks, only knocked off that perch by the new James Bond film, Spectre. Showing signs of a long box-office life, it dropped only three percent in the second weekend and analysts are predicting a final total of over A$20 million. The British Kate Winslet, who starred as an Australian in Holy Smoke and has another Australian role sometime next year, is the lead character, a woman who returns to her small Australian country town in the 1950s. She makes dresses for some of the ladies of the town, and gets revenge for some past events. Also starring are Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving.

Hugo Weaving has just started filming another local film, Jasper Jones, in Pemberton in Western Australia. He plays the town recluse in the adaptation of Craig Silvey’s 2009 best-selling coming-of-age novel of the same name. The script, co-written by Silvey, focuses on a 13-year-old boy, Charlie, who is taken to the scene of a terrible crime. Charlie is an aspiring writer who reads To Kill a Mockingbird and gets inspiration from it. Toni Collette stars as the boy’s mother. 

With the Australian dollar now down to about US 70 cents, Hollywood production companies are returning to Oz. Johnny Depp will be back here to film the live-action/animation film Fortunately, The Milk. He will play a father who goes to the corner store to buy milk for his children but is abducted by aliens. Ridley Scott will be in Sydney next year for the new Alien sequel, Alien: Paradise Lost. And Chris Hemsworth will resume his superhero role in the next Thor, to be directed by Kiwi Taika Waititi. Waititi's most recent film, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, opens in early 2016 in New Zealand. Sam Neill and Julian Dennison are living in the bush in the new comedy-adventure.

Reading Cinemas opened their first cinema in Auckland, New Zealand, an eight-plex in the new Brickworks entertainment precinct of the LynnMall Shopping Centre. The complex includes Reading’s new TITAN XC Extreme Cinema, a 20-meter-wide wall-to-wall screen that incorporates Dolby Atmos. Reading will also offer two luxury dine-in "Premium Cinema" screens with a full food and beverage menu. This brings the Reading portfolio in New Zealand to 54 screens at nine cinema locations. 

Melbourne just opened its first open-air rooftop cinema on top of the Lido eight-plex in the suburb of Hawthorn. This is a 100-seat non-smoking venue with beanbags and deck chairs. In case of inclement weather, the cinema will post a notice one hour before the session time if a screening is cancelled. In case of rain during the session, a complimentary pass is issued. As an outdoor venue, there is food, wine, beer and cocktails on the menu. This venue opened with a screening of Spectre and will include both first-release films and special sessions.

Send your Australia/New Zealand news to David Pearce at insidemovies@hotmail.com.