Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Peter Knegt
January 17, 2013 12:33 PM
2 Comments
  • |

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

"Liberal Arts" IFC Films
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.

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.

You might also like:

2 Comments

  • Tabitha T | January 27, 2013 11:32 AMReply

    Searching For Sugar Man wasn't the highest grossing doc of the year, 2016: Obama's America was. It grossed more than 10 times as much as Sugar Man. Schoolboy error!

  • James | January 18, 2013 3:05 AMReply

    This list would be a lot more relevant and useful if you included acquisition prices.