"The Loneliest Planet" led the underwhelming new specialized films this weekend, as "The Sessions" showed continuing strength in its second-week expansion. Otherwise business was on the low side even for the normally deemphasized pre-Halloween playtime. "The Other Son" showed some initial action in an unusual wider release.
Continued competition from "Argo" and "Cloud Atlas" (both getting the bulk of their business from older audiences) continues to make it tougher to lure specialized audiences.
"The Loneliest Planet" (IFC) – Metacritic score: 78; Film festivals include: Locarno 11, Toronto 11, NY 11, AFI 11; Video on Demand starts on Tuesday
$20,400 in 2 theaters; PSA (Per screen average): $10,200
A year after the Gotham best feature nominee's festival showings, this story about a young couple hiking in remote Asia in the Georgian mountains starring Gael Garcia Bernal opened in two NY/LA theaters with strong reviews and the best PSA for the weekend.
What comes next: Expansion to other cities, but the usual IFC VOD availability likely will be its main venue.
"The Other Son" (Cohen) – Metacritic score: 62; Film festivals include: Ales 12, San Francisco Jewish 12
$125,000 in 41 theaters; PSA: $3,049
Unusually wide release for a subtitled film, to OK if not spectacular results. This French film tells the story of two adoptees =- one Jewish, one Moslem -= who learn years later they were switched at birth and are not who they think they are.
"Pusher" (Weinstein) – Metacritic score: 52; Film festivals include: Edinburgh 12, Galway 12, Toronto 12; also available on Video on Demand
$5,040 in 14 theaters; PSA: $360
This English-language British remake of a Danish thriller with a Spanish director this time around is the lowest grossing yet of the day and date VOD and theater releases from Weinstein's Radius division.
What comes next: VOD is its home for now.
What comes next: Cohen Releasing continues to remain committed to foreign language film at a time when audience interest in most of them is lagging. Reaching out to a wider audience initially looks like an enterprising decision that, combined with good initial reaction, could push this to a higher gross than most similar releases.
"The Revisionaries" (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic score:; Film festivals include: Tribeca 12, Hot Docs 12
$5,000 in 1 theater; PSA: $5,000
This documentary about the fierce struggle to keep Texas schooltexts (and thus the country's) from being totally slanted to right-wing ideology opened to a modest gross at NY's Elinor Bunin Munroe Center, after actually having a couple of earlier dates in the state in which it takes place.
What comes next: Kino Lorber will expand this to other cities ahead, and otherwise await the announcement of the Oscar doc semifinalists.
"The Sessions" (Fox Searchlight) – Week 2
$231,000 in 20 theaters (+16); PSA: $11,550; Cumulative: $390,000
Falling somewhere between "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" in PSA for a second week widening of a specialized release, these are respectable if not spectacular grosses for this awards hopeful. Reviews remain strong in new cities — the Metacritic score is now at a very strong 80. Considering external factors this weekend, plus likely initial audience resistance to the handicapped man/sex surrogate story line, it's still an encouraging start, and certainly the strongest new release over the last few weeks.
What comes next: Whether this film can reach the "Beasts" total of over $11 million is going to depend on word of mouth and its award trajectory, although it is weeks until the first kudos are announced.
"The Flat" (IFC) – Week 2
$42,000 in 9 (+6) theaters; PSA: $4,700; Cumulative: $76,000
Better than usual performance among recent docs as this Israeli film quickly adds new cities.
What it means: In a crowded market, this seems to be showing some promise.
"Brooklyn Castle" (PDA) – Week 2
$30,100 in 8 theaters (+6); PSA: $3,763; Cumulative: $54,000
A modest expansion for this NY student chess competition documentary, still performing ahead of what most recent docs have done.
What comes next: Further expansion and hoping for awards attention.
"Holy Motors" (Indomina) – Week 2
$15,300 in 2 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $7,650; Cumulative: $56,000
A modest drop (19%) in its two NY theaters is a sign of specialized audience interest after initial reviews boosted the first weekend
What comes next: Indomina seems to be moving carefully with this, but these grosses will be enough to get it prime big city openings across the country, and potential decent success for what these days is a tricky sell — a French film whose main appeal is to younger, more adventuresome audiences. (It plays at LA's AFI Festival this weekend before its later opening there.)
"The Big Picture" (MPI) – Week 3
$19,200 in 6 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $3,200; Cumulative: $40,300
This French thriller continues its modest performance, holding its theater count steady.
What comes next: Without a lot of competition in upcoming weeks, this should get maximized playoff.
"Smashed" (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 3
$44,400 in 21 theaters (+1); PSA: $2,114; Cumulative: $150,000
Still underperforming, but at least the PSA held steady this weekend.
What comes next: Much wider playoff is still ahead, although this is struggling to find traction.
"Middle of Nowhere" (AFFRM) – Week 3
$30,100 in 24 theaters (+3); PSA: $1,254; Cumulative: $166,900
Still not finding its deserved wider audience after its strong openings.
What comes next: With a reported $200,000 production cost, this acclaimed drama still is likely to ultimately be successful.
"Simon and the Oaks" (The Film Arcade) – Week 3
$32,500 in 14 theaters (+7); PSA: $2,321; Cumulative: $79,000
This Swedish WW2 drama doubled its theater count to continued modest results.
What comes next: This will keep opening in new markets, but it doesn't look like it will reach more than a low six figure total.
"The Paperboy" (Millennium) – Week 4
$102,000 in 76 theaters (+2); PSA: $1,342; Cumulative: $551,000
Continued weak performance for this multi-star steamy thriller.
What comes next: Won't last much longer.
"The House I Live In" (Abramorama) – Week 4
$25,029 in 12 theaters (+8); PSA: $2,085; Cumulative: $111,000
Performing steadily as it gets into new markets, this drug prohibition drama continues to score important media attention with the hope that this leads to awards.
What comes next: Enough gross here to continue playing going forward.
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Lionsgate) – Week 6
$1,400,000 in 736 theaters (-9); PSA: $1,902; Cumulative: $11,208,000
This keeps holding a very steady theater count with little additional advertising not preventing this from adding on gross each week.
What comes next: This is already one of the best grossing initially platform films of the year, and it has some weeks left to go.
"Arbitrage" (Roadside Attractions) – Week 7; also available on Video on Demand
$176,000 in 125 theaters (-44); PSA: $1,408; Cumulative: $7,350,000
Now late in the run, but still adding to its impressive total while home viewing is also available.
What comes next: Roadside hopes to position Richard Gere in the very competitive best actor race this year.
"Samsara" (Oscilloscope) – Week 10
$94,000 in 67 theaters (-2); PSA: $1,400; Cumulative: $2,179,000
In its third month, and still holding on.
What comes next: This should easily pass the $2.5 million mark.
"Searching for Sugar Man" (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 14
$159,000 in 114 theaters (-23); PSA: $1,395; Cumulative: $2,214,000
Along with "Samsara" the other documentary with legs and strong word of mouth.
What comes next: This could still get to $3 million.