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Specialty Box Office: 'Dance of Reality' Leads Underwhelming Debuts; 'Chef' and 'Belle' Push Their Breakout Potential (UPDATED)

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 26, 2014 at 12:50PM

Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this weekend, which saw Alejandro Jodorowsky's "The Dance of Reality" find the promising debut amidst a group of underachievers, while "Chef," "Belle," "The Immigrant," "Ida" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" all tried to make up for it with strong performances later in their runs.
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Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this weekend, which saw Alejandro Jodorowsky's "The Dance of Reality" find the promising debut amidst a group of underachievers, while "Chef," "Belle," "The Immigrant," "Ida" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" all tried to make up for it with strong performances later in their runs.

The Debuts:

Debut Winner of the Weekend: "The Dance of Reality."  Alejandro Jodorowsky's return to the big screen opened exclusively at the Landmark Sunshine in New York and Landmark Nuart in LA, and did so by exceeding box office expectations. It grossed $24,970 over the three day weekend, averaging $12,485 per theater. That made it the only film in release other than "X-Men: Days of Future Past" to average a six digit number, which is pretty impressive for the Chilean import, which blends  Jodorowsky's personal history with metaphor, mythology and poetry. The film, which is being released by ABKCO Films (who also produced and distributed Jodorowsky's "El Topo" and "Holy Mountain"), the film will open exclusive engagements in Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia and San Francisco next weekend before rolling out across the country in June and July.

'Cold In July'

Debut Loser of the Weekend: "Cold In July." Literally days after it screened in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes, Jim Mickie's pulp noir thriller came to US theaters. But it didn't seem like the exposure from becoming a rare film to screen at Sundance and then head to Cannes -- or its very strong reviews -- helped it much. The Michael C. Hall-led film ended up grossing just $40,800 from six theaters in New York, L.A., Washington, D.C., Boston, Seattle and Dallas. No disaster, but its $6,800 average certainly wasn't promising either.

This Weekend's Debuts:

1. The Dance of Reality (ABKCO Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $24,970
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $12,485
Total Gross: $24,970
Criticwire Average:

B

2. Words and Pictures (Roadside Attractions)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $91,440
Theaters: 10
Per-Theater-Average: $9,144
Total Gross: $91,400
Criticwire Average: C+

3. Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (IFC Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $14,000
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $7,000
Total Gross: $14,000
Criticwire Average: B+

4. Stand Clear of the Closing Doors (Oscilloscope)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $7,000
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $7,000
Total Gross: $7,000
Criticwire Average: B+

5. Cold in July (IFC Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $40,800
Theaters: 6
Per-Theater-Average: $6,800
Total Gross: $40,800
Criticwire Average: B+

Head over to the next page for a rundown of holdover grosses...

The Holdovers:

Holdover Winners of the Weekend: "Chef" and "Belle."  In their third and fourth weekends, respectively, the films each expanded aggressively and up with impressive grosses of $2.3 million and $1.7 million -- enough for "Chef' to jump into the overall top 10 and for "Belle" to sit just under it. Their averages of $4,538 and $3,753 were the highest of the top 15 grossers after the mighty likes of "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and "Godzilla," with further expansion looking promising.  Could these two films end up becoming the 2014's next $10 million grossers? So far, only one indie film -- "The Grand Budapest Hotel" -- has managed that feat, with very few breakouts beyond it. Finally, it looks like that will change.

Runner-Up: "The Immigrant." Last week we called James Gray's film the "debut loser," but it managed to hang in there nicely enough in its second weekend for us to revoke the status. The Weinstein Company aggressively too it from 3 to 147 theaters on Friday, and the result was a $463,000 weekend and a respectable $3,150 average. Notably its grosses were up from its holdover theater at the Elinor Bunin Theater in New York despite the fact that it expanded throughout that city. The film seems like a safe bet to hit $1 million by next weekend.

Notable Milestones:

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel" hit $56 million, becoming the 7th highest grossing film in Fox Searchlight history.
  • The film also managed its 12th weekend in a row with a per-theater-average above $1,500, outperforming the much newer likes of "The Railway Man" and "Only Lovers Left Alive" in that regard, on far more screens. That's a rare feat these days, and it seems likely the film will cross the $60 million mark in the next couple weeks.
  • "Chef," "Fading Gigolo" and "Belle" each crossed the $3 million mark.
  • "The Immigrant," "Fed Up" and "Ida" all $500,000 -- and should each cross the $1 million mark easy.
     

The Holdover Top 10:

1. Ida (Music Box)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $225,000
Theaters: 34 (down from 38)
Per-Theater-Average: $6,618
Total Gross: $632,644
Criticwire Average: A

2. Chef (Open Road Films)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $2,260,000
Theaters: 498 (up from 72)
Per-Theater-Average: $4,538
Total Gross: $3,548,299
Criticwire Average: B

3. Chinese Puzzle (Cohen Media Group)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $44,900
Theaters: 10 (up from 2)
Per-Theater-Average: $4,490
Total Gross: $81,437
Criticwire Average: B+

4. Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $1,700,000
Theaters: 453 (up from 173)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,753
Total Gross: $3,899,760
Criticwire Average: B5. The Immigrant (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $463,000
Theaters: 147 (up from 3)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,150
Total Gross: $533,340
Criticwire Average:

B+

6. Palo Alto (Tribeca Film)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $97,985
Theaters: 42 (up from 36)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,333
Total Gross: $360,708
Criticwire Average: B

7. Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $227,025
Theaters: 102 (up from 55)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,226
Total Gross: $668,061
Criticwire Average: B+

8. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 12
Weekend Gross: $668,000
Theaters: 360 (down from 630)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,856
Total Gross: $56,600,446
Criticwire Average: A-

9. Under The Skin (A24)
Week: 8
Weekend Gross: $55,552
Theaters: 32 (down from 56)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,736
Total Gross: $2,329,334
Criticwire Average: A-

10. Fading Gigolo (Millennium Entertainment)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $294,706
Theaters: 186 (up from 356)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,584   
Total Gross: $3,134,399
Criticwire Average: B-

This article is related to: Box Office, News, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Only Lovers Left Alive , The Railway Man, Belle, Ida, Chef, Palo Alto, The Immigrant, Chinese Puzzle, Cold in July, The Dance Of Reality