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Specialty Box Office: ‘Grey Gardens’ Re-Release Tops Debuts

Specialty Box Office: 'Grey Gardens' Re-Release Tops Debuts

In an eerie coincidence, Janus Films’ release of a restored version of Albert and David Masyles’ landmark documentary “Grey Gardens” ended up coinciding with the death of Albert Masyles. Which gave New York City audiences a perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the filmmaker forty years after “Gardens” first hit screens. At NYC’s Film Forum, the film grossed $12,000 — giving it the highest per-theater-average of any film — wide or limited — in release.

“The late, great filmmaker Albert Maysles would have been thrilled to see the crowds turning out for ‘Grey Gardens’ forty years after its original release,” said Peter Becker, a partner in Janus Films and president of the Criterion Collection. “This weekend’s strong opening is only the beginning for this new restoration. We feel confident that the film is going to play to full houses all across the country as a new generation discovers the weird, wise, whimsical world of big and little Edie Beale.”

“Gardens” will play in more than a dozen markets during March and April, with more screenings planned throughout the summer.

Also opening this weekend were two new documentaries — Sony Pictures Classics’ “Merchants of Doubt” and Abramorama’s “An Honest Liar.” The former — which ooks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change — grossed $20,300 from 4 theaters for a $5,075 average, while the latter — about the life of the renowned stage magician turned scientific skeptic of the paranormal James Randi — took in $15,000 from 2 theaters for a $7,500 PTA. Both promising debuts, “Doubt” and “Liar” will expand in the coming weekends.

As far as holdovers went, Yann Demange’s “’71” war drama “’71” — which stars breakout actor Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”) — expanded from 4 to 16 theaters this weekend after a healthy debut. Released by Roadside Attractions and Black Label Media, the film took in a solid $70,590, averaging $4,412 per theater. Its total now stands at $145,838.

Not doing quite so well (though it was released day-and-date on VOD) was “Maps To The Stars,” which Focus Features took from 66 to 61 theaters this weekend after an Oscar qualifying release in late 2014 (which did result in a Golden Globe nomination for Julianne Moore, but not much else). The result was a 55% drop from last weekend, with “Maps” taking in just $64,000 for a $1,049 per-theater-average. It has now grossed $264,128.

RADiUS-TWC held Kirby Dick’s doc “The Hunting Ground” steady in a pair of theaters in its sophomore frame and saw a 63% drop in grosses. The film took in $8,936 for a $4,468 per-theater-average. Its total now stands at $45,822.

As for all the Oscar winners (and losers) hoping for to keep cashing in from awards season attention, “Maps to the Stars” Julianne Moore had much better news thanks to her Oscar-winning “Still Alice.” In 1,197 theaters, the film took in another $1,651,000 for a $1,379 average. The $5 million-budgeted Sony Pictures Classics release has now grossed $14,723,000 and has a decent shot at approaching $20 million when all is said and done.

The biggest winner on Oscar night — “Birdman” — dropped 62% from last weekend after it lost 436 theaters. From the 777 cinemas that remained, it took in $733,000 gross, averaging a weak $943 and showing that Oscar glow wears off pretty quick. Though it’s total gross now stands at a very respectable $41,550,000. 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.

A trio of Oscar nominated foreign language films that didn’t manage to take home a prize all tried made use of the exposure anyway this weekend.

In its third weekend, “Wild Tales” held on nicely, with Sony Pictures Classics release grossing $145,000 from 28 theaters, averaging $5,179 (the best average of any non-debut).  The film has now taken in $539,000, and it’s looking likely that it can gross $1 million.

Sony Pictures
Classics took another foreign language film Oscar nominee — Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” — from 80 down to 71 theaters this weekend. That resulted in a $71,200 gross and a new total of $994,200. Obviously, the $1 million mark is the cards for that film as well.

Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu,” meanwhile, went from 51 down to 36 theaters in
its sixth frame care of Cohen Media Group. The film took in another $63,600 for a strong
$1,767 average.  “Timbuktu” has now grossed $734,200.

Finally, one of the few specialty holdovers titles out there without Oscar tied to it — Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s “What We Do In The Shadows” — had a very nice fourth weekend. Distributed by Unison Films in association with Paladin, the film went from 46 to 100 theaters this weekend and jumped 34%, grossing $329,000 for a $3,290 per-theater-average.  Its total now stands at $932,000 and it looks like it’s becoming one of 2015’s few indie breakouts so far.

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


The Weekend’s Specialty Top 15 (ranked in order of
per-theater-average, and only including independent films that both submitted
estimates and initially opened in under 500 theaters):

1. Grey Gardens (Janus)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $12,300
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $12,300
Total Gross: $12,300
Criticwire Average: N/A

2. An Honest Liar (Abramorama)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $15,000
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $7,500
Total Gross: $15,000
Criticwire Average: A-

3. Wild Tales (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $145,000
Theaters: 28 (up from 18)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,179
Total Gross: $539,000
Criticwire Average: B+

4. Road Hard (Film Buff)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $113,000
Theaters: 22
Per-Theater-Average: $5,179
Total Gross: $113,000
Criticwire Average: N/A

5. Merchants of Doubt (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $20,300
Theaters: 4
Per-Theater-Average: $5,075
Total Gross: $20,300
Criticwire Average: B

6. The Hunting Ground (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $8,900
Theaters: 2 (even)
Per-Theater-Average: $4,450
Total Gross: $45,800
Criticwire Average: B+

7. ’71 (Roadside Attractions)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $70,590
Theaters: 16 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $4,412
Total Gross: $145,838
Criticwire Average: B+

8. Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Music Box Films)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $53,400
Theaters: 15 (down from 14)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,560
Total Gross: $226,500
Criticwire Average: A-

9. What We Do In The Shadows (Paladin)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $329,140
Theaters: 100 (up from 46)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,290
Total Gross: $932,000
Criticwire Average: A-

10. Deli Man (Cohen Media Group)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $64,500
Theaters: 25 (up from 15)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,580
Total Gross: $120,200
Criticwire Average: N/A

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

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