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‘T2 Trainspotting’ Triumphs At the Box Office, While Terrence Malick Lags

Danny Boyle leads the charge with the rare specialized sequel, but even when Terrence Malick does press he can't catch a break.

Trainspotting 2 Ewan McGregor

“T2 Trainspotting”

The rare specialty sequel led the weekend with Danny Boyle’s “T2 Trainspotting,” 21 years after the original’s breakout success. The TriStar release had the best initial numbers since the late-year awards contenders, but other debuts showed results that seemed underwhelming next to their pedigree.

This time last year, we saw the release of crossover successes “Eye in the Sky” and “Hello, My Name Is Doris,” but 2017 lacks the same heft. Last week’s breakout, “A Very Sordid Wedding” (The Film Collective) continued at its sole Palm Springs location but didn’t report results, suggesting the $40,000 start had a strong component of premiere hoopla and higher event pricing.

 

Opening

T2 Trainspotting (Sony) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Berlin 2017

$180,000 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $36,000

Danny Boyle’s “Trainspotting” sequel scored the best New York/Los Angeles limited opening this year; among conventional specialized releases, it’s only the second to earn a PTA above $20,000. As a studio production with a specialty release outside awards season, it’s a very rare bird.

Reviews are fair, but fall well short of the original’s acclaim. Still, initial results should be enough to keep Sony interested in maximizing the domestic take. The film has already grossed $33 million worldwide, with the majority from the U.K.

In adjusted numbers, the 1996 “Trainspotting” opened in eight theaters to a PTA of $64,000 and ended up (again adjusted) to a domestic $32 million, a strong crossover success.

Boyle’s last film “Steve Jobs,” also a studio release, also opened limited to a staggering $522,000 in four theaters before a lackluster $17 million domestic total.

What comes next: Sony begins the big-city widening Friday.

 

Song to Song (Broad Green) – Metacritic: 52; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2017

$53,945 in 4 theaters; PTA: $13,486

This is Terence Malick’s third weak opener in a row since 2011’s “The Tree of Life.” The film stars four major actors in Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman, and Rooney Mara, and it opened in prime New York/Los Angeles theaters, but these numbers fall below “Knight of Cups” last year.

Its setting in the Austin music scene, a South by Southwest premiere, and appearances by the reclusive director seem to have added little. The reason? Declining interest in Malick and  most importantly mixed to negative reviews, now three times in a row.

What comes next: Malick’s last two films topped out under $600,000. The elements here might get it slightly higher, but this is another disappointment for Broad Green.

 

Frantz (Music Box)  – Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, Toronto 2016, Sundance 2017

$ in 18,500 2 theaters; PTA: $9,250; Cumulative: $34,723

This post-World War I romantic drama (a remake of the great Ernst Lubitsch’s rare dramatic effort, Universal’s  1932 “The Broken Lullaby”) opened Wednesday at New York’s prime Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza. It’s a decent response for a serious subtitled film these days.

What comes next: Los Angeles and the San Francisco area open this Friday.

 

After the Storm (Film Movement) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2016

$(est.) 27,000 in 6 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 4,500

Hirokazu Kore-Eda is one of the few contemporary Japanese directors to get regular U.S. releases.He makes well-reviewed, accessible dramas, but they usually don’t receive the attention they deserve. His latest opened in a few more theaters than “Like Father, Like Son” and “Our Little Sister,” and the result is a higher total gross but a similar level of initial response.

What comes next: This looks to be Film Movement’s widest release, with at least 75 dates planned across the country.

 

Week Two

Personal Shopper (IFC)

$158,515 in 33 theaters (+29); PTA: $4,529; Cumulative: $269,920

This Olivier Assayas film starring his current muse Kristen Stewart expanded to other major cities in its second weekend, with numbers just a little below their “Clouds of Sils Maria” partnership two years ago. That film made over $1.8 million; this could be a similar breakout.

 

The Sense of an Ending (CBS)

$475,000 in 282 theaters (+278); PTA: $1,684; Cumulative: $528,000

A strong Saturday uptick from Friday (80 percent) confirms the older audience, but the significant expansion shows there aren’t enough of them for this to propel this adaptation the romantic novel by Julian Barnes to significant success.

 

Raw (Focus)

$42,860 in 9 theaters (+7); PTA: $4,762; Cumulative: $78,022

This well-received French horror film expanded to seven total markets, with continued positive response. The grosses suggest interest among genre devotees that’s at a greater level than most subtitled films, but unless the numbers sustain there’s not enough to suggest a breakout beyond niche interest.

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

 

Lion (Weinstein) Week 17

$784,000 in 621 theaters (-339); Cumulative: $50,051,000

The leader still among wider specialized films, Weinstein’s 2017 Oscar nomination could surpass “Hateful Eight” as their biggest recent success if it reaches just over $54 million.

La La Land (Lionsgate) Week 15

$530,000 in 585 theaters (-993); Cumulative: $149,764,000

Though its surprise Best Picture loss will keep this from approaching the upper levels of potential gross, this major hit (even more so worldwide) is now on the cusp of $150 million. That’s more than the three most recent best-picture winners (“Birdman,” “Spotlight,” and “Moonlight”) combined.

A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight) Week 6

$320,000 in 257 theaters (-60); Cumulative: $3,178,000

In its director, plot elements, distributor, and reviews, “A United Kingdom” is similar to “Belle” in 2014. However, this post-war African colonial true-events story will end up grossing only a little more than a third as much.

Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 6

$275,000 in 120 theaters (+4); Cumulative: $1,408,000

Cats in Istanbul continue to draw American audiences as this documentary looks to easily pass $2 million and more.

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

$270,740 in 280 theaters (-707); Cumulative: $27,523,000

More gravy for the Best Picture winner whose main viewing now is via multiple home platforms.

The Last Word (Bleecker Street) Week 3

$191,294 in 94 theaters (+69); Cumulative: $345,588

Broadly expanding but still limited, this Shirley Maclaine-starrer is still lagging behind breakout, older-audience comedies such as last year’s “Hello, My Name Is Doris.”

Table 19 (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$130,000 in 202 theaters (-666); Cumulative: $3,502,000

Fox Searchlight’s wedding comedy, which went far wider initially than most of their releases, but lost the bulk of its theaters after two weeks. It looks to end up no better than $4 million, weak for the amount of play it received.

I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia) Week 7

$(est.) 165,000 in 90 theaters (-107); Cumulative: $(est.)6,594,000

Raoul Peck’s documentary on James Baldwin is entering the latter stages of its run, but still grossing more that what similar films do on their best weeks.

The Salesman (Cohen) Week 8

$105,593 in 62 theaters (-43); Cumulative: $2,216,000

The Oscar Foreign Language win is propelling this Iranian film $450,000 — far ahead of last year’s choice (“Son of Saul”), but far below its director’s earlier winner, “A Separation.” That passed $7 million, but it was a better landscape for subtitled films a few years ago.

Also noted

The Women’s Balcony (Menemsha) – $42,307 in theaters; Cumulative: $141,827

Land of Mine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $41,814 in 38 theaters; Cumulative: $245,755

Toni Erdmann (Sony Pictures Classics) – $41,814 in 21 theaters; Cumulative: $1,239,000

Paterson (Bleecker Street) – $41,357 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $1,974,000

My Life As a Zucchini (GKids) – $27,234 in 38 theaters; Cumulative: $229,498

Neruda (The Orchard) – $22,741 in 20 theaters; Cumulative: $837,645

Bitter Harvest (Roadside Attractions) – $17,870 in 21 theaters; Cumulative: $545,483

The Red Turtle (Sony Pictures Classics) – $13,472 in 22 theaters; Cumulative: $787,71

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