Specialty Box Office: It’s All About Last Year’s Films On The First Weekend of 2014

Specialty Box Office: It's All About Last Year's Films On The First Weekend of 2014

With an extremely crowded field of late 2013 films still going strong, the first weekend of the new year didn’t offer much of anything in the way of newcomers, but there was a lot of notable news from holdovers.

Star studded “August: Osage County” — which only spent 4 days of 2013 in theaters — stayed static in 5 theaters for its second weekend, grossing $140,887
for an impressive per-theater-average of $28,177. The Tracy Letts adaptation
features an ensemble that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris
Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot
Mulroney and Ewan McGregor (Streep and Roberts have both received Golden
Globe and SAG nominations for their parts). The film’s total stands at $482,656 after 10 days in very limited release.

Charles Dickens adaptation “The Invisible Woman,” meanwhile, went from 3 to 4 theaters in weekend two. The film — which stars
Ralph Fiennes (who also directed), Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott
Thomas — took in $30,151 for a $7,538 average and a new total $116,840.

Sony Classics kept Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” on 5 theaters but saw the film’s weekend gross jump from $34,174 to $40,158 anyway. The film — snubbed from the Oscars in the foreign film category – averaged $8,032 as a result, totaling $166,213 so far.

In its six
weekend, Justin
Chadwick’s biopic of the late Nelson Mandela “Mandela: Long Walk To
Freedom” continued a newly wide run on 1,010 (up from 975 last weekend) and the result was a $1,109,000 gross,
averaging $1,098. That’s down significantly from last weekend, though The
Weinstein Company release has now taken in a very respectable $7,114,000.

The
Weinsteins’ seven week old “Philomena” dropped from 727 to 602 theaters but dropped just 12%. The film — which stars Golden
Globe nominees Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in the real
life story of a woman searching for the son that was taken from
her decades earlier — grossed $1,552,000, averaging $2,557.  That made for a very impressive new total of $19,695,351. The film could easily approach $30 million with a boost from Oscar nominations.

Joel & Ethan Coen’s
Oscar contender “Inside Llewyn Davis” dropped from 161 to 156 theaters in its fifth
weekend and lost just 6% of its gross.  That made for a $1,175,000 gross and a $7,532 average, the latter essentially on par with last weekend. 
The CBS Films release has now grossed $6,987,350.

Eight week old “Nebraska,” which
similarly follows intergenerational
lead characters on a road trip of discovery, also jumped despite losing screenings.   The film — starring
Bruce Dern and Will Forte — dropped 10 theaters to 240, dropping a slight 9% as it took in $670,000 for a $2,792 average. The $12
million-budgeted, Alexander
Payne-directed film has now grossed  $7,055,048.

The film —
released via Paramount Vantage — has been garnering Oscar buzz for
Dern’s performance since Cannes, where he won the best actor prize.
Likely among Bruce Dern’s
main competition for the best actor Oscar (and all fellow nominees for Golden Globes), Matthew McConaughey and
Chiwetel Ejioferl saw their films — out for 8 and 11 weeks, respectively — try and hold on in a crowded specialty
market this weekend as well.

McConaughey’s
“Dallas Buyers Club” went from 124 to 128 theaters and rose 10%,
taking in $306,000. That made for a  $2,391 average (up from last weekend) as the Focus
Features-released film’s total grew to $16,303,188.

The film
stars McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a
homophobic drug addict who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 Dallas, Texas
and is given 30 days to live.  To save his life and the lives of others,
he smuggles anti-viral medications into Dallas from all over the world,
selling them through the “Dallas Buyers Club” to work around legalities
(with the help of a trans woman played by Jared Leto, who seems like the frontrunner for a best supporting actor Oscar).

Fox

Searchlight dropped Ejiofer’s “12 Years a Slave” from 154 to 151
theaters. The result was a 13% drop for a $326,000 gross and
an $2,159 average. The Golden Globe favorite (it got 7 nominations
overall) has
grossed $38,469,342.

Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Senior Writer and box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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