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Sundance 2012 at the Box Office: Charting Last Year's Acquisitions

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 17, 2013 at 12:33PM

Last year's Sundance Film Festival -- like the year before it -- saw a remarkable amount of deals go down that made clear the sales drought of the end of the last decade had come to an end.  Over 40 films were picked up for release, and most of them made their way to theaters in the past year. And while there certainly were some very notable hits in films like "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Arbitrage," "Searching For Sugar Man" and "Sleepwalk With Me," it wasn't a wholly impressive situation. READ MORE: Sundance 2013: The Complete Buyers Guide
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"Liberal Arts"
IFC Films "Liberal Arts"

21. Liberal Arts
Distributor: IFC Films
Theatrical Gross: $327K
Verdict: The presence of Josh Radnor and Elizabeth Olsen surely gave "Liberal Arts" a boost on VOD, but not in theaters, where its numbers were dismal. Disappointment.

22. Compliance
Distributor: Magnolia
Gross: $319K
Verdict: Ann Dowd came this close to an Oscar nomination for Craig Zobel's NEXT section film "Compliance," which clearly has loads of fans and received a lot of press when it was released in August. Maybe its VOD release reaped more substantial rewards, but there was definitely nothing to phone home about with its theatrical numbers. Disappointment.

23. Keep The Lights On
Distributor: Music Box Films
Theatrical Gross: $246K
Verdict: Ira Sachs' intensely acclaimed gay relationship drama never quite took off at the box office, which is unfortunately something of a trend with acclaimed queer content lately. Disappointment.

24. Middle of Nowhere
Distributor: AFFRM
Theatrical Gross: $237K
Verdict: Winner of the best director prize at the festival, Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" went on to get Spirit Award and Gotham Award nominations and a place in the general awards season conversation. But not much box office, despite that. Disappointment.

25. The House I Live In
Distributor: Abramorama
Theatrical Gross: $186K
Verdict: Eugene Jarecki's Grand Jury Prize winning doc on the war on drugs was never exactly destined to take over the box office, but one would think that award's stamp of approval might push it a bit further than this. Disappointment.

Middle of Nowhere
Ava DuVernay's 'Middle of Nowhere'

26. The Other Dream Team
Distributor: Film Arcade
Theatrical Gross: $135K
Verdict: For an upstart distributor releasing a doc that really didn't get to much buzz out of the festival, this is probably borderline Respectable.

27. How To Survive a Plague
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Theatrical Gross: $132K
Verdict: From its Oscar nomination to its multiple critics awards to truly being one of the most talked about docs of the year, "How To Survive a Plague" had a lot of things going for it... But not box office. While perhaps its VOD grosses tell a different story, in this regard it is a Disappointment.

28. Hello I Must Be Going
Distributor: Oscilloscope
Theatrical Gross: $107K
Verdict: Despite good reviews -- particularly for lead actress Melanie Lynskey -- "Going" could barely say hello to $100,000. Disappointment.

29. V/H/S
Distributor: Magnolia
Theatrical Gross: $100K
Verdict: Clearly Magnolia saw more potential on VOD for this highly buzzed horror anthology, but one would think it could have pulled off more than $100,000 theatrically given the hype. Disappointment.

30. Escape Fire
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Theatrical Gross: $87K
Verdict: No one expects too many box office dollars for a documentary about healthcare (unless its directed by Michael Moore), but still... Disappointment.

This article is related to: Box Office, Sundance Film Festival





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