Aussie film These Final Hours fails to find an audience on opening weekend

Australian movie These Final Hours made a disappointing debut in the local box office over the weekend grabbing just $206,727 despite showing on 164 screens across the country.

The film, directed by Zac Hilditch, has been critically acclaimed winning the critics prize at the Melbourne Film Festival last year and was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes,  but failed to make an impact on audiences with the Village Roadshow film taking an average of just $1,260 per screen across the weekend.

It focuses on a young man on the last day on earth who is off to enjoy the party to end all parties, but instead winds up saving a little girl, and finding the road to redemption.

The film launch was supported with an ambitious interactive marketing campaign led by Soap Creative.

The film could not match Hollywood blockbuster Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson which took in $4.66m across 318 screens in its opening weekend.

The film, which stars Johansson as Lucy, a human who has unlocked more than 10 per cent of her brain and in doing so has unlocked super-intelligence and super powers, made more than $3m more than its closest rival Hercules which topped the weekend box office last week.

Hercules, starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, grabbed $1.473m, taking its total Australian box office to just over $6m.

Mrs. Brown dropped below the $1m mark, taking in $955,540 across 267 screens while Dawn of the Planet of The Apes was pushed into fourth place after pulling $890,223 across 203 screens.

The film has now made $16.972m in the Australian box office.

Comedy Sex Tape had to settle for fifth place after only managing to attract $782,787, taking its total Aussie box office takings to $6.009m.

Kids movie How To Train Your Dragon 2 continues to stay in the top ten, coming in at ninth place after grabbing $228,399 across 204 screens. It had made more than $25m at the Australian box office.

Title (Distributor) Weekend B/O Screens Total B/O
Lucy (Universal) $4,660,979 318 $4,660,979
Hercules (Paramount) $1,473,168 0 $6,010,168
Mrs. Brown (Universal) $955,540 267 $3,426,046
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox) $890,223 203 $16,972,012
Sex Tape (Sony) $782,787 0 $6,009,518
Deliver Us From Evil (Sony) $537,704 154 $1,873,121
Most Wanted Man, A (Roadshow) $307,754 46 $310,187
Jersey Boys (Wb) $284,044 187 $7,175,699
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox) $228,399 204 $25,840,830
These Final Hours (Roadshow) $206,727 164 $213,983
Calvary (Paramount) $202,970 0 $2,099,787
22 Jump Street (Sony) $169,677 116 $22,512,510
Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Paramount) $162,956 0 $26,679,293
The Lunchbox (Madman) $152,563 42 $1,064,059
Rio 2 (Fox) $134,476 125 $11,816,705
Still Life (Palace) $88,760 14 $333,194
Kick (Mindblowing Films) $85,140 21 $463,528
The White Haired Witch Of Lunar Kingdom (Chinalion Film) $78,355 12 $78,355
Charlie's Country (Eone) $76,921 40 $440,547
The Keeper Of Lost Causes (Madman) $52,418 28 $64,379


  1. the print guy
    4 Aug 14
    5:42 pm

  2. so good it dominated twice

  3. Big Shane
    5 Aug 14
    11:07 am

  4. These Final Hours has a terrible trailer. It looks like a social realist kitchen-sink melodrama with all the usual Oz movie cliches – drugs, infidelity, bogans fighting each other, etc. On top of that it uses a morose tone, as if the film-maker decided he wanted to make the movie look like pseudo-arthouse crap such as Somersault. And we all know how much Oz audiences avoid these movies like the plague.

  5. Alex
    5 Aug 14
    1:34 pm

  6. I thought the trailer looked pretty good. These sorts of genre films are important for the industry.

  7. Billy C
    5 Aug 14
    1:38 pm

  8. I think Australian films have a branding problem. People just assume they won’t be any good. It also doesn’t have a star to launch it and lets be honest doesn’t look like a lot of fun. I’ve put it on my DVD list but I wouldn’t spend $20 plus popcorn on it when I could go see guardians of the galaxy.

  9. Ben
    5 Aug 14
    2:06 pm

  10. it has to be one of the worst films i have ever seen in my life

  11. Michael Bourchier
    5 Aug 14
    2:30 pm

  12. Whatever you think of the trailer, I strongly encourage you to go see the film on the big screen while it lasts.
    I went to see it with fairly low expectations – not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic nihilistic melodrama. And low budget versions of this genre are particularly lousy, generally. But…
    I was absolutely taken on the journey by this film. The film makers came up with an idea and committed to it absolutely. The ultimate end is not going to be a surprise so it is the events along the way that make up the story. There were some fantastic performances and the much discussed party scene was at such a crazy frenetic level it was a great depiction of what it would be like in the final hours when annihilation is certain.
    I saw TFH a couple of weeks ago and it has stayed with me since. I am not sure what I would have made of the trailer if I had not seen the film – I didn’t have that opportunity – but it makes perfect sense in retrospect!
    Go see it. Not to support the Australian film industry but because it would be a good film if it were made in Denmark, the UK, India, the US or anywhere.

  13. David Manning
    5 Aug 14
    2:33 pm

  14. the comment above from Big Shane – which is not uncommon – is a fascinating reflection of the problem : THESE FINAL HOURS is nothing at all like the film he describes, its a mainstream film for a 14- 28 demo. But his prejudicial attitude to Australian films led him and others to see it that way.If this was a US indie, I wager Shane would have interpreted that same trailer differently. Yes, its gloomier than the actual film; I can’t figure why Roadshow went this way with it, but a trailer isn’t the whole campaign. They spent big bucks on advertising, billboards, online etc… and no one responded. oh and ps: the film’s pretty damn good too.

  15. Lookouts
    5 Aug 14
    4:12 pm

  16. Advertising sector will know the answer. They know everything. Adwank.

  17. Big Shane
    5 Aug 14
    4:32 pm

  18. David Manning – If people like me have a prejudicial attitude to the Oz film industry (I don’t, by the way), then why not try to change that attitude? Why put out a trailer that makes a movie look gloomier than it is when local audiences don’t like gloominess? Doesn’t sound like a particularly good marketing strategy to me.

  19. Richard Moss
    5 Aug 14
    4:55 pm

  20. Not unusual for Australian films to be “pretty damn good,” so far as producing the product is concerned.

    We make good films technically and the Australian crews are alongside the best on the planet. The problem is that we make the same big mistake over and over.

    We cringe at the thought of sentimentality, we avoid comprehensive character analysis, and we rely upon action and dramatic impetus, at the expense of the one thing so badly needed at the very heart of any story which is to be enacted; theatricality.

  21. Dave B
    5 Aug 14
    5:21 pm

  22. Weird how folk can’t market local noble failures but ignoble ones rake it in with campaigns no more or less half-baked.

    Campaign was much too short/close to the release – it’s certainly no worse than most local TV shows, strong visually & with a pretty solid second act.
    The problem is the pitch & the pervasive cultural cringe – I found Bad Neighbours infinitely harder to sit through, but the same target demo couldn’t get enough of its roughly as tired/familiar tropes: threw down 20 bucks to watch TFH on a huge screen with five others…

  23. ken
    5 Aug 14
    7:39 pm

  24. When you have a policy that a distribution market pre sale is the precondition for Screen Australia’s feature film funding then THIS IS WHAT YOU GET! One day people will recognize that the measure they thought would protects taxpayers dollars namely (PRESALES) is the very thing that has destroyed the Australian feature film Industry

  25. Mac
    5 Aug 14
    9:37 pm

  26. Seriously? This is a mainstream film aimed at 14-28 year olds?

    (And why 14-28 ? The demographic splits I’m familiar with are 2-11,12-17,18-24,25-39 etc … Why choose this demographic?)

    But wow. That’s not what the trailer communicates.

    The trailer was gloomy. It was about sad people fighting and arguing.

    The director compares the film to 28 Days Later & 12 Monkeys

    Here’s the IMDB descriptions of those films along with this one. If you had to guess which ones were mainstream and which was arthouse … which would you choose?

    a. “Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.”

    b, “In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.”

    c. “A self-obsessed young man makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth, but ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. Their relationship ultimately leads him on the path to redemption.”

    Two of them describe characters trying to do something.

    The third is about someone who ‘ends up’ doing something. And then he has a relationship that ultimately leads him on the path to redemption.

    Seriously? C’mon … combined with a gloomy trailer it’s not exactly a shock that people are assuming that this is a standard Aussie Indie instead of mainstream. (I know – the trailer implies that he’s trying to do something .. but why did they think that it wasn’t worth mentioning that in the description?)

    OK – let’s agree that the people believing that this is a typical Aussie indie film are totally wrong – that this is a mainstream film. But how can you blame them .. when the film marketing have made a trailer that communicates the wrong thing .. and have also managed to create an IMDB description that communicates the wrong thing?

    At some point we’ll have to stop blaming film enthusiasts for being ‘prejudiced’ and consider that perhaps they are sensibly evaluating the exact information that the film marketers are providing to them.

  27. Melanie Kay
    5 Aug 14
    9:52 pm

  28. It is a shame is was dated up against Lucy, I have seen so much advertising for Lucy and seen one 30 second commercial (last night I think) for These Final Hours. Often the Australian films do not get the same size Advertising Budgets as the US films, so their budgets have to work so much harder add to this the fragmented media landscape, getting the target audience right and convincing them to see the film in the opening weekend.

  29. Sheesh!
    5 Aug 14
    11:37 pm

  30. That’s about $1260 per screen or 80-100 people. Not good.

  31. Richard Moss
    6 Aug 14
    8:49 am

  32. @Mac

    The points you make are strong ones.
    I think a large part of the problem is in the theatrical direction, and the lack of attention to the force that drives each of the characters. It is akin to an inherent fear of melodrama, when dealing with the greatest melodrama imaginable i.e. The last 24 hours of human existence.

    However, getting back to the strong points you have made, I see this confusion between taking the brave attack on a theatrical experience and kowtowing to the intellectual demands of such things as “Final Draft” and a host of so called “good business advice” on how to market successfully and how to handle film finance.

    There is no perfect business science for making theatre, therefore the same goes for films. Alexander Korda proved that many times.

  33. Ren
    6 Aug 14
    10:35 am

  34. Richard Moss, I am sorry to say that you are simply wrong. But you are.

    Did you watch the film or are you just happy to make an assumption on this one to make your point?

    You’re right to reference Mac’s comment – they’re very smart and good to think about. Perhaps filmakers like to be honest when describing their films and aren’t as great at ‘selling’ them.. which does require that the language stay in the positive and activer tone, even if that’s a stretch, to put bums on seats.

    That said, Michel Bouchier’s comment was actually bang on too – the film was strong, chose a tough genre with a foreseeable ending but what WAS surprising was that it actually nailed the character journey and made viewers care about a character that the blurb did not leave me keen to get to know. It satisfoed every element you were asking for – this was mot an action film.driven by special effects and spectacle/explosions/car chases.. this was entirely about the sentimental, well written (and awaeded alreasy for script!), well produced and finely directed to avoid loads of potentially cringe-worthy articulation of such end-of-the-world moments and I think in the end it is an excellent piece of film that succesfully tackles a new angle on a genre often full of repetitions and is – as one would think you would respect – what I would call a character driven drama.

    So I suspect you didnt see it. And still commented. Which does speak to the pre-viewing decision that aussies make on aussie film. You’ve also mentioned ‘theatricality’ numerous times which seems to underline your agenda but I urge you to see the film, for while it is not theatre, being a film, Brecth would be happy with its very clear chaptering and dramaturgical structure which is surprisingly elegant for an apocalyptic narrative. I think you’d be happily surprised!

    Also, I agree with some other posters – the advertising run was not as long as other US films enjoy. That, paired with the lack of a US star to the profile level of Scarlet, leaves it ham-strung on the opening weekend battle field.

    That said, it was made for just over 2 million dollars. How much do you think was then spent on distribution by Roadshow – who I think did a pretty grand job actually, as they did for Red Dog (making that family film one of our most roaring financial successes in decades!)

    Lucy was France’s second biggest budget film of 2013 – which I doubt any of you even recognised as French! – as it was made for 49 million EURO and by a filmmaker, Luc Besson, who despite being a genius of genre films, is the cash-crafty creator behind The Transporter film series and epics like The Fifth Element and knows a thing or two about how to make money at the box office.

    Lucy has literally THE WORST tagline on a poster that i have ever read. The worst. But that’s not what and why people are buying tickets. How much do you think was spent on promotions and how much do people like seeing Scarlett Johansen on screen and beating people up?