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Arthouse Audit: ‘My Life As a Zucchini’ Tops New Limited Releases

As Oscar contenders start to fade, cat movie "Kedi" stays strong.

My Life as a Zucchini

“My Life as a Zucchini”

GKIDS

The marathon run of specialized awards contenders reaches its climax tonight. Only a handful will get a further boost. It has been a strong season, with business spread out among multiple films.

Meantime, a handful of releases outside the awards world, led by cat documentary “Kedi” (Oscilloscope) and the wider decently performing “A United Kingdom” (Fox Searchlight) will need to make up the gaps ahead.

One final Oscar nominee, the Swiss animated feature “My Life As a Zucchini” (GKIDS) had a decent start in a single theater each in New York and Los Angeles. This will see some niche life ahead as arthouses look for needed supplementary releases.

In every previous case of the first release of a Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition winner would be the top story in this report, as was the case for “The Birth of a Nation” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” Not this year. It might not be the new normal, but “I Don’t Feel At Home in the World Anymore” got a wide release on Friday. But no grosses exist because its debut was on Netflix, which in this case (different than others they will be releasing) this had no theatrical parallel release.

Opening

My Life As a Zucchini (GKids) – Metacritic: 85; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2016, Sundance 2017

$28,206 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $14,103

Most years GKids releases a Best Animated Feature nominee. This go-round, it’s a festival acclaimed 66-minute Swiss film with rave reviews. Rather than piggybacking on its nomination before the awards, GKids opted to open this only in one theater each in New York and Los Angeles. The result is excellent, with a PTA nearly double what fellow nominee “The Red Turtle” got (in three theaters) in its post-nomination two-city initial weekend.

What comes next: Initial expansion in around 12 cities starts on Friday.

Bitter Harvest (Roadside Attractions) –  Metacritic: 35

$207,235 in 127 theaters; PTA: $1,631

This $21 million Canadian film spotlights the Soviet campaign in the 1930s to suppress its then republic Ukraine (leading to mass starvation and a predicate to current bilateral tensions). Its old-fashioned big-scale retelling (in English) found critical disfavor and at best modest audience response in initial results nationally in a range of theaters in elevated limited release. Its modest Saturday uptick shows some adult interest, but still not at a level likely to push this into wider success.

What comes next: Little suggestion that this will reap further interest.

Kiki (IFC) –  Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: Sundance, Berlin 2016; Also available on Video on Demand

$(est.) 2,100 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 2,100

A year after its Sundance premiere, this documentary about New York minority gays involved in an intense ballroom dancing scene opened in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) along with parallel VOD play. It got a strong Los Angeles Times review and coverage, with a modest gross.

What comes next: New York opens this Friday.

Year By the Sea (Real Women Make Waves) – Festivals include: Vail, Newport Beach 2016

$(est.) 33,000 in 9 theaters; PTA: (est.) 3,666

After a large number of regional festival dates, this movie starring Karen Allen as a Cape Cod woman pursuing a single life identity after a long marriage opened under the radar in the South Florida area (where older audiences can launch a film like last year’s  “Dough”). The result was a decent initial result, with Saturday showing a strong increase. This might get it enough traction for further interest.

What comes next: To be determined, with the film’s website showing no further dates as of now.

As You Are (Independent) –  Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2016

$(est.) 4,200 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 4,200

A Canadian rural adolescent drama also debuts more than a year after Sundance (where it won a Special Jury Prize). Its initial New York date yielded more than token sampling, although a majority of it came from Friday night.

What comes next: Los Angeles and other cities are scheduled ahead.

Also available on Video on Demand:

The Girl With All the Gifts (Independent/Toronto 2016) – $(est.) 12,000 in 16 theaters

Punching Henry (Well Go/South by Southwest 2016) – $(est.) 4,500 in 7 theaters

Dying Laughing (Gravitas Ventures/Los Angeles 2016) – $(est.) 5,000 in 13 theaters

International releases:

Rangoon (Paramount/India) – $(est.) 350,000 in 113 theaters

Week Two

Everybody Loves Somebody (Lionsgate)

$410,000 in 333 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,210; Cumulative: $1,677,000

This Mexican rom-com dropped 56 per cent, with an overall performance at the lower end of Pantelion’s films in their partnership with Lionsgate.

Keep Quiet (Kino Lorber)

$(est.) 4,500 in 1 theater (no change); PTA: $(est.) 4,500; Cumulative: $(est.) 14,000

This documentary about an anti-Semitic politician who discovers his Jewish ancestry held up well at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Theater in its second weekend.

“Moonlight” Golden Globe 2017 Best Drama

“Moonlight”

A24

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

Moonlight (A24) Week 19; also available on Video on Demand

$765,908 in 585 theaters (+130); Cumulative: $22,286,000

Particularly with this now available at home, this total is a nice boost for this top Oscar contender that has thrived as an independent film with the extra attention from all its awards.

I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia) Week 4

$760,000 in 291 theaters (+42); Cumulative: $4,615,000

Whatever happens with this in the Oscar Documentary Feature race (a win would bring even greater interest), the sensational results for this study of James Baldwin’s life has single handedly reinvigorated the theatrical side for serious docs at a time when so many are going straight to Netflix, HBO and other home viewing venues.

A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$548,000 in 145 theaters (+100); Cumulative: $1,028,000

Expanding a little slower than director Ana Assante’s similar “Belle,” this African drama starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike is holding steady. The PTA this weekend is about 60 per cent of “Belle” at the same point compared to around 50 per cent last weekend, which gives hope for some success ahead as it expands further, though it still is lagging behind in results.

Manchester By the Sea (Roadside Attractions) Week 15; also available on Video on Demand

$487,500 in 397 theaters (+4); Cumulative: $46,882,000

Whether Casey Affleck wins Best Actor will determine whether this gets to $50 million, but whatever happens this Amazon Studios film has been by far the biggest success for this now major player in the independent film world.

2017 Oscar Nominated Shorts (Magnolia) Week 3

$417,522 in 274 theaters (+26); Cumulative: $2,507,000

In a shorter release period than previous programs (earlier ones have had five or more weekends before the awards), this year’s package has come close to equaling the previously best total ($2.8 million last year).

The Salesman (Cohen) Week 5

$170,122 in 84 theaters (-10); Cumulative: $1,424,000

Asghar Farhadi’s Oscar Foreign Language frontrunner is not getting a last-minute surge as it falls off its $230,000 take last weekend. Still, these are credible results for a subtitled film these days, and a win would push it over $2 million.

Toni Erdmann (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10

$140,417 in 112 theaters (+10); Cumulative: $1,183,000

Indie Spirit-winner Maron Ade’s acclaimed German Foreign Language nominee is not getting the attention it deserves in elevated release as a subtitled film. Unless it wins, this is likely to drop to a few core remaining runs quickly.

The Red Turtle (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$120,437 in 115 theaters (+79); Cumulative: $595,540

Nearly tripling its theaters in the run up to the Oscars for this Belgian Animated Feature nominee, the results remain subpar. The PTA remains barely over $1,000 per theater.

Kedi

“Kedi”

Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 3

$115,220 in 13 theaters (+6); Cumulative: $303,048

The PTA in still limited release for this documentary about cats in Istanbul is just under $9,000, strong enough to suggest wider interest. Next week it jumps to over 60 theaters, which in the vacuum after the Oscars could bring continued interest.

Jackie (Fox Searchlight) Week 13

$105,000 in 112 theaters (-18); Cumulative: $13,714,000

Another final burst of action for a nominee, as Pablo Larrain’s film with Natalie Portman adds a little more to its mid-level success.

Paterson (Bleecker Street) Week 9

$87,072 in 55 theaters (-9); Cumulative: $1,705,000

Jim Jarmusch’s latest looks to wrap up somewhere around $2 million.

Elle (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 16

$89,082 in 147 theaters (+104); Cumulative: $2,231,000

Barring an upset win for Isabelle Huppert, this looks to be the last hurrah for Paul Verhoeven’s long-running French erotic thriller.

20th Century Women (A24) Week 9

$67,072 in 64 theaters (-51); Cumulative: $5,453,000

Also wrapping up its run despite only minimal Oscar attention, Mike Mills’ well- received family comedy has had a quietly steady run parallel to other entries even if it has not lived up to expectations.

Also noted:

Julieta (Sony Pictures Classics) – $42,052 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $1,339,000

Neruda (The Orchard) –  $27,684 in 27 theaters; Cumulative: $728,029

The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics) – $15,223 in 22 theaters; Cumulative: $3,059,000

Land of Mine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $15,167 in 8 theaters; Cumulative: $68,254                   

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