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Specialty Box Office: Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Has OK Debut; ‘Boyhood’ Soars With Over $1 Million From Just 34 Theaters

Specialty Box Office: Braff's 'Wish I Was Here' Has OK Debut; 'Boyhood' Soars With Over $1 Million From Just 34 Theaters

Audiences continued to flock to Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" this weekend as the film took in over $1 million from just 34 theaters. That trumped any news from debuting films in the specialty market, as Zach Braff’s "Wish I Was Here" managed a decent but unspectacular debut and Mike Cahill’s "I Origins" stumbled. Full report below:

The Debuts:

Debut Winner of the Weekend (Sort of):  "Wish I Was Here," questionably. "A Five Star Life" and "Mood Indigo" had arguably more impressive numbers (see below), but Zach Braff’s second feature film gets this status because it was — at least out of the gate — by no means the disaster some suspected it might be.

Braff clearly has his share of fans. Enough so that he was able to
get them to offer $3.1 million on Kickstarter to help him fund his
follow up to his hit 2004 directorial debut "Garden State." But given
the backlash of that Kickstarter campaign and the generally negative
reviews that eventually met "Here" when it debuted at Sundance, it was clear that the film would be met with something of an uphill battle in theaters. And it still could. But the Focus Features release had a decent first weekend in 68 theaters, grossing $495,000 for a $7,279 average. Not the kind of numbers that suggest it could match the $26.7 million grossed by "Garden State," but not the kind Braff or Focus should be upset over either. Especially given the competition from "Boyhood"’s first weekend of expansion (see the next page).

The real test, however, is next weekend. Focus is sending "Here" to 110 markets and roughly 600 theaters. That’s going to be a serious uphill battle, but for now — the film is neither a hit or a disappointment.

This Weekend’s Debuts: (ranked in order of per-theater-average)

1. A Five Star Life (Music Box)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $16,500
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $16,500
Total Gross: $16,500
Criticwire Average: N/A

2. Mood Indigo (Drafthouse Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $25,121
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $12,561
Total Gross: $25,121
Criticwire Average: B

3. Wish I Was Here (Focus
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $495,000
Theaters: 68
Per-Theater-Average: $7,279
Total Gross: $495,000
Criticwire Average: C+

4. Alive Inside (Bond/360)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $7,150
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $7,150
Total Gross: $7,150
Criticwire Average: B

5. I Origins (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $28,719
Theaters: 4
Per-Theater-Average: $7,180
Total Gross: $28,719
Criticwire Average: B

Head on over to the next page for holdover grosses, including "Boyhood," "America," "Begin Again" and "Snowpiercer"…

The Holdovers:

Holdover Winner of the Weekend:

"Boyhood." Expanding from 5 to 34 theaters, the success story of Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" continued to unfold as it soared 209% in grosses, taking in $1,197,820 for a stellar per-theater-average of $35,230. That was on par with the weekend grosses of studio films like "Jersey Boys," "Edge of Tomorrow" and "Think Like a Man Too" — except those films were playing in 600+ more theaters.

"’Boyhood’ continues to do stellar business in its initial expansion," said Mark Boxer, SVP Sales and Distribution at IFC Films. "The film is at 99 percent  on Rotten Tomatoes and the word of mouth is through the roof as reflected by eye-popping exit polls this weekend and minimal drop at last weekend’s opening theaters. The film played strongly across all demographics, with top scores from teens to those in their 60’s and beyond.   This is the real deal, a film that has become a total must-see for moviegoing audiences."
 
"Boyhood" was a shot over 12 years, following the
evolution of a family (played by Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette,
Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater) over that period.  It represents an
investment from IFC Films, a division of AMC Networks, over that same
period.  The company had recently financed Linklater’s "Waking Life" and
"Tape" when Linklater and producer John Sloss approached IFC Films head Jonathan Sehring about
financing the "12 year project."   He in turn went to his boss, Josh
Sapan, head of AMC Networks,  who he had worked for almost 30 years, who
also was into the idea.
 
“Back in 2002, we thought Rick’s idea
was an extraordinary notion and we believed him to be a great
filmmaker," said Sehring and Sapan last week.  "Putting our creative and
commercial fates in the hands of people who are brilliant has proven to
be a terrific strategy for the company and we couldn’t’ be happier to
have supported Rick’s creative vision.  The result is a film for the
ages and we can’t wait to bring ‘Boyhood’ to the rest of the country in
the weeks to come."

"Boyhood" will expand to the top 25 markets this weekend as they continue to widen the picture over the coming weeks. Its total stands at $1,812,987 after 10 days of release.

Notable Milestones:

  • "Chef"
    crossed the $25 million mark — only the second specialty release of
    2014 to do so after "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The Jon Favreau comedy has been holding on extremely strong over its run, dropping just 10% this weekend — its 11th — despite losing screens. 
  • "America" soared past $10 million in its third weekend — it’s already the highest grossing documentary of 2014, and only the fourth 2014 indie overall to cross the $10 million mark.
  • "Begin Again" hit $9 million in weekend #4, making it the 5th highest grossing indie of 2014.
  • "Snowpiercer" crossed the $3 million mark, impressively while also being a huge hit on iTunes (read more about its VOD story here).

The Holdover Top 10: (ranked in order of per-theater-average)

1. Boyhood (IFC Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $1,197,820
Theaters: 34 (up from 5)
Per-Theater-Average: $35,230
Total Gross: $1,848,050
Criticwire Average: A

2. Land Ho (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $36,075
Theaters: 7 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,154
Total Gross: $85,890
Criticwire Average: B

3. The Breakup Guru (China Lion)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $8,000
Theaters: 3 (down from 6)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,666
Total Gross: $201,641
Criticwire Average: N/A

4. A Summer’s Tale (Big Wolrd)
Week: 5
Weekend Gross: $21,196
Theaters: 9 (up from 6)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,355
Total Gross: $106,521
Criticwire Average: N/A

5. Yves Saint Laurent (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $24,361
Theaters: 11 (down from 14)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,215
Total Gross: $209,107
Criticwire Average: C+

6. Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $456,484
Theaters: 211 (down from 356)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,163
Total Gross: $3,457,907
Criticwire Average: A-

7. Begin Again (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $2,762,000
Theaters: 1,302 (up from 939)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,121
Total Gross: $9,476,666
Criticwire Average: B

8. Chef (Open Road Films)
Week: 11
Weekend Gross: $1,129,332
Theaters: 552 (down from 701)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,046
Total Gross: $25,941,017
Criticwire Average: B

9. America (Lionsgate)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $1,725,000
Theaters: 1,030 (down from 1,105)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,675
Total Gross: $11,468,696
Criticwire Average: C-

10. Code Black (Long Shot)
Week: 5
Weekend Gross: $11592
Theaters: 7 (up from 6)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,656
Total Gross: $98,587
Criticwire Average: A-

11. Ida (Music Box)
Week: 12
Weekend Gross: $118,000
Theaters: 75 (down from 85)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,573
Total Gross: $3,334,064
Criticwire Average: A

12. Obvious Child (A24)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $139,888
Theaters: 96 (down from 134)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,457
Total Gross: $2,602,777
Criticwire Average: B+

Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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