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‘Lady Macbeth’ Murders New Specialty Openers with Modest Box Office

Recent indie box office hits mean more competition for newcomers like hardboiled period drama "Lady Macbeth."

“Lady Macbeth”

Well-reviewed erotic period thriller “Lady Macbeth” (Roadside Attractions) led the new specialized limited lineup. But a below-$15,000 start at five major New York/Los Angeles theaters came in well below other stronger recent debuts.

With studio sequel “War for the Planet of the Apes” nabbing better-than-usual critical response (watch out for “Dunkirk” this week) and many popular films expanding, it’s getting tougher for even acclaimed new films to stand out.

Two top Sundance premieres — U.S. Narrative Competition title “To the Bone” and U.S. Documentary Audience Award winner “Chasing Coral” — both premiered on Netflix along with limited theatrical play. As usual for the company, the grosses went unreported.

Opening

Lady Macbeth (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Toronto 2016, Sundance 2017

$68,813 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $13,762

This low-budget 19th-century adultery drama’s roots are closer to “Madame Bovary” and “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” than Shakespeare. With its bodice-ripping appeal, strong reviews in the range of other recent limited specialized successes — especially for breakout Florence Pugh — and Roadside Attraction’s marketing expertise, this dark relationship drama was expected to open somewhat higher than these credible but underwhelming numbers. The lack of a name cast had some impact, along with the competitive number of  review-oriented movies (including studio titles) appealing to the adult crowd. But the feminist drama may be too murderously violent for more mainstream seniors.

What comes next: This will expand to around 40 theaters this Friday ahead of a wider release ahead.

Endless Poetry (Abkco) – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Cannes 2016

$27,000 in 2 theaters; PTA: $13,500

Chilean-born director Alejandro Jodorowsky (“El Topo,” “The Holy Mountain”) has been a cult director for close to 50 years. He joins fellow 80-something directors Clint Eastwood, Jean-Luc Godard and Eleanor Coppola in finding commercial success with this autobiographical story set in his youth. The strong interest from core fans is seen from its strong Friday gross in its initial two New York/Los Angeles dates, but the total is still promising and suggests interest that will continue as it adds other cities ahead.

The film initially played at two Landmark theaters, a company with roots in repertory and midnight films that was present at creation for Jodorowsky’s earlier films, and its distributor Abkco also distributed “The Holy Mountain” in the 1970s (a side interest of the late Allan Klein, late-stage Beatles and long time Rolling Stones manager, who died in 2009).

What comes next: A nationwide release is planned in appropriate theaters in upcoming weeks.

Footnotes (Monument) – Metacritic: 60; Festivals include: Palm Springs, Seattle 2017

$5,900 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,900

A French musical a la Jacques Demy and “La La Land” focusing on the plight of contemporary blue collar workers opened at a single Manhattan theater to modest though credible numbers for an unheralded subtitled film. It had a decent second-day increase so word of mouth might help.

What comes next: A national big city roll out is expected ahead.

Also available on Video on Demand

Blind (Vertical/Provincetown 2017) – $(est.) 12,000 in 13  theaters

Week Two

A Ghost Story (A24)

$146,445 in 20 theaters (+16); PTA: $7,322; Cumulative: $288,751

David Lowery’s return to indie work, reuniting “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara, had a credible expansion to select other big cities. The numbers are about half of A24’s “The Lobster” a year ago, even with strong reviews and name cast. This is a typical A24 release — a quality, high-end independent film with edge and younger appeal. It will have a more limited expansion this weekend before going much wider on July 28.

City of Ghosts (IFC)

$26,246 in 11 theaters (+9); PTA: $2,386; Cumulative: $48,501

Strong reviews and year-end awards pedigree marketing continue to accompany this citizens-under-ISIS siege documentary as it opens in additional big cities its second weekend.

“The Beguiled”

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

The Beguiled (Focus) Week 4

$934,645 in 726 theaters (-215); Cumulative: $9,407,000

Sofia Coppola’s latest film, which Focus pushed hard and wide to benefit from favorable reviews and extensive media coverage, is dropping fast in both total gross and per theater figures. Expect it top out around $12 million.

Read More Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’: Why  Some Critics Brought Out the Knives 

The Hero (The Orchard) Week 6

$343,197 in 315 theaters (-127); Cumulative: $3,401,000

Sam Elliott’s career highlight performance as an actor dealing with late-life issues has had an aggressive release that should get it over $4 million. That would make The Orchard’s second-biggest success, a little behind last summer’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.”

The Little Hours

“The Little Hours”

Gunpowder & Sky

The Little Hours (Gunpowder & Sky) Week 3

$318,510 in 105 theaters (+68); Cumulative: $689,732

Another big expansion for the naughty-nuns-having-fun comedy shows similar interest as it heads deeper into the market. It is performing best in specialized theaters, less well at broader commercial locations, and its holdover weeks show an elevated drop that indicates that word of mouth might not be as strong as hoped.

Maudie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12

$252,836 in 99 theaters (+32); Cumulative: $3,547,000

The gross is almost entirely from U.S. theaters with a total outside of Canada (where this Newfoundland-set film opened earlier) approaching $900,000. This seems to be finding some favor with older audiences despite much competition at the moment.

“Beatriz at Dinner”

Beatriz at Dinner (Roadside Attractions) Week 6

$222,720 in 205 theaters (-212); Cumulative: $6,456,000

Miguel Arteta’s class-consciousness awkwardness drama is winding down as a strong arthouse hit with less than cross-over appeal. It’s total gross will wind up around $7.5 million.

Paris Can Wait (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10

$153,580 in 177 theaters (+46); Cumulative: $5,304,000

Eleanor Coppola’s debut narrative feature in the 80s has quietly amassed one of the better limited release numbers of the year.

Lost in Paris (Oscilloscope) Week 5

$79,000 in 38 theaters (+30); Cumulative: $138,059

Quebecois naifs discovering the City of Lights expanded on Quartorze Juillet to some sampling and a better than average result for a French film these days.

“The Exception”

The Exception (A24) Week 7

$67,804 in 44 theaters (-4); Cumulative: $612,709

Another World War II-related moment in history (exile Kaiser meets Nazi leaders) with Christopher Plummer continues its modest limited runs around the country.

The Women’s Balcony (Menemsha) Week 20

$52,894 in 21 theaters (-3); Cumulative: $924,238

Now approaching its sixth month in release, this Israeli orthodox-community set drama is approaching $1 million.

The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman's Portrait Photography

“The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography”

Also noted

The B-Side (Neon) – $17,225 in 15 theaters; Cumulative: $64,399

13 Minutes (Sony Pictures Classics) – $10,635 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $53,906

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