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by Peter Knegt
October 13, 2013 1:46 PM
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Specialty Box Office: Newcomers Drowned Out By 'Gravity' and 'Phillips'; Panetlion's Spanish Language Duo Keep It Coming

"Escape From Tomorrow."

As the studio box office continued to soar thanks to intelligent, Oscar-favored fare like "Gravity" (down just 21% in weekend two) and "Captain Phillips" (Tom Hanks' best opening in a half-decade), for once the smart options weren't necessarily at the art house. Which is perhaps felt in the fact that of the 8 new titles opening in limited release, not one scored a per-theater-average of over $8,000 (which both "Gravity" and "Phillips" did on over 3,000 screens).

Of the newbies, the best per-theater-average came care of Roger Ross Williams' acclaimed doc "God Loves Uganda," which managed $7,300 from a single theater for distributor Variance Films. Green Day doc "Broadway Idiot" and one of James Franco's many 2013 directorial efforts "As I Lay Dying" weren't far behind, taking in $6,496 and $6,001, respectively from single theater engagements. While varying degrees of respectable, none are particularly impressive numbers.

"God Loves Uganda."

A few other releases went much wider in their debuts, most notably Randy Moore's highly buzzed about act of guerrilla filmmaking, "Escape From Tomorrow." Shot entirely in Disneyland without permission, the film was largely expected to never find theatrical release after it debuted at Sundance -- until Producers Distribution Agency (which also released "Exit Through The Gift Shop"), picked it up for simultaneous release in theaters and VOD. How it fared on the latter remains to be seen (though PDA head John Sloss has said he will indeed make the numbers available ASAP -- a rarity), but in theaters it managed a so-so $66,112 from 30 theaters, averaging $2,204.

Opening even wider was Lionsgate/Codeblack's release of another Sundance title, "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete." On 147 screens, the film managed a $260,000 gross for a $1,769 average. Like "Escape," it's a reasonable number but not a great one.

As far as holdovers went, Lionsgate and Panetlion's dual Spanish language releases "Pulling Strings" and "Instructions Not Included" both took in over $1 million in their second and seventh weekends, respectively. The former has now grossed $4.1 million, while the latter has accumulated an astounding $42.7 million -- making it by far the highest grossing Spanish language film ever at the US box office.

Also faring very well was the fourth weekend of Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said," which expanded to 606 theaters and took in another $1,935,000 (averaging $3,193). The film -- which features one of the late James Gandolfini's final performances opposite the likes of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener and Toni Collette -- has now totaled $8,186,599, with more where that came from.

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  • Garrett Batty | October 13, 2013 8:16 PMReply

    Moviecitynews.com reports THE SARATOV APPROACH opened on 22 screens with an impressive per screen average of $8,780 for a total of $202,000. That's 2nd, only to Gravity. Not bad.

  • alex703 | October 13, 2013 3:02 PMReply

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  • As I Lay Dying | October 13, 2013 2:40 PMReply

    The weekend isn't over yet, but in terms of As I Lay Dying, it probably would have done much better, if the distributor actually organised themselves better in regards to this movie. James Franco should never use them again.

    You could only buy tickets one day before the release date, and although various websites were quick to say this movie would end up only on VOD and DVD (at least people get to see it somehow), they made no effort to state above. Even IMDb hasn't recorded the changes.

    I still hope it ends up getting a wide release somehow next week, but I blame the distributor.

    Franco, don't use them again - no one had a chance to see The Iceman, Lovelace, What Maisie Knew etc. If they don't have confidence in these movies don't buy them, as they're just wasting time.

  • As I Lay Dying | October 13, 2013 5:40 PM

    @RIGHT - James Franco stated the following on his twitter recently "Please support -AS I LAY DYING this weekend and it will go to more cities next week". Somehow, that's not going to happen now, probably wishful thinking on my part for wide release.

    Again, just surprised how badly the distributor did everything. They just appeared not to be bothered, it's William Faulkner for freaking sake.

    Anyway, the great news is James Franco was the first director to make this movie, it's faithful to the novel completely and brilliantly done; so anyone studying the book it would prove useful too.

  • Right | October 13, 2013 4:48 PM

    This film wouldn't get a "wide release" no matter who directed it or starred in it