Australian film The Sapphires has ousted stiff competition from international blockbusters and franchises alike to make a sparkling #2 debut on the Australian box office after a successful opening weekend, proving a win for both production company Hopscotch Films and Australian cinema in general.

Based on the true story of four young Aborginal women in the late 60s who form a doo-wop group, who with the help of an ambitious coach, make the trip to Vietnam to perform for the troops, Yahoo News reports the Australian production had a stunning opening weekend, being the only homegrown picture to crack the box office top 10.

Raking in $2.340 million over its opening weekend, it was only just pipped to a #1 debut by the all-conquering Batman blockbuster, The Dark Knight Rises. Drawing the curtain on Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, the film took in $2.742 million, with it’s month-long release now sitting at nearly $37 million in earnings.

More impressively, The Sapphires – the feature-length debut from NSW-born director Wayne Blair – beat out a number of Hollywood blockbusters whose immense marketing budgets far exceed the little Aussie film that could.

The Sapphires edged out the opening weekend debut of the big budgetWill Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis comedy The Campaign – which earned $2.039 million – and popular studio franchise entries like Step Up and Ice Age.

The Sapphires’ success is due to far more modest qualities, a much smaller marketing campaign for one – but also it’s solid cast, featuring Australian Idol alumni Jessica Mauboy, TV veteran Deborah Mailman and Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd . Its soundtrack of 60s soul classics couldn’t have hurt none either.

Featuring covers of soul standards – like Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances” and Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” – as well as originals from the period, and a few originals written in the style of the times; The Sapphires soundtrack is a big part of the film’s appeal.

The film’s success at the box office was mirrored by the soundtrack’s sales, jumping from its #17 rank on the ARIA Albums Chart last week to climb back up to a comfortable #5 slot this week. It’s pretty clear that some music is just timeless in its appeal, or as the film’s belligerent manager Dave Lovelace (played by Crhis O’Dowd) says: “Ninety per cent of music is basically shite. The other ten per cent is soul.”

The full Top 10 at the Australian Box Office last weekend is as follows:

1. The Dark Knight Rises

2. The Sapphires

3. The Campaign

4. Magic Mike

5. Step Up 4: Miami Heat

6. Ted

7. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

8. Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

9. Brave

10. The Amazing Spider-Man

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