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‘Wilson’ Flops for Fox Searchlight as ‘T2 Trainspotting’ Holds Strong

With so many strong adult-appeal movies in the market, it's tough for any specialty film to compete with less than stellar reviews.

"Wilson"

“Wilson”

This weekend, strong holdover “T2 Trainspotting” outperformed Fox Searchlight disappointment “Wilson” at the specialty box office. Jazz documentary “I Called Him Morgan” is the bright spot among new specialty entries — at just one theater. This year, there are so many well-reviewed wide releases enjoying huge success with smart adults that the indies need a strong critical response to compete for moviegoers.

Opening

Wilson (Fox Searchlight)  Metacritic: 50; Festivals include: Sundance 2017

$330,000 in 310 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $1,065

“Wilson” did not make a splash at Sundance, and even a top-flight specialized distributor like Fox Searchlight can’t transform a film with mediocre reviews into a success. It’s got a great pedigree — directed by Craig Johnson (“The Skeleton Twins”), Daniel Clowes adapted it from his own graphic novel and its includes Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern. Searchlight went with a non-platform wider initial release of 330 theaters. For all that, however, the results are so puny that this story of a middle-aged malcontent won’t get much past $1 million.

That’s a disaster, even beyond other recent disappoints dogging the once-dominant distributor. Since their terrific 2014 (led by Oscar-winners “Birdman” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”), its best-grossing recent film was “Brooklyn” just over a year ago. In 2017, both “Birth of a Nation” and Oscar-contender “Jackie” failed to perform to expectations. This flop will do less than a third of their recent “Table for 19” or “A United Kingdom,” neither of which did well.

What comes next: Expect a second weekend hold but little more for this in theaters.

“I Called Him Morgan”

I Called Him Morgan (Submarine Deluxe) Metacritic: 89; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York 2016

$14,154 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $14,154

Terrific reviews in New York, and a continued interest in minor legends in the performing arts world, propelled this documentary about jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his murder.

What comes next: Los Angeles is among the new dates this Friday.

Slamma Jamma (River Rain)

$1,687,000 in 502 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,361

Totally off the mainstream media’s radar, this faith-based, African-American prison-life sports story managed to get a respectable national break. It was good enough to land the #11 spot overall among all releases this weekend.

What comes next: This could have room for some growth, but the numbers seem good enough at least to get a second week’s play to add to its numbers.

In Search of Israeli Cuisine (Independent)

$(est.) 10,000 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $(est.) 5,000

As niche as a specialized documentary gets, this food movie scored two of the top specialized theaters in the country (New York’s Lincoln Plaza and Angelika). Consider that a coup for its filmmakers, releasing this independently, but also a sign of the dearth of available product to show in this weak specialized season.

What comes next: This is booked at top art houses in upcoming weeks, starting with the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas as well as Philadelphia this Friday.

International releases

Katamarayuda (CGX)/India) – $(est.) 1,125,000 in 208 theaters

Phillauri (20th Century Fox/India) – $265,000 in 74 theaters

Trainspotting 2 Ewan McGregor

“T2 Trainspotting”

Week Two

T2 Trainspotting (Sony)

$380,000 in 59 theaters (+54); PTA: $6,440; Cumulative: $613,000

The second weekend expansion for Danny Boyle and company’s revisit of their 1996 smash had a decent aggressive expansion, although without the intense excitement of the initial film. It’s the strongest recent specialized release in crossover and wider appeal.

Song to Song (Broad Green)

$142,005 in 80 theaters (+76); PTA: $1,775; Cumulative: $213,580

The second weekend of Terrence Malick’s Austin music scene film got a similar response to last year’s “Knight of Cups,” with a higher total gross in more than twice as many theaters.

Frantz (Music Box)

$50,000 in 10 theaters (+8); PTA: $50,000; Cumulative: $82,241

Los Angeles was among the second weekend additions as French director Francois Ozon’s latest acclaimed film expanded. The reviews continue to be strong, but the response is modest. This week, it will add 25 theaters.

After the Storm (Film Movement)

$(est.) 23,000 in 10 theaters (+4); PTA: $(est.) 2,300; Cumulative: $(est.) 51,000

Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s latest Japanese family drama had a modest second week expansion which, despite good reviews, finds itself struggling with the disinterest in subtitled films.

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

“The Last Word”

The Last Word (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$520,802 in 380 theaters (+286); Cumulative: $971,866

Shirley Maclaine oversees her own obituary in this expanding film, which is attracting older viewers. Bleecker Street had a decent success with Blythe Danner in similarly senior-targeted “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Its fourth weekend had a slightly higher ($553,000) gross, but in fewer than half (165) as many theaters. That suggests this won’t achieve the earlier film’s success.

Lion (Weinstein) Week 18

$383,000 in 320 theaters (-301); Cumulative: $50,725,000

Winding down after its lengthy and successful run (including an additional $76 million overseas), this has been a solid rebound for Weinstein.

The Sense of an Ending (CBS) Week 3

$270,000 in 235 theaters (-47); Cumulative: $1,024,000

Another recent older-audience film that has failed to create a stir, even with Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling in tow. Its PTA only fell slightly, but it wasn’t strong to begin with.

Personal Shopper (IFC) Week 3

$225,235 in 107 theaters (+72); Cumulative: $553,980

Olivier Assayas’ second collaboration with Kristen Stewart expanded more quickly than their “Clouds of Sils Maria,” which had 69 theaters on its third weekend with a gross of $219,000 with an equivalent PTA. This will be in the top 50 markets next week.

La La Land (Lionsgate) Week 16

$205,000 in 212 theaters (-373); Cumulative: $150,234,000

As Damien Chazelle’s smash hit ends its final theatrical stages, add an additional $277 million in foreign grosses for a total so far of $427 million.

Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 7

$205,000 in 107 theaters (-23); Cumulative:  $1,760,000

Cats in Istanbul continue to appeal. This unlikely success should top $2 million before it’s through.

A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight) Week 7

$185,000 in 159 theaters (-98); Cumulative: $3,519,000

The director’s 2014 “Belle” grossed nearly three times as much in 2014. This respected film’s lesser gross is a clear sign of the steep dip in the specialized world.

I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia) Week 8

$(est.) 105,000 in 61 theaters (-49); Cumulative: $(est.) 6,528,000

Who could have guessed that a documentary about James Baldwin could gross nearly 80 percent as much as last year’s Oscar-winner “Amy”?

Raw (Focus) Week 3

$74,000 in 27 theaters (+18); Cumulative: $186,709

Julia Ducornau’s horror film continued to gain acclaim and some niche interest. This French film expanded wider with modest but steady interest.

Moonlight (A24) Week 22; also available on Video on Demand

$82,200 in 83 theaters (-198); Cumulative: $27,695,000

A month after getting home-viewing availability, “Moonlight”‘s Oscar wins have kept a few screens to boost the film’s final theatrical total.

Also noted:

Paterson (Bleecker Street) – $48,647 in  36 theaters; Cumulative: $2,056,000

The Salesman (Cohen) – $46,485 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $2,296,000

The Women’s Balcony (Menemsha) – $35,252 in 14 theates; Cumulative: $201,533

Land of Mine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $34,283 in 26 theaters; Cumulative: $298,567

The Red Turtle (Sony Pictures Classics) – (#1,032 in 127 theaters; Cumulative: $826,807

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