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Arthouse Audit: ‘Little Men’ Leads Openers, ‘Indignation’ and ‘Café Society’ Stay Strong

Comedy is king at the summer specialty box office, as 'Don't Think Twice' and 'Café Society' expand well.

Little Men

“Little Men”

Magnolia

Summer is chugging along at the specialty box office.

Another acclaimed Sundance 2016 entry, Ira Sachs’ “Little Men” (Magnolia), showed a credible opening in New York and Los Angeles, as two of last week’s Park City 2016 premieres, “Indignation” (Roadside Attractions) and “Gleason” (Open Road), expanded this weekend to varying results.

The biggest recent success, Woody Allen’s “Café Society” continued to do well, but it’s still below three of his recent hits. Mike Birbiglia’s “Don’t Think Twice” continues to impress. Comedy is the common denominator in their broader appeal.

As usual, Netflix reported no grosses for its token theatrical dates for Mark Osborne’s animated feature “The Little Prince,” the children’s classic adaptation that was initially scheduled to be a Paramount release last March.

Opening

“Little Men” (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: Sundance 2016

$32,250 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $16,125

Ira Sachs’ most recent film joins the ranks of Sundance-premiered films that in recent weeks have enhanced the specialized scene. Its two-theater Manhattan break (with director Q & As at some shows) didn’t quite equal his summer 2014 “Love Is Strange.” That film averaged $23,000 in its five theaters in two cities, also boosted by equally strong reviews on its way to a $2.2 million run. “Strange” had a strong hook (long-time gay couple dealing with New York housing issues), while “Men” deals with teen boys in Brooklyn amid gentrification, which offers a less immediate draw for older audiences. The initial reaction was strong – a 64% increase Saturday from Friday indicates a positive response. This is a film more than most that will live or die on word of mouth along with reviews, so this is a good start.

What comes next: Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington add on this Friday to start its national roll out. Unlike many of its films, Magnolia is planning a theater-based, not VOD parallel, release.

“The Tenth Man” (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: Berlin, Tribeca, San Francisco

$(est.) 15,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,750

This Argentine comedy about an adult Jewish son coming to terms with his faith and learning its rituals under his father’s guidance showed some life with a massive 155% jump Saturday from its opening day. That suggests some interest ahead for its New York/Los Angeles dates but also with similar appeal elsewhere.

What comes next: Expect this to get more limited interest ahead, with San Diego next up this Friday.

“Front Cover” (Strand) – Metacritic: 53; Festivals include: Seattle 2015, Outfest, Frameline 206

$7,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $7,500

Without a lot of attention, this gay relationship story set among the local Chinese population popped a better than average opening for the Village East Theater in New York.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday.

“Citizen Soldier” (Gravitas Ventures)

$(est.) 9,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,750

This doc about a group Oklahoma National Guard soldiers opened in Oklahoma City and Wichita along with New York and Los Angeles to modest results.

What comes next: This is set for a mixed group of theatrical and special presentations ahead with a focus on military audiences.

“Neither Heaven Nor Earth” (Film Movement) – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Cannes 2015, New Directors/New FIlms 2016

$(est.) 2,800 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 2,800

French war film with a genre twist has gotten elevated festival attention and now a presentation at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center to modest results.

What comes next: Limited further theater dates at most.

“Elevator to the Gallows” (Rialto) – reissue

$14,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $14,500; Cumulative: (est.) $19,750

Louis Malle’s 1959 Paris-set thriller starring Jeanne Moreau opened stronger than most contemporary subtitled films at New York’s Film Forum.

What comes next: Los Angeles and Coral Gables come aboard this Friday.

“Multiple Maniacs” (Janus) – reissue

$10,244 in 1 theaters; PTA: $10,244

Appearances by director John Waters helped boost showings in New York for his very early, micro-budget (before that term existed) Divine-starrer in its restoration from its original 16mm form.

What comes next: More than 40 bookings ahead nationwide, not bad for a film that cost $5,000 to make in 1970.

Also available on Video on Demand:

“Five Nights in Maine” (FilmRise/Toronto): $10,000 in 10 theaters

“Richard Linklater: Dream or Destiny” (IFC/Sundance): $(est.) 1,500 in 1 theater

“The Brooklyn Banker” (TriCoast): $(est.) 12,000 in 11 theaters

International releases:

“How to Be Yours” (Philippines) – $(est.) 210,000 in 61 theaters

Week 2

Indignation

James Schamus (red scarf) and the cast of “Indignation”

Daniel Bergeron

“Indignation” (Roadside Attractions)

$464,615 in 55 theaters (+51); PTA: $8,447; Cumulative: $604,861

James Schamus’ adaptation of Philip Roth’s early-50s set college drama expanded quickly with results among the best of the summer (behind “Cafe Society,” similar to “Captain Fantastic” and ahead of “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”). The highlight among the strong numbers is a 94% jump Saturday from Friday, among the best of the year. With the usual deft handling by Roadside, expect this to find access to many more theaters and a long run into September and possibly beyond.

“Equity” (Sony Pictures Classics)

$59,546 in 4 theaters (no change); PTA: $14,887; Cumulative: $177,940

Wall Street drama from the point of view of female execs holds well in its four New York/Los Angeles dates with only a 27% drop its second weekend. This begins its expansion this Friday.

“Gleason” (Amazon Studios/Open Road)

$107,090 in 69 theaters (+60); PTA: $1,552; Cumulative: $241,708

The reviews are strong for this doc about an NFL veteran’s dealing with recent fatherhood as ALS destroys his body, but this quick expansion across the country showed a weak response despite strong support and theater placement from Open Road.

“Miss Sharon Jones” (Starz)

$9,000 in 2 theaters (+1); PTA: $4,500; Cumulative: $25,260

Barbara Kopple’s doc on the New York-based singer added Los Angeles this week with new interest though not quite at the levels of its initial exclusive Manhattan date.

“Hieronymus Bosch: Touched by the Devil” (Kino Lorber)

$(est.) 13,200 in theaters (+1); PTA: $(est.) 6,600; Cumulative: $(est.) 40,000

This doc on the Dutch painter added Los Angeles to continued niche interest.

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

Cafe Society

“Cafe Society”

Amazon Studios

“Café Society” (Amazon Studios/Lionsgate) Week 4

$1,700,000 in 631 theaters (+66); Cumulative: $6,790,000

Woody Allen’s latest continues to outpace his two most recent efforts and lead recent specialized expansions. These are solid numbers, although elevated by far more theaters than usual for expansions at this point. It does continue to lag behind “To Rome With Love,” which by its fourth weekend in somewhat more theaters had taken in nearly $8.6 million, and further behind Allen’s major successes “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine.” But it does appear to potentially be the biggest specialized crossover success this year since “Eye in the Sky.”

“Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party” (Quality Flix) Week 4

$865,000 in 672 theaters (-394); Cumulative: $11,056,000

Dinesh D’Souza’s latest will near his 2014 “America” (which hit $14 million), but its 65% drop means it will come nowhere near his election year “2016 Obama’s 2016” amid the 2012 campaign, which hit $33 million.

“Captain Fantastic” (Bleecker Street) Week 5

$556,069 in 363 theaters (-187); Cumulative: $3,552,607

Not holding as well as Bleecker’s “Eye in the Sky” which had a similar limited opening but then quickly broke out (it had grossed $10 million by the same point), “Fantastic” now looks to be a mid-level success over around $5 million.

Don't Think Twice

“Don’t Think Twice”

The Film Arcade

“Don’t Think Twice” (Film Arcade) Week 3

$395,637 in 57 theaters (+52); Cumulative: $701,485

Mike Birbiglia again shows his appeal with his second film expanding well nationwide. Its third weekend is considerably better than the third of his 2012 “Sleepwalk With Me,” which grossed $280,000 in 73 theaters. Caveats – that was the weekend after Labor Day, usually slow even for specialized film, and IFC had already added VOD. Among more recent releases, “Don’t Think Twice” scored bigger numbers than the successful “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” which in its third weekend took in slightly less — $387,000 – in 15 more (72 total) theaters. So this is looking quite good.

“Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$340,000 in 226 theaters (-129); Cumulative: $4,159,000

The interest fell off quickly beyond core fans for this UK comedy revival sensation, which is of cult interest stateside. Though it hasn’t been a breakout success compared to its initial wider exposure, it is already by some distance Fox Searchlight’s biggest grosser of 2016. Last year four Searchlight titles had grossed more at this juncture.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (The Orchard) Week 7

$327,936 in 176 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $3,462,000

With a drop of only a bit more than 10% in similar theaters, “Hunt” continues to build strong word of mouth and should be able to continue at many theaters and sustain a strong run. It could surpass $5 million. That would be more than the company’s other 16 films combined in its two year history.

“Train to Busan” (Well Go) Week 3

$201,222 in 36 theaters (+7); Cumulative: $1,086,000

Another Korean genre success with some crossover theaters tops $1 million in a small break so far. An English language remake is in the works.

“The Innocents” (Music Box) Week 6

$66,500 in 48 theaters (-6); Cumulative: $851,872

Still on track to push pass $1 million, once not unusual for art house subtitled hits but now a rarity.

Also noted:

“Love & Friendship” (Roadside Attractions) – $40,120 in 34 theaters; Cumulative: $13,899,000

“The Music of Strangers” (The Orchard) – $20,750 in 37theaters; Cumulative: $1,051,000

 

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