Lars von Trier's "Melancholia"
In honor of the North American release of "Melancholia" this weekend, Indiewire is taking a look at Lars von Trier's top grossing films Stateside. Mr. von Trier is known for many things, but box office success in North America is probably not one of them.
That said, the director has managed a few very respectable grosses over the years, most notably from 2000's "Dancer in the Dark" and 1996's "Breaking The Waves," both of which performed exceptionally well considering their extraordinarily unmarketable subject matter.
Interest surrounding "Melancholia" has been quite high since it debuted in Cannes earlier this year, and it actually has two marketable attributes in its cast (most notably Kirsten Dunst) and its subject matter (the apocalypse is so in right now), so it will be interesting to see how the film holds up against von Trier's 30+ year filmography.
Check back with Indiewire on Sunday afternoon to see how it starts off, but until then check out von Trier's 5 best results in North America.
Lars von Trier's Top Grossing Films In North America
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1. "Dancer In The Dark"
Lars von Trier's Palme d'Or winning musical masterpiece is also his highest grossing film in North America. Fine Line release the Bjork-starring "Dancer in the Dark" on September 22, 2000, and it averaged an impressive $30,537 from its 3 debut screens. It would go on to gross $4,184,036 in America (and $40,031,879 worldwide).
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2. "Breaking The Waves"
Featuring an Academy Award nominated performance by then-newcomer Emily Watson (tragically still the only von Trier performance to earn an Oscar nod), "Breaking The Waves" grossed $3,803,298 when it was released on November 13, 1996 (almost exactly 15 years ago). That was one of the 10 highest grosses for distributor October Films, and when one adjusts for inflation, it's still von Trier's highest grossing film in America.
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Lars von Trier's predecessor to "Nymphomaniac" was one of his bigger hits in North America, riding critical acclaim (and perhaps Cannes-related controversy) to a $3,030,848 gross, his best since "Dancer In The Dark" (and one "Nymphomaniac" is unlikely to match theatrically). With another $12,915,473 made overseas, the film's overall box office was definitely not quite melancholic.
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The first film in von Trier's incomplete "U.S. trilogy," "Dogville" grossed $1,535,286 when it was released in March 2006. Starring Nicole Kidman - perhaps the most marketable actress to star in a Lars von Trier film - "Dogville" grossed another $15,145,550 outside of North America.
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The third film in von Trier's Europe trilogy (which was actually released in the U.S. as "Zentropa" to avoid confusion with "Europa, Europa") was also its highest grosser. It took in $1,007,001 when it was released by Miramax in May of 1992.
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Perhaps rivaling "Nymphomaniac" as von Trier's most controversial film, "Antichrist" grossed $404,122 in North America in October 2009. Though a somewhat disappointing number, distributor IFC Films did something also comparable to "Nymphomaniac" -- they released the film simultaneously on video-on-demand. Official numbers were not made available, but IFC did say it was one of its top performing films on VOD that year. It is also the highest grossing film to feature genital mutilation, so there's that as well...
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Top Ten Box Office Chart November 13
Top Ten Box Office Chart