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The 20 Highest Grossing Indies of 2017 (A Running List)

Refreshed weekly, here's a chart of 2017's twenty highest-grossing specialty films (so far).

"It Comes At Night"

“It Comes at Night”

Please note: The below list only includes domestic (U.S. and Canada only, unless otherwise indicated) grosses for specialty films — indie, foreign (including Bollywood films that open in limited release) and/or documentary — that opened in limited release (599 screens and under) in 2017 and/or were acquired or produced for 2017 distribution by an independent distributor or a studio (or its speciality division). It also includes films that screened only as an Academy-qualifier in 2016.

Grosses include all reported grosses up to June 27, 2017. This chart is updated every Tuesday afternoon. (Last year’s list can be found here.)

1. “Gifted”
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Release Date: April 7th
Opening Theater Count: 56
Opening Average: $7,791
Current Gross: $24,523,969

2. “47 Meters Down”
Distributor: Entertainment Studios (acquired from Dimension Films)
Release Date: June 16th
Opening Theater Count: 2,270
Opening Average: $4,936
Current Gross: $23,914,194

3. “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”
Distributor: Great India Films
Release Date: April 28th
Opening Theater Count: 425
Opening Average: $24,364
Current Gross: $20,186,659

“The Zookeeper’s Wife”

4. “The Zookeeper’s Wife”
Distributor: Focus Features
Release Date: March 31st
Opening Theater Count: 541
Opening Average: $6,079
Current Gross: $17,445,186

5. “It Comes at Night”
Distributor: A24
Release Date: June 11th
Opening Theater Count: 2,533
Opening Average: $2,364
Current Gross: $13,043,493

6. “Before I Fall”
Distributor: Open Road Films
Release Date: March 3rd
Opening Theater Count: 2,346
Opening Average: $1,999
Current Gross: $12,241,122

7. “Megan Leavey”
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Release Date: June 11th
Opening Theater Count: 1,956
Opening Average: $1,948
Current Gross: $10,739,927

8. “The Belko Experiment”
Distributor: BH Tilt
Release Date: March 17th
Opening Theater Count: 1,341
Opening Average: $3,085
Current Gross: $10,166,820

The Lost City of Z

“The Lost City of Z”

Aidan Monaghan

9. “The Lost City of Z”
Distributor: Bleecker Street, Amazon
Release Date: April 14th
Opening Theater Count: 4
Opening Average: $27,544
Current Gross: $8,480,735

10. “The Promise”
Distributor: Open Road Films (acquired at TIFF)
Release Date: April 21st
Opening Theater Count: 2,251
Opening Average: $1,820
Current Gross: $8,224,288

11. “I Am Not Your Negro”
Distributor: Magnolia
Release Date: February 3rd
Opening Theater Count: 43
Opening Average: $15,962
Current Gross: $7,123,919

12. “Lowriders”
Distributor: BH Tilt
Release Date: May 12th
Opening Theater Count: 295
Opening Average: $8,149
Current Gross: $6,179,955

13. “Your Name.”
Distributor: FUNimation
Release Date: April 7th
Opening Theater Count: 290
Opening Average: $5,662
Current Gross: $4,903,114

Makoto Shinkai Your Name

“Your Name”

14. “Paris Can Wait”
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: May 12th
Opening Theater Count: 4
Opening Average: $24,713
Current Gross: $4,153,090

15. “Sleight”
Distributor: BH Tilt
Release Date: April 28th
Opening Theater Count: 565
Opening Average: $3,012
Current Gross: $3,930,990

16. “A United Kingdom”
Distributor: Fox Searchlight (acquired at TIFF)
Release Date: February 10th
Opening Theater Count: 4
Opening Average: $16,628
Current Gross: $3,902,185

17. “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: April 14th
Opening Theater Count: 5
Opening Average: $19,842
Current Gross: $3,765,573

Table 19 Anna Kendrick

“Table 19”

18. “Table 19″
Distributor: Fox Searchlight (acquired at Sundance)
Release Date: March 3rd
Opening Theater Count: 868
Opening Average: $1,821
Current Gross: $3,614,896

19. “Their Finest”
Distributor: STX Entertainment
Release Date: April 7th
Opening Theater Count: 4
Opening Average: $19,049
Current Gross: $3,603,484

20. “Phoenix Forgotten”
Distributor: Cinelou Films
Release Date: April 21st
Opening Theater Count: 1,592
Opening Average: $1,141
Current Gross: $3,600,146


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Cut the Bollywood out ! It’s not Indie. Its mainstream in India.


THE CIRCLE is an independently financed film that was acquired for U.S. distribution by EuropaCorp — who released it theatrically via STX (as they also did with THEIR FINEST). The film has currently made just under 17 million domestically.


STX has released every film except for THE FINEST and DESITRO o/w in 2,000-3000+ theaters. THE CIRCLE was released in 3,163 theaters o/w with a contracted $22M domestic P&A spend (less than many wide releases but multiple times what the avg Indie/Specialty release will receive). STX will also release VALERIAN for Europa – which has a $200m budget. It shouldn’t be on the list either.


Per Indiewire’s statistics, many of 2017 and 2016’s highest grossing indies were released on an opening theater count of 2000-3000+. This includes “Before I Fall,” “The Witch,” “The Birth of a Nation,” “Hardcore Henry,” “The Promise” ($90m budget), etc.


This has always been the issue with using the word “independent”. Of what? Because the studio didn’t put the money up? There was a short time when everyone was calling films made in the US “American New Wave” (similar to the idea behind the French and German New Wave). Point was the films had an identity that was distinctly tied to the story being told, style in which it was being told, budget and cast. What that translated to was no money, unknown cast but stories Hollywood (mainstream) would not touch made in a way Hollywood would never. Long gone. Now many (not all) “independent” filmmakers are looking to get attention with their low budget/no name projects so they can “graduate” to studio films.

truth is stranger than fiction

This basis of comparison is meaningless. How can you compare a movie that opens in 2000+ theaters to a movie that opens in 570, widens to 1000 for a few weeks, then back down to 100s, while still remaining #3? Give more credit to the little engine that could. Negative pickup makes no difference when the distrib opens that pickup in thousands of theaters and keeps it there.

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