By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 18, 2014 at 12:48PM
Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this weekend, which saw Cédric Klapisch's "Chinese Puzzle" find a promising debut, James Gray's much more anticipated "The Immigrant" fail to make much of an impression, and "Chef," "Ida," "Belle" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" all hold on nicely later in their runs.
Debut Winner of the Weekend: "Chinese Puzzle." While James Gray's "The Immigrant" had a higher per-theater-average, it had a lot of star power and the backing of The Weinstein Company. Which is why the fact that "Chinese Puzzle" just narrowly lost the PTA crown to it this weekend is so impressive. Released by Cohen Media Group, Cédric Klapisch's film follows a 40-year-old French father of two (Roman Duris) who heads to New York when the his wife leaves him and takes the children there. It comes after 2002's "L'Auberge Espagnole" and 2005's "Russian Dolls" to complete a trilogy of sorts for director Klapisch. And there was some interest from American audiences. Its $24,220 gross from 2 theaters isn't extraordinary by any means, but it was the weekend's most promising debut.
Debut Loser of the Weekend: "The Immigrant." Sure, it's $15,143 per-theater-average is by no means a disaster, and actually higher than the $13,569 average that Grays previous film "Two Lovers" opened to in 2009 (before going on to gross an impressive $3.2 million), but considering its stellar reviews, marketable cast in Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner, and theater count of just 3 -- it should have been a higher number. Maybe "loser" is a strong word, but the film -- which comes to theaters a year after it debuted at Cannes -- needed to hit closer to $20,000 to show any serious promise. Though that said, "Two Lovers" held on very nice and steady, and perhaps "The Immigrant" can do the same. But for now, it looks like it's heading for the "disappointment" column.
This Weekend's Debuts:1. The Immigrant (The Weinstein Company)
Weekend Gross: $45,430
Total Gross: $45,430
Criticwire Average: Chinese Puzzle (Cohen Media Group)
Weekend Gross: $24,220
Total Gross: $24,220
Criticwire Average: B+
3. The Discoverers (Eammon Films)
Weekend Gross: $8,000
Total Gross: $8,000
Criticwire Average: B+
4. Al Weiwei: The Fake Case (International Film Circuit)
Weekend Gross: $6,182
Total Gross: $6,182
Criticwire Average: N/A
Head over to the next page for a rundown of holdover grosses...