Last year, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate's joint Sundance pickup "Margin Call" came out of nowhere to become a big specialty hit theatrically, grossing over $5 million despite having a day-and-date release on VOD. A year later, Roadside and Lionsgate have done it again with another Wall Street-themed Sundance pickup, Nicholas Jarecki's "Arbitrage." The film -- about a corrupt 60-year-old billionaire hedge fund manager played by Richard Gere -- found the biggest opening ever for a film opening in both movie theaters and On Demand (just over $2 million from 197 screens), opening as #2 on iTunes movies overall at the same time. It also managed to hold on strong, taking in $7,349,000 as of this weekend (with the $8 million mark likely).
Another Sundance pickup that made its way to both VOD and theaters was the much buzzed about horror anthology "V/H/S," which features a series of found-footage shorts written and directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg and the directing quartet known as Radio Silence. Its VOD numbers are unavailable, but distributor Magnolia Pictures is surely unhappy with its theatrical numbers. As of October 25th, the film has grossed just $78,397, averaging just $332 per-theater in its third weekend of release.
Winner: "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
Aside from "The Master," the only platform specialty release to cross the $10 million mark this fall was Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own 1999 book, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." The high school-set drama averaged a huge $57,090 per-theater in its first weekend of release, and has continued to find strong numbers in its expansion, managing an estimated $1,400,000 from 736 theaters this past weekend (its sixth). The Summit-released film has grossed $11,208,000 so far, and could end up rivalling "The Master" as the highest grossing indie of the fall.
Loser: "Atlas Shrugged: Part II"
Another literary adaptation did not fare so well. John Putch's "Atlas Shrugged, Part II" -- the second part of an adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel -- was given a $20 million budget despite its disappointing predecessor, and fared even worse. Taking in just $1,708,000 in its aggressive wide 1,012 screen opening weekend (for a $1,688 average), it plummeted 65% in its second weekend, and 86% in its third. Its grossed $3,200,000 so far, and should maybe manage another $200,000 (if that). Last April, "Part I" grossed a similar $1,686,347 in its first weekend, but from only 299 screens. It ended up with a $4,627,375 final gross.