Two specialized releases made the top 10 this week: “Gifted” (Fox Searchlight) came in #8 with $4.5 million, while the second weekend of “The Lost City of Z” (Bleecker Street) managed to place 10th in only 614 theaters.
Specialty distributors are pushing their films to more theaters; at nearly 2,000 theaters in its third week, “Gifted” is a wide release. This strategy doesn’t always work: A24 went to over 1,000 theaters initially for “Free Fire” with Brie Larson. It flopped across the board despite its pedigree.
Documentaries continue to stand out among niche limited openers. “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” (IFC) scored a strong New York two-theater response despite its parallel VOD option. And food scored again as “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” (The Orchard) worked with targeted marketing in its first two cities.
Free Fire (A24) – Metactritic: 64; Festivals include: Toronto 2016
$1,040,000 in 1,070 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $972
Clearly a disappointment considering its pedigree — A24 with Brie Larson and other established actors, a rising young director (Ben Wheatley). The latter makes films that seem ideally matched for A24’s edgy, youth-oriented sensibilities. But this British made, Boston warehouse-set shoot-em-up was initially slated with Alchemy; when that company went under, A24 also landed “The Lobster” a year ago. It made sense for A24 to release the film Brie Larson made after “Room,” which they oversaw during its Oscar run. With good reviews at its Toronto premiere last September, they decided to go for a nationwide break. It didn’t work out, even in the wake of Larson’s turn in “Kong: Skull Island.” Any hopes of an immediate turnout were dashed by a four percent Saturday drop.
What comes next: This will be a tough sell to hold a second week, though it could find life ahead in streaming play options.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (IFC) – Metactritic: 71; Festivals include: Toronto, Doc NYC 2016; also available on VOD
$33,760 in 2 theaters; PTA: $16,880
Jane Jacobs was an essential opponent to mid-century plans to further level Manhattan by government fiat for urban development. Though it has strong local appeal, this is still an impressive performance, even before adding the competition from VOD options.
IFC pulled off the impressive achievement of a $2.5 million gross for another documentary, “Weiner,” which also had immediate home viewing availability. It opened in five theaters to a similar $17,000 PTA, along with its New York-based story. This one has mostly location overlap in terms of interest, but this level of gross for a day-and-date release is impressive.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday with other big cities added throughout May.
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (The Orchard) – Metactritic: 68; Festivals include: Hamptons, Mill Valley 2016
$24,068 in 2 theaters; PTA: $12,034
This documentary about a pioneer of late 20th century California cuisine has Anthony Bourdain among its producers. It opened initially on both coasts; like similar food-oriented docs it found some immediate interest, although not at the same level of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” (which opened in two theaters to $42,000 in 2012). The Orchard has developed ties with professional chef groups including pre-sales (specifically targeted at Sundays, when many don’t work, which is why the three- day estimate shows Sunday’s gross as good as the earlier two days of the weekend).
What comes next: This subject is popular in many urban areas, so expect positive response to continue as this expands.
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (MUBI) – Metactritic: 83; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto, AFI 2016
$(est.) 12,500 in 4 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,125
A rare theatrical release backed by the streaming subscription movie service, which offers esoteric repertory programming, this black-and-white Finnish biopic about a colorful and unlikely 1960s boxing champion opened in New York and Los Angeles. The response was not up to the reviews, similar to so many subtitled films these days, but it showed improvement with Saturday more than doubling Friday’s gross.
What comes next: MUBI plans a conventional theatrical release before its eventual streaming availability for its subscribers.
Slack Bay (Kino Lorber) – Metactritic: 66; Festivals include: Cannes 2016, Rendezvous With French Cinema 2017
$(est.) 7,000 in 2 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,500
French director Bruno Dumont is a two-decade veteran with more critical than domestic commercial success. He has a past relationship with Kino Lorber, once again handling his latest. A period coastal farce that premiered at Cannes last year, it opened at two high-end New York locations to minor initial response.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens on Friday.
Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982 – 1992 (ABC) – Metactritic: 92; Festivals include:
$(est.) 2,700 in 2 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,350
John Ridley’s documentary on the 1992 LA riots got a New York and Los Angeles limited run in two theaters in his 145-minute version. This makes it Oscar eligible, buttressed by high-end reviews. The business (virtually nonexistent) wasn’t the point.
What comes next: A shorter version appears on ABC this Friday night.
Grow House (Independent)
$(est.) 300,000 in 624 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 481
Snoop Dogg appears in this independently made pot comedy directed by Mark Jordan, a frequent Ice Cube music collaborator. It was released nationally with some targeted marketing, but looks like it missed its mark. Saturday dropped 41 percent from Friday.
What comes next: Little room for growth.
The Lost City of Z (Bleecker Street)
$2,147,000 in 614 theaters (+610); PTA: $3,497; Cumulative: $2,298,000
An aggressive second-weekend expansion for this Amazon exploration story (ifrom Amazon Studios) place 10th overall. That could give it sufficient traction to grow and find a place among several adult-oriented films currently competing for attention.
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Sony Pictures Classics)
$136,818 in 18 theaters (+13); PTA: $7,601; Cumulative: $272,253
A decent second weekend for Israeli director Joseph Cedar’s first American film. With Richard Gere and the film getting continued acclaim, it should have an audience as it expands further, though it could be a slow build as it takes time for word of mouth to grow. In the meantime, this is the best second-weekend performance for a limited SPC release since “Miles Ahead” over a year ago.
A Quiet Passion (Music Box)
$78,000 in 13 theaters (+7); PTA: $6,000; Cumulative: $155,417
Terence Davies’ latest drama (with Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson) added Los Angeles to its initial New York and Boston dates. The PTA only went down a small margin, which suggests steady interest in the film as it expands. That will continue this week, with its subject potentially finding nationwide interest among specialized audiences.
Tommy’s Honour (Roadside Attractions)
$75,500 in 89 theaters (-78); PTA: $849; Cumulative: $406,605
A big drop from a weak start for this golf biopic set in Scotland a century ago that won’t make it to week 3.
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (Abramorama)
$23,989 in 3 theaters (+2); PTA: $7,996; Cumulative: $50,485
The jazz legend continues to interest fans in the second week of this well-received documentary. Los Angeles added to New York to similar decent initial response.
Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters +1)
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus) Week 4
$1,472,000 in 1,029 theaters (-28); Cumulative: $13,236,000
This is the spring release that so far has come closest to last year’s top upscale successes “Eye in the Sky” and “Hello, My Name Is Doris.” It looks like it will fall a little short of “Eye” (which came close to $19 million) and only a bit more than half of “Woman in Gold,” which had exactly the same pattern and appeal two years ago, but it has been a clear success for Focus. Going outside the awards calendar has worked for them.
Colossal (Neon) Week 3
$584,631 in 211 theaters (+113); Cumulative: $1,358,000
Another significant theater jump for this genre hybrid that continues to gain some interest but is not responding as well as it broadens as its initial weeks. The younger audience is not easy to reach.
Their Finest (STX) Week 3
$555,000 in 176 theaters (+124); Cumulative: $1,139,000
A big jump in theaters for this London-set World War II drama with Gemma Arterton is getting continued attention, but it’d falling short of the response that other older audience films have received. It will expand further this weekend.
Your Name. (FUNimation) Week 3
$(est.) 320,000 in 165 theaters (-127); Cumulative: $(est.) 4,058,000
This massive worldwide Japanese animated hit is having a respectable niche run in the U.S. as it continues to play nationwide.
La La Land (Lionsgate) Week 20; also available on Video on Demand
$88,000 in 148 theaters (-71); Cumulative: $151,047,000
Still getting dates long after its Oscars and now with home viewing an option, the domestic total is only about a third of its worldwide take.
T2: Trainspotting (Sony) Week 6
$80,000 in 160 theaters (-171); Cumulative: $2,212,000
To be blunt, this is a staggeringly weak performance for the sequel to Danny Boyle’s breakout success. Though it wasn’t likely to repeat the strong showing of the 1998 original nor what this did in the U.K., Sony never found the right formula to make it work here.
Frantz (Music Box) Week 6
$55,000 in 58 theaters (-50); Cumulative: $706,107
Francois Ozon’s latest French drama looks like it could still hit $1 million, an increasingly rare accomplishment for a subtitled film.
Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 11
$51,000 in 48 theaters (-39); Cumulative: $2,461,000
This cat continues to live a long life as its unexpected success continues.
Lion (Weinstein) – $49,600 in 82 theaters; Cumulative: $51,621,000; also available on Video on Demand
Graduation (IFC) – $19,992 in 14 theaters; Cumulative: $66,902
Personal Shopper (IFC) – $17,160 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $1,225,000
Kedi (Oscilloscope) – $ in theaters; Cumulative: $Raw (Focus) – $12,065 in 17 theaters; Cumulative: $485,834
I Called Him Morgan (Submarine Deluxe) – $8,554 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $97,711