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Specialty Box Office: David O. Russell’s Shelved ‘Love’ Bombs; ‘It Follows’ Keeps Scaring Up Dollars

Specialty Box Office: David O. Russell's Shelved 'Love' Bombs; 'It Follows' Keeps Scaring Up Dollars

David O. Russell’s long delayed “Accidental Love” (which had been known as “Nailed” for most of its troubled life) probably should have stayed shelved. Millennium released the film in 10 theaters this weekend and it took in only $4,500 — averaging a pretty tragic $450 per theater. Made years before “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” the film was written by Al Gore’s daughter Kristin and stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel. Its release (and re-edit) comes without Russell’s approval or participation, which with these numbers definitely seems in his best interest.

Fairing much better was the first release from Bleecker Street Films, which was formed last year by former Focus Features Co-CEO Andrew Karpen. “Danny Collins” stars Al Pacino as an aging rocker, with Annette Bening and Jennifer Garner heading up the supporting cast. It managed a respectable $73,157 gross from 5 theaters, averaging $14,631 (the best of any film in release). By no means a spectacular start for Bleecker Street, but certainly not a disastrous one. 

Also opening to decent numbers was Eugene Green’s “La Sapienza,” the first film from Green (an American who has been living and making films in France) to hit US theaters. Or technically, US theater, as Kino Lorber put the film on a single screen at New York’s Lincoln Plaza. Impressively, the film placed #1 in that complex, taking in a promising $13,500 as it expands in the coming weeks.

Over a year after it debuted at Sundance (and a few months after it picked up some major Spirit Award nominations), Amplify sent David Zellner’s “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter” to 4 theaters. The result was a decent $37,200 gross and a $9,300 average.

As for holdovers, David Robert Mitchell’s indie horror flick “It Follows” continued to ride rave reviews and heavy buzz to strong box office. In 32 theaters (up from 4), the
RADiUS-TWC release — which premiered back in Cannes last May — managed
a strong $352,000 gross, averaging $11,000 per theater. Following a
group of teenagers pursued by a supernatural entity after having sex, RADiUS has decided to hold back the film’s VOD release and expand it wide next weekend.  

Also in their second weekends were a pair of music-related documentaries —
Ethan Hawke’s “Seymour: An Introduction” (which looks at the life of
pianist and teacher Seymour Bernstein) and Danny Tedesco’s “The Wrecking
Crew” (which details a group of session musicians). IFC FIlms’
“Seymour” had the highest average of the two, taking in
$59,500 from 17 theaters (up from 2) for a $3,5000 average. In 31 theaters (up from 7),
Magnolia’s “Crew” took in $85,000 for a
$2,742 PTA. The film’s totals now stand at $89,500 and $166,000, respectively.

HBO’s limited run of Alex Gibney’s controversial Scientology doc continued along nicely this weekend. A week before it debuts on the network, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” took in $25,000 in 2 theaters, averaging $12,500. That made for an impressive $110,000 total after 11 days.

Two more documentaries — Sony Pictures
Classics’ “Merchants of Doubt” and Abramorama’s “An Honest Liar” — entered their third weekends. The former — which looks at pundits-for-hire who
present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics
like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change — grossed
$40,100 from 21 theaters (up from 10) for a $1,910 average, while the latter — about
the life of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the
paranormal James Randi — took in $39,500 from 15 theaters (up from 6) for a $2,633
PTA.  Heading into further expansion, the film’s totals stand at $113,300 and $75,800.

Yann
Demange’s war drama “’71” — which stars breakout actor Jack O’Connell
(“Unbroken”) — expanded from 65 to 116 theaters in its fourth weekend.
Released by Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media, the film took in
a solid $241,000, averaging $2,078 per theater. Its total now stands at
$697,000 and it seems a near certainty it’ll head for the million mark
soon enough.

As
for all the Oscar winners (and losers) hoping for to keep cashing in
from afterglow of awards season, “Still Alice” was probably the strongest of the lot.  In 440
theaters, the film took in another $477,000 for a $1,084 average. The
$5 million-budgeted Sony Pictures Classics release has now grossed $17,258,000
and has a decent shot at approaching $20 million when all is
said and done.

The biggest winner on Oscar night — “Birdman” —
dropped down to just 92 theaters in its whopping 23rd weekend of release. It took in $80,000, averaging a weak $869 and
showing that Oscar glow wears off pretty quick. Though it’s total gross
now stands at a very respectable $42,084,000. That said, it’s still the
second lowest grossing Best Picture winner of the past 30 years, as only
“The Hurt Locker” has grossed less.

In its fifth
weekend, Oscar nominated foreign language film “Wild Tales” held on nicely an crossed the $1 million mark in the process. The Sony Pictures Classics
release grossed $267,000 from 81 theaters, averaging $3,296 (the best
average of any non-debut).  The film has now taken in $1,187,000.

Finally, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s non-Oscar related “What We Do In The Shadows” had a strong sixth weekend. Distributed by Unison Films in
association with Paladin, the film went from 126 to 134 theaters this
weekend and dropped just 4%, grossing $309,000 for a $2,306
per-theater-average.  Its total now stands at $1,817,000.

Head to the next page for a chart of the weekend’s top per-theater-averages.

The Weekend’s Specialty Top 10 (ranked in order of
per-theater-average, and only including independent films that both submitted
estimates and initially opened in under 500 theaters):

1. Danny Collins (Bleecker Street)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $73,200
Theaters: 5
Per-Theater-Average: $14,640
Total Gross: $73,200
Criticwire Average: B

2. La Sapienza (Kino Lorber)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $13,500
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $13,500
Total Gross: $13,500
Criticwire Average: A-

3. Going Clear (HBO)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $25,000
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $12,500
Total Gross: $110,000
Criticwire Average: A-

4. It Follows (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $352,000
Theaters: 32 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $11,000
Total Gross: $576,000
Criticwire Average: A-

5. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter (Amplify)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $37,200
Theaters: 4
Per-Theater-Average: $9,300
Total Gross: $43,500
Criticwire Average: A-

6. Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police (Cinema Libre)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $7,000
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $3,500
Total Gross: $7,000
Criticwire Average: N/A

7. Seymour: An Introduction (IFC Films)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $59,500
Theaters: 17 (up from 2)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,500
Total Gross: $89,500
Criticwire Average: A-

8. Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 5
Weekend Gross: $267,000
Theaters: 81 (up from 68)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,296
Total Gross: $1,187,000
Criticwire Average: B+

9. An Honest Liar (Abramorama)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $39,500
Theaters: 15 (up from 8)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,633
Total Gross: $75,800
Criticwire Average: B+

10. What We Do In The Shadows (Paladin)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $309,000
Theaters: 134 (up from 126)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,306
Total Gross: $1,817,000
Criticwire Average: A-

Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist.

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