Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Indie Box Office Quarterly: The 5 Big Winners of 2014 So Far

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire April 2, 2014 at 12:53PM

How indie film is fairing at the box office so far this year...
0
Grand Budapest Hotel
Fox Searchlight "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

The first quarter of 2014 has come and gone, and while it's been a pleasant affair for the studios -- collectively up 6% from last year thanks to truly epic grosses from "The LEGO Movie," "Ride Along" and "Lone Survivor." But while the list of Hollywood hits so far in 2014 expands down a good dozen titles, the indie front has been off to a slow start. 

Art houses were dominated by 2013 Oscar hopefuls for the first two months of the year, with "12 Years a Slave," "Philomena" and "August: Osage County" all taking in sizable portions of their overall grosses ($37 million, $20 milion and $18 million, respectively) in 2014. And while a few small foreign films and indies still managed to perform above expectations in the midst of them, it wasn't until the one-two punch of March's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "God's Not Dead" that independent film grosses really got rolling. So as we look to the juicy release calendar of April to serve us some more big winners, let's look back at 5 films that had a lot to celebrate during a generally underwhelming first quarter of 2014:

1. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Fox Searchlight)
Fox Searchlight sure got its 20th anniversary year off to a grand start.  A week after seeing its "12 Years a Slave" win the Oscar for best picture, its first release of the new year -- Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" -- exploded into 4 theaters to the tune of $811,166.  That resulted in a record per-theater-average of $202,792 and set the wheels in motion for what was to come. The film -- which stars Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Jude Law, among many others -- has chugged along in four weekends of expansion since, most recently grossing $8,539,795 from 977 theaters. Its total now stands at $24,171,610, giving it a very good chance of topping the $52,364,010 that "The Royal Tenenbaums" grossed in 2001 to be come Anderson's highest grossing film ever.

2. "God's Not Dead"(Freestyle Releasing)
God was alive and well in American theaters this March with Freestyle and Pure Flix Entertainment's release of Christian drama "God's Not Dead" unexpectedly storming the box office and continuing to remind us of the underserved faith-based market. Directed by Harold Cronk and starring Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, Jim Gleason and Dean Cain, "God's Not Dead" -- about a college student whose faith is challenged by his philosophy professor -- grossed $8,563,512 from just 780 theaters in its first weekend, before dropping just 4.5% in weekend two. With a total gross of $21,750,684 and counting, the film should end up with a final gross that at least rivals recent Christian hits like "Courageous" ($34.5 million) and "Fireproof" ($33.5 million).

"Gloria"
"Gloria"

3. "Gloria" (Roadside Attractions)
The first of three "who needs an Oscar nomination?" examples on this list, Sebastián Lelio's "Gloria" was submitted to the Oscars by Chile -- and then snubbed by the Academy -- in the foreign language category.  Roadside Attractions had clearly set up its January 24th release date to potentially benefit from a nomination, but even without it the film managed an exceptional $2,024,588 gross, making it the only 2014-released foreign language film to cross the $1 million mark so far.

4. "Tim's Vermeer" (Sony Pictures Classics)
The year's only breakout doc came in the form of Penn & Teller's "Tim's Vermeer" -- which did have an Oscar qualifying run before hitting theaters (and not getting an Oscar nomination) in late January. Edited down from a remarkable 2,400 hours of footage, the film follows the epic quest of Penn & Teller's buddy Tim Jenison, an inventor based in San Antonio whose creations include the NewTek firm, the videotoaster, an airplane made entirely from elements that he bought at WalMart, and a lip-synching duck. Tim's latest project is attempting to prove a theory that 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer employed technology in painting his works. It also helped result in a $1,424,001 gross for the film that followed the quest, which is more than most of the Oscar-nominated docs from last year can say.

5. "The Lunchbox" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sony Pictures Classics released Indian import "The Lunchbox" -- which many felt the country should have submitted to the Oscars (they submitted "The Good Road" instead, which did not get nominated) -- on the last day of February, and have seen promising grosses ever since. Directed by Ritesh Batra, the acclaimed film stars  Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and has now totaled $885,451 after having its best frame yet in 73 theaters this past weekend. Expect it to join "Gloria" in the $1 million club in the next week or so...

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Writer and box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is related to: Box Office, Gloria, Tim's Vermeer, The Grand Budapest Hotel, God's Not Dead, The Lunchbox






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More