Bright start for Last Cab To Darwin in cinemas

Solid opening … Michael Caton in Last Cab to Darwin. On top of the box office … Amy Schumer and Bill Hader in Trainwreck.

Disappointing results … Fantastic Four.

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A strong year for Australian films in cinemas has continued with an estimated 100,000 people watching Last Cab To Darwin on its opening weekend.

Director Jeremy Sims’ touching drama, with Michael Caton as a Broken Hill taxi driver who heads to Darwin to die with dignity under new euthanasia laws, took a solid $1.15 million with an average of $5,200 per cinema.

Adding in previews, it has taken $1.37 million on Rentrak figures so far – a bright start for a film on the potentially downbeat subject of euthanasia. It joins strong ticket sales for The Water Diviner, Paper Planes and Mad Max: Fury Road since Christmas.

Reviewers have praised Caton’s performance as a terminally ill introvert, Rex McRae, who discovers what really matters on a road trip through the outback in a film inspired by real life cabbie Max Bell’s similar journey two decades ago.

Last Cab also features Jacki Weaver as a Northern Territory doctor, Ningali Lawford-Wolf as Rex’s on-the-quiet girlfriend, Mark Coles Smith as a charismatic drifter and Emma Hamilton as an English backpacker.

Sims was delighted, especially with strong takings on Sunday.

“I’m thrilled that we seem to be finding the audiences that we made the film for and I hope it manages to stay on screens for another three or four weeks,” he said.

Sims and Caton travelled extensively around the country, appearing at 48 Q&A sessions, leading up to the release.

The personal touch also paid off for Trainwreck.

After two weekends of previews on top of a high-profile promotional visit by Amy Schumer, the comedy opened on top of the box office with $3.18 million.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation slipped to second with $2.67 million, with new release Fantastic Four taking a less-than-fantastic $2.63 million to be third.

The poorly reviewed reboot, which stars Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell,  flopped in North America on the weekend, taking just $US26.2 million.

It delivered one of the lowest openings of all time for a Marvel Comics film adaptation – even less than The Green Hornet’s disappointing $US33.5 million in 2011.

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