Disney is pushing out Angelina Jolie and "Maleficent" this weekend, the fifth straight weekend with a major studio tentpole release (though the first to both star and be primarily aimed at women). And while it's unlikely a quintet of indie films also opening will stand in the way of Jolie's box office magic, they do interestingly feature a lot of A-list stars, from Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Taylor Kitsch, Toni Collette and Professor X himself, James McAvoy. Whether their recognizable faces and names help their films remains to be seen, though in general it looks like it might be another underwhelming weekend at the indie box office...
- Filth (Magnolia)
Director: Jon S. Baird
Cast: James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent, Imogen Poots, Joanne Froggatt, Gary Lewis, Martin Compston, Kate Dickie, Shirley Henderson
Criticwire Average: 6 critics gave it a C+ average
Where Is It Screening: The Varsity in Seattle, the Village Theater in New York, the Sundance Sunset in West Hollywood, and four additional screens in Canada.
Box Office Expectation: This Irvine Welsh adaptation (being marketed as from the people that brought you "Trainspotting") has been out in its native UK since last September, where it found respectable numbers (grossing the equivalent of $6.2 million). Though even with the X-Men factor of having James McAvoy in its lead role, "Filth" is unlikely to match that Stateside (at least in theaters -- its also out on VOD which it's kind of made for). For its opening weekend, a per-theater-average of over $5,000 would be within expectation.
- The Grand Seduction (eOne)
Director: Don McKellar
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch, Gordon Pinsent, Liane Balaban
Criticwire Average: 2 critics gave it a B- average
Where Is It Screening: 100 theaters across North America.
Box Office Expectation: This English-Canadian adaptation of a 2003 French-Canadian film follows the residents of a small harbor town who try to seduce a young doctor (Taylor Kitsch) into staying (the town really needs a doctor). Not exactly the synopsis of a blockbuster (though having Kitsch in the cast should help a bit), and distributor eOne is going quite wide with the film across both Canada and the US. If it averages over $3,000, that would be a fine start.
- Lucky Them (IFC Films)
Director: Megan Griffiths
Cast: Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold, Ahna O'Reilly, Nina Arianda, Johnny Depp
Criticwire Average: 6 critics gave it a B- average
Where Is It Screening: The IFC Center in New York.
Box Office Expectation: IFC Films is releasing its Toronto Film Festival pickup "Lucky Them" in a single New York theater this weekend (as well as on VOD). Following a music journalist (Toni Collette) assigned to track down her ex-boyfriend (played by Johnny Depp in a cameo), the film also stars Thomas Haden Church and Oliver Platt, and given its singular screen count it could very well end up with the weekend's best per-theater-average. Perhaps around $10,000?
- Night Moves (Cinedigm)
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Cast:: Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg, Alia Shawkat, Peter Sarsgaard, James Le Gros, Katherine Waterston
Criticwire Average: 19 critic gave it a B average
Where Is It Screening: The Arclight Hollywood in LA and the Angelika in New York.
Box Office Expectation: Definitely the weekend's most anticipated new indie, "Night Moves" is director Kelly Reichart's follow-up to 2010's acclaimed "Meek's Cutoff." Another Toronto Film Festival pickup (in fact, all the films opening this weekend except "Filth" screened there), the film stars Dakota Fanning, Jesse Eisenberg and Peter Sarsgaard as a group of radical environmentalists planning the protest of their lives: the explosion of a hydroelectric dam. The cast (and strong reviews) should help get it off to a nice start in its 2 theaters, with an average north of $10,000 likely (which would put it in line with "Meek's Cutoff" -- that film averaged $10,012 from 2 theaters 4 years ago).
- We Are The Best (Magnolia)
Director: Lukas Moodysson
Cast: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne, David Dencik
Criticwire Average: 15 critics gave it a A- average
Where Is It Screening: Two screens in NY (Angelika & Elinor Bunin), one in LA (Nuart Theater) and one each in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Box Office Expectation: Magnolia is unleashing Swedish import "We Are The Best" in six theaters this weekend. Directed by Lukas Moodysson, the film follows three girls in 1980s Stockholm who decide to form a punk band -- despite not having any instruments and being told by everyone that punk is dead. Moodysson has a following, and reviews are definitely the best of this weekend's new crop, which could help it average somewhere around $6,000 for its first frame.