There were indeed a lot of good news to come out of the 2012 indie box office, as yesterday's article on the year's 10 biggest specialty market success stories can attest. But it wasn't all roses and dollar signs, as these 5 major specialty disappointments make clear:
1. Indie films starring Zac Efron, Kristen Stewart or Robert Pattinson
They all faired very well with wide releases this year ("The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2," "Snow White and the Huntsman," "The Lucky One," "The Lorax"), but three of young Hollywood's biggest stars all had serious box office issues when it came to indie fare this year. After they all turned up at Cannes with promising films like David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis," Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy," and Walter Salles' "On The Road," each saw their films make it to Stateside release with a thud. "Cosmopolis" -- starring Pattinson as a twentysomething billionaire riding around Manhattan in his limo -- grossed just $763,556; The promise of a whole lot of Zac Efron in his tighty whiteys helped bring "The Paperboy" to a gross of just $693,286; and while Stewart's turn in "On The Road" only had a one week qualifying run in December (with a wider release coming in a few weeks) -- its numbers weren't promising (it averaged $9,888 from 4 screens, but again -- the jury is still out). All three films can take solace in the fact that their grosses weren't as dismal as Pattinson's "Bel Ami," which was released in the Spring to the tune of just $120,462. That's probably about how much "Breaking Dawn, Part 2" made in its first 10 seconds of release.
2. "Atlas Shrugged, Part II"
Considering "Atlas Shrugged, Part I" wasn't exactly a big hit -- grossed $4.6 million on its $20 million budget -- it shouldn't come as a surprise that its sequel did so poorly as well. What should come as a surprise is that it was even made at all. But where there's a will there's a way, though despite opening on more than three times the screens of "Part I," the sequel barely improved on "Part I"'s opening weekend ($1.7 million on 1,012 screens). Adjusted for inflation, the film had the 109th worst wide openings of the past 30 years, followed by one of the 200 worst second-week drops for the same period (65%). The end result was a $3.3 million gross. "Atlas Shrugged, Part III," anyone? Anyone?