Arthouse Audit: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Conquers More Box Office; Specialized Success of The Year

Arthouse Audit: 'Moonrise Kingdom' Conquers More Box Office; Specialized Success of The Year

The news this week is in the expanding films. Two huge hits– a phenomenal second week for Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and more success for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"– joined with two other decently grossing expansions– "Intouchables" and "Bernie"– to provide an even better early June than last year, when "Midnight in Paris" and "The Tree of Life" broadened out.

On the other hand, the new openings were among the weakest in a long-time, with only animated "A Cat in Paris" earning significant grosses (but not stand-out) and doc "Five Broken Cameras" also doing good business in its exclusive NY run.


"A Cat in Paris" (GKids) – Metacritic score: 62; Festivals include: Berlin 11, San Francisco 11

$36,133 in 6 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $6,012

Opening not only in NY and LA but also the Bay area and San Diego (following an unadvertised one-week LA run, which qualified it for a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination last year), "A Cat in Paris" grossed at equivalent levels to GKids' other nominee — "Chico and Rita" — when it expanded to five theaters. The latter, which opened better in NY, managed to reach $350,000. A bit more kid-friendly ("Chico" had some explicit content), this one could end up doing more.

What it means:   This will get enough exposure (among others, Landmark Theaters has this heavily booked currently and in upcoming weeks) which, combined with its English-language dubbing will position this for interest down the line on DVD and cable.

"Five Broken Cameras" (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic score: none; Festivals include: IFDA 11, Sundance 12

$6,500 (estimated) in 1 theater; PSA: $6,500

This Palestinian-themed documentary opened at NY's Film Forum last Wednesday with a solid NYTimes' review, resulting in a decent gross for this theater so far.

What it means:  More likely a niche/calendar film at selected theaters than broader as some other recent documentaries have managed.

"Pink Ribbons, Inc." (First Run) – Metacritic score: 66; Festivals include: Toronto 11, Santa Barbara 12, Portland 12

$3,000 (estimated) in 3 theaters; PSA: $1,000

Weak response to this documentary about breast cancer charities in its NY/LA openings.

What it means:  Limited theatrical life ahead.

"Hide Away" (MMC Joule) – Metacritic score: 34; Festivals include: South by Southwest 11, Heartland 11; also available on Video on Demand

$15,633 in 5 theaters; PSA: $3,133

After playing at festivals as "A Year in Mooring," this saga of a businessman who takes up sailing in response to life crises comes from director Chris Eyre ("Smoke Signals"), opened with a new title. Already having played on VOD for some time, this limited release will bring more attention to those showings. The grosses, considering the reviews, are about as good as could be expected.

What it means:   Limited future theatrical play.


"Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus) – Week 2

$849,000 in 16 theaters (+12); PSA: $53,043 ; Cumulative: $1,463,000

Adding a handful of new cities while staying platform in NY/LA, these are about the best second-week grosses ever seen. They are nearly double both the impressive expansion for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" last December, which was quite strong, and also the PSA for "Marigold Hotel" its opening weekend at 27, and strongly ahead of "The Tree of Life" in its second week. "Moonrise Kingdom" is the specialized success of the year and marks specialized film's best second week ever. Superlatives get tossed around a lot in box office coverage, but these numbers so far deserve to be called unprecedented.

What it means:   It remains premature to guess where this ends up and how wide this acclaimed film's appeal is with broader audiences. But most films reveal on their second weekend whether they won't live up to their openings ("The Tree of Life" as a prime example). Thus "Moonrise Kingdom" looks to have huge potential. Even taking higher ticket prices into account, this ranks as the best of non-year-end/awards season platform/limited releases. If these grosses were in December, they'd signify a leading Oscar contender. ("The Artist" hit 16 theaters its third weekend, with a PSA a third as big). For now, this very popular film boasts growing appeal and break-out potential.

"Intouchables" (Weinstein) – Week 2

$350,000 in 50 theaters (+46); PSA: $7,000 ; Cumulative: $517,000

With many reviews in new cities continuing to prove not-friendly, these grosses are good enough to allow for this French world-wide smash to build down the line. The PSA is less than a quarter of what "Midnight in Paris" did when it first hit 50 screens (also its second week) — it did $33,000 on its way to becoming Woody Allen's most successful film in decades, so this has a way to go to become more than just a small-scale specialized success.

What it means:  At this point, odds are against history coming anything close to repeating itself in the US (the rest of the world has grossed close to $350 million so far). But odds are also — between the film's likely strong WOM (world of mouth) and continued Weinstein marketing wizardry and distribution strength — that it will come close the highest-grossing subtitled film of the year. But whether it breaks out in with a wider audience a la "Marigold Hotel" or "Midnight" remains to be seen, although Weinstein certainly will give it every chance to bloom.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Fox Searchlight) – Week 5

$4,600,000 in 1,294 theaters (+61); PSA: $3,555 ; Cumulative: $25,497,000

The PSA cooled off a bit this (non-holiday) weekend with a minor uptick in theaters, but a modest 30% decline still gives Fox Searchlight reason to be happy. This already has crossed into significant specialized hit territory. Now the question is how close it can get to what "Midnight in Paris" achieved last year (another older-audience appeal breakout success). It already is playing in more theaters than "Paris" at its widest break (with a slightly lower PSA).

What it means:  Coming into summer play time–when megaplex screens are at a premium and with more competition for adult ticket buyers coming as newer films expand– "Marigold" is already playing in most markets. Thus the film has earned a bit over a majority of its take. But this could also — depending both how it expands its appeal as well as how much deeper into the market (including further advertising) Fox Searchlight decides to go — still push past "Paris." Whatever happens, this is going to rank as one of the biggest non-awards boosted specialized releases of recent years, and a major addition to Fox Searchlight's sterling reputation as a niche distributor.

"Bernie" (Millenium) – Week 6

$937,000 in 302 theaters (+96); PSA: $3,103; Cumulative: $3,651,000

The PSA declined with the expansion to a now OK level as this comedy continues to slowly expand. As a film with  marketing support appropriate for its level of performance, it is performing well without yet coming having maximized its potential.

What it means:   This likely will further expand and keep in the public eye for weeks to come, with an elevated post-theater life ahead because of the significant attention it has gotten in upscale theaters.

"Hysteria" (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 3

$190,000 in 65 theaters (+33 ); PSA: $2,922; Cumulative: $474,000

Doubling its theater count with a reasonable PSA decline of around a third, this continues to do well enough to justify holdovers in most locations and further playoff around the country. SPC has supported this with good-sized Friday newspaper ads pushing this as a comedy, buttressed with positive review quotes, which indicates faith in a potential further audience for this.

What it means:   Though not looking to perform at the level of some other currently expanding films, expect this to keep a presence over the next few weeks, with an eventual gross considerably above its present total.

"First Position" (IFC-Sundance Selects) – Week 5

$87,000 in 58 theaters (+2); PSA: $1,500; Cumulative: $693,000

The PSA fell 40% from its modest level, so it would appear this dance competition documentary has passed its best level.

What it means:  This still has done much better than expected, and IFC might yet get it above the $1 million mark, very solid for a niche documentary film.

"Where Do We Go Now" (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 4

$81,125 in 37 theaters (+12 ); PSA: $2,193; Cumulative: $248,000

Continued modest grosses as SPC does its usual slower roll-out, making sure all key markets play this Lebanese film before it's through.

What it means:  Though disappointing, this still will amass more gross than most subtitled US releases, including many with better reviews.

"Polisse" (IFC-Sundance Selects) – Week 3 (also available on VOD)

$31,500 in 21 theaters (+7); PSA: $1,500; Cumulative: $134,000

Moving out further with mediocre results, this French multi-character police story is likely close to as deep in the market as it will get.

What it means:   Most viewing for this will be at home, where it can be seen already.

"Elena" (Zeitgeist) – Week 3

$11,000 in 6 theaters (+4); PSA: $1,800; Cumulative: $53,000

Though this Russian film has received just about the best reviews of any 2012 release, the grosses aren't reflecting this.

What it means:  Limited theatrical life ahead.

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