It was a good weekend for women at the specialty box office. The Helen Mirren thriller “Eye in the Sky” and Sally Field comedy “Hello, My Name is Doris” both performed well, according to Deadline, while “10 Cloverfield Lane” proved that big studio films with women at their center can appeal to wide audiences.
“Eye in the Sky” grossed over $117,000 from only five theaters in new York and Los Angeles. Bleeker Street’s Jack Foley said. “We’re very excited, particularly for [opening a film] this strong going into our second year.”
The fascinating thing about “Eye in the Sky” is that Mirren’s role, that of an armed forces drone expert, was originally written for a man. It was director Gavin Hood’s daughter who persuaded him to change the role to a woman.
“I want this movie to be discussed by all of us,” Hood told the San Francisco Gate. “We are moving into an age of greater automation in warfare. More and more women are in positions of power. We may have a female President; other countries do. So I didn’t want to make a guy’s war movie and discourage half my audience from coming.”
“Hello, My Name is Doris,” Field’s first lead role in 20 years, also had a great weekend at the box office, bringing in over $85,000 from only four theaters. According to distributor Roadside, Field’s “make out session” on “Ellen” with her co-star, Max Greenfield (“New Girl”), did a lot to boost the film on social media platforms and among younger audiences.
The film, which centers on Field’s character Doris, who develops a crush on her much younger co-worker (Greenfield), was one of the biggest buys of Sundance 2015. At the time of the buy, Roadside co-president Howard Cohen said, “We think the film will work for both the older audience and a hip, young audience.” The film’s box office receipts seem to confirm this.
Meanwhile, in the land of major studios, “10 Cloverfield Lane” pulled in a whopping $25.2 million in North America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The so-called “spiritual successor” (rather than a direct sequel) to 2008’s “Cloverfield” stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and was made for a mere $13 million.
The audience for “10 Cloverfield Lane” skewed largely male, at 61 percent, laying to waste the idea that male audiences won’t watch films with women at the center.