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The 50 Highest Grossing Indies of 2014

The 50 Highest Grossing Indies of 2014

Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel” tops the below list of 2014’s fifty biggest indies, box office wise (and is Anderson’s highest grossing film ever), with nearly $60 million. It has been 2014’s top specialty title since back in the Spring, and in a rare feat ended up keeping it at year’s end.

Five other films managed to cross the $20 million mark in 2014 so far, with comedies “St. Vincent” and “Chef” and Oscar favorites “Boyhood,” “Birdman” and “The Theory of Everything” all doing so. Comparatively, this year the same amount of $20 million grossers as 2013, though notably “The Imitation Game” and “Wild” both ended the year within a few $100,000 of that mark.  If 2014 had just one more day with those films, it’s likely it would have have eight $20 million grossers.  The year did narrowly beat 2013 in terms of $10 million grossers (13 vs. 12), but fell behind compared to $5 million
grossers (20 vs. 23).

The highest grossing documentary was Dinesh D’Souza and John Sullivan’s right wing political film “America” at $14.4 million, followed by another conservative doc, “Meet The Mormons” ($5.9 milion) and Oscar frontrunner “Citizenfour” ($2.1 million). As for foreign language films, Indian import “PK” — the highest grossing film of all time in India — had grossed $7.9 million in North America by the end of the year, edging out Mexico’s “Cantinflas” ($6.3 million), India’s “The Lunchbox” ($4.2 million) and Poland’s “Ida” (3.7 million).

Note that the below list only includes North American grosses for specialty films — indie,
foreign and/or documentary — that opened in limited release
(initially under 500 screens) in 2014 and were released by an
independent distributor or a studio specialty division. It also includes
films that
screened only as an Academy-qualifier in 2013 (“Gloria,” etc). Grosses include all reported grosses up to December 31, 2014.

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight) – $59,076,019
2. St. Vincent (The Weinstein Company) – $43,040,733
3. Chef (Open Road) – $31,424,003
4. Boyhood (IFC Films) – $24,214,829
5. Birdman (Fox Searchlight) – $24,084,829   
6. The Theory of Everything (Focus) – $22,922,614
7. The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company) – $19,919,000
8. Wild (Fox Searchlight) – $19,739,000
9. A Most Wanted Man (Roadside) – $17,237,244
10. Begin Again (The Weinstein Company) – $16,170,632

11. America (Lionsgate) – $14,444,502   
12. Belle (Fox Searchlight) – $10,726,630
13. Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics) – $10,539,326
14. P.K. (UTV) – $7,866,268
15. Bad Words (Focus) – $7,779,614
16. Cantinflas (Pantelion/Lionsgate) – $6,382,924
17. Foxcatcher (Sony Pictures Classics) – $6,147,000
18. Meet The Mormons (Purdie) – $5,883,132
19. Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics) – $5,457,900
20. The Skeleton Twins (Roadside/Lionsgate) – $5,284,309

21. Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC) – $4,563,650
22. The Railway Man (Weinstein Company) – $4,438,438
23. Dear White People (Roadside Attractions) – $4,369,605
24. The Lunchbox (Sony Pictures Classics) – $4,235,151
25. My Old Lady (Cohen Media) – $3,990,794
26. Fading Gigolo (Millennium) – $3,769,873
27. Ida (Music Box) – $3,702,612
28. Calvary (Fox Searchlight) – $3,600,006
29. Wish I Was Here (Focus) – $3,591,299
30. What If (CBS Films) – $3,493,000

31. The Grand Seduction (eOne) – $3,430,018
32. Obvious Child (A24) – $3,123,963
33. Rosewater (Open Road) – $3,123,377   
34. The Trip To Italy (IFC Films) – $2,873,758
35. The Fluffy Movie (Open Road) – $2,827,393
36. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (Samuel Goldwyn) – $2,778,297
37. The Raid 2 (Sony Pictures Classics) – $2,627,209
38. Under The Skin (A24) – $2,614,251
39. Bang Bang (FIP) – $2,546,172
40. Kick (UTV) – $2,472,695

41. Kill The Messenger (Focus) – $2,450,846
42. Oscar Nominated Short Films (Shorts HD) – 2,358,468
43. Love is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics) – $2,262,223
44. 2 States (UTV) – $2,238,174
45. Le Week-end (Music Box) – $2,225,098
46. Words and Pictures (Roadside Attractions) – $2,171,257
47. The Homesman (Saban/Roadside Attractions) – $2,158,069
48. Citizenfour (RADiUS-TWC) – $2,143,567
49. Gloria (Roadside Attractions) – $2,107,925
50. The Immigrant (The Weinstein Company) – $2,025,328

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It seems the only movies not considered "indies" these days are marvel movies. A studio specialty division?

Matt Moglia

these are not indies. "The [Weinstein ] brothers promptly started The Weinstein Company in 2005 with some $1 billion in investment gathered by Goldman Sachs, consisting of $500 million in debt, $490 million in equity and $200 million through other commercial arrangements."
1 Billion, with a "B." Come on people. Indies are the films that spent many stressful years raising 20k-400k and became quality titles that never saw the theater. How many "true-indies" or "DIY-Indie" saw commercial success by directly distributing to the audience or through a VOD windows? LOTS. Those are indies. The notion that a theater release is required to make a film a "movie" is preposterous in 2015. Everyone knows unless you are a Weinstein or Searchlight with endless P&A money to promote the theater run, it’s essentially a loss-leder with the sole purpose of advertising and legitimizing your film with critics. This article is mainstream back-rubbing for the hollywood-club that is already wildly successful.

where is "Heaven is for Real" ($101 mil), and God's Not Dead" ($62 mil)

these are the most "indie" of films


The Oscar Nominated Shorts $2,358,468.

Sean Farrington

Great to see Chef near the top. Great movie. Open Road looks to be doing alright…


These are studio films.


Nightcrawler. $31M

ruby redlips

Chris you ignorant fool, Nebraska was released last year hence Bruce Dern being nominated for an Oscar earlier this year.

Alex Gonçalves

Here is "The Purge: Anarchy"? "This is Where I Leave You"? "Oculus"? "Beyond the Lights"? "The Drop"?


where’s Nightcrawler???


Veronica mars was funded entirely by kick starter like Wish I Was Here, it should be on this list too.

writers and

So, did the last 5 film on this break even? Can we compare it to production & PA costs?


How are all these big studio films classed as Indies?


I really doubt that the total gross of The Immigrant in US was only $2,025,328! Box Office Mojo stopped counting the film’s US box office on July 3, but the film was still playing in US theaters.

And WTF is "2014 Oscar Nominated Short Films" doing in this list? this is not a single movie! this inclusion in the list makes no sense!


I still don’t understand how opening on more than 500 screens makes a film less independent. "God’s Not Dead" a truly independent film is still #1 with over 60M domestic box office is being ignored by IndieWire, it seems, due to that that rather arbitrary stipulation.

Mark Borde

How can you leave GOD'S NOT DEAD off this list at $60 MILLION dollars so far and still on screen since March!!!!

howard leon

The list is obviously incorrect (& very telling in the omission).

With domestic totals, as of Jul. 13, 2014, at $60,722,247, Freestyle Releasing's 'God's Not Dead' is obviously #1….

I am not a Christian at all but indiewire needs to see the light….it's glaring.

David Rich

Indie films move me. I need to see more from this list. Loved Grand Budapest Hotel and Chef.


Should The Wind Rises count? It's a foreign film that made over $5 million on less than 500 screens, and it was released under the closest thing Disney currently has for a specialty banner now that they don't own Miramax.


Happy for Wes making nearly 60 million on his latest movie. Surprised at Locke though also guessing that Nymphomaniac and The Double made considerably less.


I've only seen 4, but the rest either haven't come out in Australia or I wasn't interested in seeing.






my 20 favorite Indie Movies of 2014 so far are
1-Nurse 3d
2-Date & Switch
3-Gimme Shelter
4-Grand Budapest Hotel
5-Odd Thomas
6-Perfect Sisters
7-Rob The Mob
8-Bad Johnson
9-Nymphomaniac 1 & 2
11-Walk Of Shame
12-Devil's Knot
13-Welcome To The Jungle
14-Enimes Closer
15-In The Blood
16-Blood Ties
17-God's Not Dead
18-At Middleton
19-Author's Anonymous


You forgot Veronica Mars, which definitely opened on less than 500 screens. Not to mention same day as VOD.

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