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Specialty Box Office: 'Chinese Puzzle' Shows Promise, 'The Immigrant' Disappoints, and 'Budapest Hotel' Hits $55 Million

Photo of Peter Knegt 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.
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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.

The Debuts:

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.

"The Immigrant"

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)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $45,430
Theaters: 3
Per-Theater-Average: $15,143
Total Gross: $45,430
Criticwire Average:

B+

2. Chinese Puzzle (Cohen Media Group)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $24,220
Theaters: 2
Per-Theater-Average: $12,110
Total Gross: $24,220
Criticwire Average: B+

3. The Discoverers (Eammon Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $8,000
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $8,000
Total Gross: $8,000
Criticwire Average: B+

4. Al Weiwei: The Fake Case (International Film Circuit)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $6,182
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $6,182
Total Gross: $6,182
Criticwire Average: N/A

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

The Holdovers:

Holdover Winner of the Weekend: "Chef." The very strong staying power of "Ida," "Belle" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (more on that below) all definitely warrant kudos, but the second weekend of Jon Favreau's first foray into small scale indie territory in some time takes the holdover cake. Expanding to 72 theaters across the country, "Chef" managed to push itself into the overall top 15 on a small fraction of its competitors' screens. Its $10,194 average was also impressive, and definitely bodes well for distributor Open Road as it expands the film further over the next few weeks.

Notable Milestones:

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel" hit $55 million -- a first for Wes Anderson.
  • The film also managed its 11th 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" and "Belle" each crossed the $1 million mark in their second and third weekends, respectively.
     

The Holdover Top 10:

1. Chef (Open Road Films)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $734,000
Theaters: 72 (up from 6)
Per-Theater-Average: $10,194
Total Gross: $1,016,000
Criticwire Average: B

2. Ida (Music Box)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $131,000
Theaters: 38 (up from 7)
Per-Theater-Average: $6,239
Total Gross: $350,445
Criticwire Average: A

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"

3. Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $960,000
Theaters: 173 (up from 45)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,549
Total Gross: $1,787,298
Criticwire Average: B

4. Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $178,569
Theaters: 55 (up from 18)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,247
Total Gross: $363,770
Criticwire Average: B+

5. Palo Alto (Tribeca Film)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $109,650
Theaters: 36 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,046
Total Gross: $202,815
Criticwire Average: B

6. Locke (A24)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $239,440
Theaters: 73 (up from 25)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,801
Total Gross: $833,046
Criticwire Average: B+

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 11
Weekend Gross: $1,100,000
Theaters: 630 (down from 770)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,746
Total Gross: $55,536,806
Criticwire Average: A-

8. The Railway Man (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $305,000
Theaters: 183 (up from 181)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,667
Total Gross: $2,749,378
Criticwire Average: B

9. Under The Skin (A24)
Week: 7
Weekend Gross: $85,288
Theaters: 56 (down from 93)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,523
Total Gross: $2,229,298
Criticwire Average: A-

10. Only Lovers Left Alive (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $127,460
Theaters: 95 (up from 92)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,342
Total Gross: $1,293,498
Criticwire Average: A-

Peter Knegt is a regular contributor to Indiewire and their box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

This article is related to: Box Office, News, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive , The Railway Man, Locke, Belle, Ida, Chef, Palo Alto, The Immigrant, Chinese Puzzle