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Specialty Box Office Dwindles as Oscar Titles End Runs

Specialty Box Office Dwindles as Oscar Titles End Runs

Most awards-related business is over, with many Oscar titles either already accessible for VOD and DVD or coming soon. The next few weeks could get grim for core specialized theaters, as this weekend brought no robust new entries. With a surprisingly low profile, Weinstein/Netflix’s day-and-date opener “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny” made only a token appearance in theaters.
 
Two other Video on Demand releases showed adequate numbers despite home-viewing competition. Once again the best new film per theater average came from a reissue, Akira Kurosawa’s classic “Ran.” The best of the wider releases remains Sony Pictures Classics’ non-Oscar contender “The Lady in the Van,” starring Dame Maggie Smith.


Opening
“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Sword of Destiny” – (Weinstein) –  Metacritic: 51

$(unreported) 

The big news when Weinstein announced the sale of this sequel to Ang Lee’s 2000 martial arts triumph to Netflix wasn’t replicated with its premiere, with little attention paid to its token theatrical release. The more interesting Netflix results are not available, but the attention is far less than what appeared likely when this sale was announced.

What comes next: Entirely Netflix.

“Last Man on the Moon” (Gravitas Ventures) – Criticwire: B+; Metacritic:79; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2015; also available on Video on Demand
$30,880 in 13 theaters; PTA: $2,375

A decent theatrical result for a day and date VOD release playing multiple markets for this documentary about the astronaut who was the last of 12 Americans to set foot on the moon. It also sits at #1 among docs on ITunes.

What comes next: A parallel theatrical roll out is planned ahead.

“King Georges” (IFC) – Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 71; Festivals include Full Frame, Seattle 2015
$18,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $4,500

Another documentary about the restaurant business (this one about a legendary French cuisine place in Philadelphia) managed a respectable result despite its concurrent VOD play.

What comes next: Mostly VOD, but without a lot of product at the moment this should also get more theatrical play.

“Ran” (Rialto) (reissue)
$11,000 in one theater

Akira Kurosawa’s epic rendering of “King Lear” took in a strong total at Manhattan’s Film Forum, even more impressive with limited seating and a nearly three-hour running time.

International releases

Kshanam” (Independent/India) – $(est.) 65,000 in 28 theaters
Like for Likes” (CJ/South Korea) – $(est.) 25,000 in 18 theates

Week 2

“Embrace of the Serpent” (Oscilloscope)
$105,738 in 21 theaters (+16); PTA: $5,035; Cumulative: $194,680

The Colombian Foreign Language Oscar nominee added the Bay area as well as outlying New York and Los Angeles theaters. This configuration (many of these theaters gross less than key limited big cities) showed more strength than most recent subtitled releases, though it is about $15,000 less than “Son of Saul” did when it expanded to Top Ten market core theaters right after its nomination.

“The Mermaid” (Sony)
$675,000 in 77 theaters (+42); PTA: $8,766; Cumulative: $2,021,000

This Chinese local smash added to its language-adjacent audience theaters last week some specialty houses (including New York’s Sunshine) after getting great reviews. Stephen Chow’s films dropped a lot in PTA (it was $28,000 last week), but it still shows strength.

“Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer” (Lionsgate)
$375,000 in 357 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,050; Cumulative: $1,495,000

A 59% drop for this Mexican rom-com, which is falling short of past Lionsgate/Pantaleon coproductions.

“Neerja” (20th Century Fox)
$1,278,000 in 121 theaters (+48); PTA: $3,967; Cumulative: $1,278,000

Fox’s Indian biopic about a woman who sacrificed her life to stop a terror hijacking added theaters after its strong initial showing with a still respectable PTA.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 under 1,000 theaters)

“The Lady in the Van” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7
$1,305,000 in 602 theaters (+62); Cumulative: $5,948,000

Widening a bit more while still keeping close to the same per theater average, the lack of an Oscar nod for Maggie Smith hasn’t stopped this London-set story from more than holding its own during the awards period.

“The Big Short” (Paramount) Week 12
$1,000,000 in 543 theaters (+111); Cumulative: $68,511,000

Last minute viewers gave this a boost, with plenty more to come if it wins tonight. In any event this has been a strong performer for Paramount for a $28 million production (so far it has grossed around $60 million international). This would be Paramount’s first Best Picture winner since “Titanic” in 1997, and the first not to be coproduced with other studios since “Forrest Gump” in 1994.

“Spotlight” (Open Road) Week 17; also available on Video on Demand
$788,088 in 685 theaters (+284); Cumulative: $39,174,000

The big winner at the Indie Spirits and Best Picture Oscar contender started in home viewing availability this week, but still saw a last minute bump. Last year’s winner “Birdman” had amassed about $1 million more by this point (it similarly went VOD the same weekend).

“Brooklyn” (Fox Searchlight) Week 17
$735,000 in 477 theaters (+34); Cumulative: $36,510,000

Getting its final surge before the awards, this has added $15 million since the nominations.

“Room” (A24) Week 20; also available on Video on Demand
$650,000 in 530 theaters (+178); Cumulative: $13,540,000

With a Best Actress favorite in tow, A24 was able to get a boost in theaters and gross despite showing up on VOD this weekend. Their total is about $1.5 million ahead of last year’s winner “Still Alice.” But that film was theatrical only for some time after the award, allowing it to get to a little under $19 million.

“Where to Invade Next” (Drafthouse)  Week 3
$380,450 in 212 theaters (-53); Cumulative: $2,601,000

Michael Moore’s latest is showing enough interest at core theaters to sustain an ongoing run, but it is going to come in much below his previous efforts.

“45 Years” (IFC) Week 12
$243,80000 in 212 theaters (-39); Cumulative: $3,778,000

Though less than the other acting nominees, Charlotte Rampling’s entry added to the film’s total because of its presence in the race. Still it will likely end up with less than half the gross for the not-nominated “The Lady in the Van,” showing the greater draw of star Maggie Smith.

“2016 Oscar Nominated Short Films” (Magnolia) Week 5
$(est.) 250,000 in 131 theaters (-129); Cumulative: $(est.) 2,668,000

The most successful package yet in this perennial series has topped last year’s by about $250,000.

“Son of Saul” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11
$156,262 in 151 theaters (+76); Cumulative: $1,312,000

The theater count doubled in anticipation of a predicted Oscar win Sunday. A victory keeps this Hungarian film on screen with considerably more business than its modest (given its acclaim) performance thus far.

“Carol” (Weinstein) Week 15
$123,000 in 202 theaters (+101); Cumulative: $12,505,000

The theater total doubled with a lot less-than-full screens to near the end of its theatrical release.

“Anomalisa” (Paramount) Week 9
$85,000 in 140 theaters (+95); Cumulative: $2,594,000

This animation nominee got a boost in theaters though with minimal gross as it winds up its niche run.

“The Danish Girl” (Focus) Week 14
$58,000 in 67 theaters (-5); Cumulative: $11,007,000

On Oscar eve, this leading supporting actress contender lags behind the other frontrunners late in its somewhat disappointing run.

Also noted:

“The Ip Man” (Well Go) – (est.) 43,000 in 23 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) $2,658,000
“Mustang” (Cohen) – $35,269 in 27 theaters; Cumulative: $$723,305
“Dough” (Menemsha) – $(est.) 30,000 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 187,000
“A War” (Magnolia) – $(est.) 26,000 in 26 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 75,000

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