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Specialty Box Office: 'Cosmopolis' and 'Robot and Frank' Score Solid Debuts; 'Obama's America' Huge In Expansion

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 19, 2012 at 12:54PM

David Cronenberg's Robert Pattinson-starring "Cosmopolis" led a slew of specialty debuts at the box office weekend, taking in $72,327 from just 3 screens for a $24,109 average.
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"Cosmopolis"
"Cosmopolis"

David Cronenberg's Robert Pattinson-starring "Cosmopolis" led a slew of specialty debuts at the box office weekend, taking in $72,327 from just 3 screens for a $24,109 average.

"Cosmopolis" had the highest per-theater-average of any film in release, indie or studio -- and topped a crowded frame of 7 opening films.  Among them, "Robot and Frank" and "Compliance" -- both alums of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival -- fared best, managing averages of $19,100 and $16,000, respectively.

Also doing very well this weekend was the sixth frame of anti-Obama doc "2016 Obama's America." The film nearly reached the overall top ten as it expanded 169 screens and grossed $1,249,000.

Check out the full rundown -- including numbers for the debuts of "Side By Side," "Chicken WIth Plums" and "The Awakening" -- below.

The Debuts:

"Cosmopolis" (Entertainment One)
David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" -- coming of a considerable amount of press thanks to its star Robert Pattinson's tattered love life -- opened on 3 screens this weekend to reasonably strong numbers. Grossing $72,327, the film averaged $24,109 per theater. That's well below the debut of Cronenberg's last film "A Dangerous Method" (which averaged $41,988 from 4 screens last November), but far exceeding the debut "Cosmopolis" had in Cronenberg's native Canada earlier this summer.

Entertainment One gave "Cosmopolis" a limited release north of the border in June. On 24 screens, the film grossed just $56,566 over its first weekend, less than it did in the United States on just 3 screens. How it fares as it expands outside the most major markets in the latter remains to be seen.

READ MORE: Critic's Notebook: Finding the Roots of 'Cosmopolis' In Don DeLillo's 'Game 6'

"Robot and Frank" (IDP / Samuel Goldwyn Films)
On 2 screens in New York, Sundance Film Festival alum "Robot and Frank" managed a fairly impressive debut. Grossing $38,234, the film averaged $19,117.

Starring Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon, the comedy follows an aging ex-convict (Langella), whose children hire a robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to care for him. It will expand next week to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and Washington DC. Further expansions to the top 40 markets are slated on Labor Day weekend.

"Compliance" (Magnolia)
On a single screen in New York, Craig Zobel's intensely acclaimed thriller "Compliance" took in a strong $16,000 ahead of further expansion. Inspired by true events, the film focuses on a prank caller who pretends to be a police officer and convinces the manager of a fast food restaurant that one of her employees committed a crime.

"Side By Side" (Tribeca Film)
Keanu Reeves produced doc "Side By Side" also opened on a single screen this weekend (Los Angeles's Laemmle NoHo 7) and took in $7,200.  The film will hit VOD this week and next open in New York on August 31 before rolling out to an additional ten markets throughout September.

Along with director Chris Kenneally, Reeves interviews dozens and dozens of folks from the film industry in "Side" -- from Lars von Trier and David Fincher to David Lynch and George Lucas -- asking about both the science behind the development of digital cinema technology as well as its effects.

READ MORE: Our Interview with Keanu Reeves, the No-Kidding Digital Cinema Historian and Filmmaker

"Chicken With Plums" (Sony Pictures Classics)
"Chicken With Plums" -- Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's follow-up to "Persepolis" -- debuted on 2 screens this weekend to underwhelming numbers. Taking in $11,207, the film averaged $5,604. Including its grosses from a release in Canada earlier this year, the film has a North American total of $53,383.

"Beloved" (Sundance Selects)
Christophe Honoré's "Beloved" hit 5 screens this weekend care of Sundance Selects. The film -- which closed last year's Cannes Film Festival -- stars Catherine Deneuve, Milos Forman, Ludivine Sagnier, Louis Garrel, Paul Schneider, Michel Delpech and Chiara Mastroianni, among others. It grossed $27,500 over the weekend for a $5,500 average. It will expand to the top 10 markets with the next two weeks.


"The Awakening" (Cohen Media Group)
British horror film "The Awakening" hit an aggressive 70 screens this weekend care of Cohen Media Group to weak numbers. The film -- directed by Nick Murphy and starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, and Imelda Staunton -- grossed $94,377 for a per-theater-average of just $1,348.

For news on holdover releases, including "Two Days in New York," "Celeste and Jesse Forever," "Ruby Sparks," "2016: Obama's America," "The Imposter," "Farewell My Queen," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," and "Moonrise Kingdom," continue to the next page.

"2 Days in New York."
"2 Days in New York."
The Holdovers:

"2 Days in New York" (Magnolia Pictures)
Julie Delpy's "2 Days in New York" expanded from 2 to 14 screens in its second weekend care of Magnolia Pictures (who are also releasing the film on VOD). The result was a decent $86,000 gross and a $6,143 average, helping take the film's total to $123,928.

A sort-of sequel to "2 Days in Paris," the film stars Delpy and Chris Rock. Though its numbers so far are not bad, they do fail in comparison to "Paris." That film ended up totalling $4,433,994, a number it will be tough for "New York" to come close to.

"Celeste and Jesse Forever" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sony Classics' Sundance pickup "Celeste and Jesse Forever" expanded from 18 to 67 screens in its third weekend. The film -- written by real-life best friends Rashida Jones (who also stars) and Will McCormack -- grossed $250,874, averaging $3,744. That  brought the film's total to $619,435 ahead of further expansion.

"Celeste and Jesse" stars Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts and Ari Graynor. It follows a separated couple (Jones and Samberg) who try and remain best friends after breaking up.

READ MORE: Rashida and Will Forever: Screenwriting Duo Invents Words, Talks Sundance's 'Celeste and Jesse'

"Killer Joe" (LD Entertainment)
Despite its NC-17 rating, LD Entertainment continued to see very good numbers from its release of William Friedkin's crime thriller "Killer Joe." Starring Matthew McConaughey (who is having an incredible year between this, "Magic Mike" and  as-yet-unreleased Cannes titles "Mud" and "The Paperboy") in the title role, the film expanded from 36 to 42 theaters in its fourth weekend and held on strong. It took in $150,457 for a $3,582 average. Its total now stands at $663,769. The film will continue to expand through August, and it will soon become one of just 14 NC-17 rated films to cross the $1 million mark.

"Ruby Sparks" (Fox Searchlight)
Also in its fourth weekend was Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's long-awaited follow up to "Little Miss Sunshine," "Ruby Sparks." Fox Searchlight saw the film -- which stars Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (who also wrote the script) -- drop from 261 to 218 theaters after very aggresive expansion last weekend. The result saw "Sparks" only drop 32%, taking in $300,000 for a unimpressive $1,376 average. The film has totalled $1,795,371 so far.

"Searching For Sugar Man" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sony Pictures Classics expanded Malik Bendjelloul's doc "Searching For Sugar Man" from 15 to 27 screens in its fourth weekend. The film -- which won the Audience Award at Sundance earlier this year (and, as you see below, is one of four Sundance docs in current release) -- follows two South Africans who set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. It took in $108,536 over the weekend, jumping 71% and averaging $4,020 (down just slightly from last weekend). Its total now stands at $311,612.

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" (Sundance Selects)
Another documentary alum of the Sundance Film Festival, Alison Klayman's "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry," went from 25 to 31 screens this weekend care of Sundance Selects. The film --  which chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei as he prepares for a series of exhibitions and gets into an increasing number of clashes with the Chinese government -- grossed $46,500 for a $1,500 per-theater-average. The film's cume is now $320,200.

"The Queen Of Versailles" (Magnolia)
Magnolia saw yet another Sundance doc, Lauren Greenfield's much-discussed "The Queen of Versailles," drop from 84 to 77 screens in its fifth weekend to still strong results. The film -- which won the best directing award at Sundance -- took in another $190,000 (down just 11%) as it averaged $2,468 per theater. That made for a new total of $1,228,191 as it crossed the important doc milestone of $1 million.

"Queen" follows a couple building the second largest and most expensive single-family house in the America, and the crisis they're going through as the US economy goes down. Its definitely becoming one of summer 2012's rare documentary breakouts.

READ MORE: 'The Queen of Versailles' Director Lauren Greenfield Explains Why Two Billionaires Let Her Into Their Mansion

"The Imposter" (Indomina)
Indomina expanded acclaimed doc "The Imposter" (which, yes, debuted at Sundance) from 13 to 19 screens in its sixth weekend. The film -- directed by Bart Layton -- centers on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years. Indomina saw a $82,641 gross from the film, averaging $4,350 per screen. That average is impressively up 29% from last weekend ($3,411), suggesting very strong word of mouth. The film's total stands at $272.255.

"Farewell My Queen" (Cohen Media Group)
Benoît Jacquot's "Farewell My Queen" -- a look at the relationship between Marie Antoinette and one of her readers during the final days of the French Revolution -- went from 64 down to 60 theaters in its sixth weekend care of Cohen Media Group. The result was quite strong as the film took in another $100,175 for a $1,670 per-theatre-average. The film's total now stands at $969,315 with the $1 million mark in store for the next week.

"2016 Obama's America" (Rocky Mountain Pictures)
The anti-Barack Obama documentary “2016: Obama’s America" -- written and directed by John Sullivan and “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” author Dinesh D’Souza -- expanded significantly this weekend from 61 to 169 screens and saw a huge increase in both grosses and per-theater-average. Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures (the same folks that brought you "Atlas Shrugged, Part I" and "An Inconsistent Truth"), the film jumped 294% in grosses as it took in $1,249,489. Its $7,393 average (up from $5,249 last weekend) helped take its total to a very impressive $2,066,991 and its quite possible it will end up passing the $5 million mark in the next few weeks.

The film aims to show how the future of the United States might unfold should Barack Obama be elected to a second term as president.

READ MORE: ‘Schindler’s List’ Producer Gerald Molen Wants ‘2016: Obama’s America’ To Help Romney Win the Presidency

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight)
Benh Zeitlin's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild" saw its grosses decline slightly in its eighth weekend as it lost 50 screens (it went from 286 to 236). The film dropped 23% as it took in $555,000   to push past the $8 million mark.  Averaging $2,352, the film's total now stands at $8,102,676, with the $10 million mark a good possibility. The film has now impressively topped the grosses of recent Sundance Grand Jury Prize winners "Like Crazy" and "Winter's Bone."

"Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus Features)
Finally, in its whopping thirteenth weekend, Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" continued to prove itself one of the summer's biggest indie hits. It lost screens as it went from 447 to 282 and dropped just 20% as a result. It still took in another $493,997, averaging $1,752 (for a film to have 13 straight weeks of $1,000+ averages is a feat in itself). That took its total to $42,956,805. "Moonrise Kingdom" is the second highest grossing Anderson film, after 2001's "The Royal Tenenbaums." And at this rate, it should be set to pass the $45 million mark -- rivalling "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" as the highest grossing indie of 2012 so far (that film's total now stands at %45,587,973).

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Indiewire tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the Indiewire Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Cosmopolis, Robot And Frank