As specialized distributors head to Cannes, Eleanor Coppola’s French valentine “Paris Can Wait” (Sony Pictures Classics) scored with arthouse moviegoers. It’s only the fourth 2017 limited release to break the increasingly rare $20,000 per-theater-average mark.
These days, movies with older audience appeal are sustaining the market — and will likely form the core demo for similar available new films at Cannes. Eleanor Coppola (“Apocalypse Now” documentary “Heart of Darkness”) makes her narrative film debut at 81 with her semi-autobiographical first screenplay, starring Diane Lane as the wife of a self-involved film producer (Alec Baldwin).
New York also saw a handful of other small but still promising initial results, led by Cate Blanchett stunt-theater piece “Manifesto” (Film Rise), Israeli marriage story “The Wedding Plan” (Roadside Attractions) and “Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe” (First Run).
Netflix’s timely Tribeca documentary “Get Me Roger Stone,” an eye-opening portrait of Donald Trump’s flamboyant dark knight, landed the sole main page New York Times film review on Friday, the targeted net result of plunking the movie in a few theaters. (As usual, no grosses were reported.)
East LA racing drama “Lowriders” (BH Tilt) managed to place #8 for the weekend with $2.4 million on only 245 theaters — more details in Top Ten Takeaways.
Paris Can Wait (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 54; Festivals include: Toronto 2016, South by Southwest 2017
$101,825 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $25,456
Eleanor Coppola at 81 makes her feature film debut with a foodie travelogue starring Diane Lane driving — and eating –from Cannes to Paris. Overcoming soft reviews with the help of top New York/Los Angeles theaters and strong marketing, the movie landed one of the few $25,000+ PTAs of late for two-city openings. This figure falls between”The Lost City of Z” and SPC’s own “Norman: The Modest Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer.”
The American tourist in France (or Italy) plot can strike a chord on occasion, with Lane coming full circle from her breakout role as a child actress with Laurence Olivier in “A Little Romance” decades ago. Her last widely seen lead role was “Nights in Rodanthe” with Richard Gere, seeing success at the moment in “Norman.”
What comes next: This looks to have a faster than usual SPC release with more than ten more cities next week.
The Wall (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 57
$891,590 in 541 theaters; PTA: $1,648
Director Doug Liman has moved to studio fare (“The Bourne Identity,” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “Edge of Tomorrow”) from his indie roots (Miramax’s “Swingers”). He teamed with Amazon for this intense low-budget Iraq sniper battle starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena.
Roadside took the limited national release route (with no festival play) to minor results of under $2,000 per screen. Roadside has enjoyed stellar success with Amazon’s “Love and Friendship” and Oscar-winner “Manchester By the Sea,” by far its biggest success. But this one looks like a minor detour for both.
What comes next: It will be a stretch to get to Memorial Day weekend play.
The Wedding Plan (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride 2016
$19,605 in 2 theaters; PTA: $9,803
In the tricky world of subtitled movies, Israeli films have a better chance of gaining a foothold than those of most countries. This comedy/drama about a prospective Orthodox bride having her wedding date arranged with no prospective groom opened in two Manhattan theaters to above average results. This is a rare foreign language release for Roadside, but it shows some promise for some success ahead.
What comes next: Los Angeles and nine other cities open this Friday.
Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (First Run) – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Locarno 2016
$(est.) 11,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 11,000
A biopic about the Austrian novelist from pre-war Vienna to his exile during World War II scored a date at the New York’s Lincoln Plaza. That was enough along with positive reviews to propel this to a respectable initial gross.
What comes next: This already has had significant domestic festival play, with more and other niche runs part of its future. A conventional Los Angeles run opens mid-June.
The Last Shaman (Abramorama)
$7,040 in 1 theater; PTA: $7,040
With a compelling topic (a depressed, suicidal young man quests to find the healing powers of a hallucinogenic tea) and an exotic Peru, this unheralded documentary found a receptive home at New York’s Sunshine Theater.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens next this Friday.
Manifesto (Film Rise) – Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Sundance 2017
$10,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 10,000; Cumulative: $13,000
This tour-de-force one-woman show by Cate Blanchett — playing 13 roles representing a range of 20th-century art movements — opened at New York’s Film Forum. Her draw led to a respectable gross over its initial five days with no reason to suggest this might not also appeal to a wider specialized audience.
What comes next: Los Angeles comes aboard on May 26.
Leon Morin, Priest (Rialto) (reissue)
$11,600 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,600
Decent numbers for this reissue of French master Jean-Pierre Melville’s study of a priest with Jean-Paul Belmondo, which marked a turn away from gangster and other genre films for which he was best known. It plays as part of a two- year retrospective of his work at New York’s Film Forum.
What comes next: This will be included among Melville titles in the ongoing series across the country.
The Lovers (A24)
$140,553 in 23 theaters (+19); PTA: $6,111; Cumulative: $229,375
The second weekend for this quirky comedy/drama about a long-married couple coming to terms with their parallel affairs found some positive response in major city dates nationwide. The grosses fall somewhat short of the third-week expansion of A24’s older-audience-friendly “20th Century Women.” This in-house A24 production will likely will get a significant push to play wider, but it’s playing more specialized than mainstream.
The Dinner (The Orchard)
$245,864 in 429 theaters (-76); PTA: $573; Cumulative: $1,152,000
The second weekend for this ensemble drama led by Richard Gere about a pair of parents discussing a mutual crisis fell hard from its already minimal opening results last weekend.
Risk (Neon); also available on Video on Demand
$36,095 in 45 theaters (+11); PTA: $802; Cumulative: $143,193
Laura Poitras’ much talked-about documentary on Wikileaks’ Julian Assange went nationwide to big cities. But it also suddenly appeared on iTunes in its second week, a significant factor in weak grosses. The lack of response through in its initial dates suggests that irrespective of the alternative availability there was little theatrical interest for this film — along with other movies about the widely disliked Assange, from Alex Gibney’s documentary “We Steal Secrets” to Bill Condon’s “The Fifth Estate” starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
$79,170 in 39 theaters (+35); PTA: $2,030; Cumulative: $121,170
Liev Schreiber as working class boxer Chuck Wepner expanded quickly to modest results in new dates.
3 Generations (Weinstein)
$21,185 in 37 theaters (+31); PTA: $573; Cumulative: $46,421
The second weekend expansion for this family tale focusing on the reaction to transgender transition got minimal interest consistent with its initial dates.
Stalker (Janus) (reissue)
$(est.) 7,500 in 1 theaters(no change); PTA: $(est.) 7,500; Cumulative: $
A decent hold for the second weekend of this reissue of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 masterpiece.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)
The Lost City of Z (Bleecker Street) Week 5
$467,514 in 497 theaters (-318); Cumulative: $7,551,000
James Gray’s tale of South American discovery starring King Arthur Charlie Hunnam is winding down its run as it heads toward ranking as the second best gross in Bleecker Street’s short history.
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5
$409,732 in 153 theaters (+28); Cumulative: $1,607,000
The slow, steady increase of theaters for this American-made drama from leading Israeli director Joseph Cedar is turning it into a longer-playing film that still could have half or more of its gross still to come.
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus) Week 7
$331,560 in 425 theaters (-230); Cumulative: $16,408,000
Still at a large number of theaters though at a low gross for that total, this Holocaust-themed film looks to get to around $17.5 million before it’s done.
Their Finest (STX) Week 6
$290,000 in 258 theaters (-65); Cumulative: $2,900,000
This World War II London drama starring Gemma Atherton as a government agent continues steady at a level below “Gifted” and “Zookeeper’s Wife” and other recent older audience appeal wide releases.
A Quiet Passion (Music Box) Week 5
$199,306 in 116 theaters (+32); Cumulative: $766,280
The gross so far for Terence Davies’ biopic on Emily Dickinson has grossed about what Music Box saw at the same point of its run for his earlier “The Deep Blue Sea,” although with more theaters so far. This looks like it could ultimately exceed the $1.1 million total for that film. Further expansion is planned this week.
Colossal (Neon) Week 6
$115,003 in 160 theaters (-90); Cumulative: $2,719,000
Holding at some remaining theaters, Anne Hathaway’s foray into genre indie film looks to have made some impression but fell short of its its initial promise as the best platform opener this year.
Your Name. (FUNimation) – $(est.) 55,000 in 41 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 4,755,000
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (IFC) – $32,400 in 20 theaters; Cumulative: $191,600
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Movie (Abramorama) – $20,202 in 16 theaters; Cumulative: $191,392
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (The Orchard) – $13,027 in 19 theaters; Cumulative: $139,933