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Box Office: “Meek’s Cutoff,” “Blank City” Top Limited Debuts; “Hanna” Goes Wide and Scores

Box Office: "Meek's Cutoff," "Blank City" Top Limited Debuts; "Hanna" Goes Wide and Scores

Coming off a disappointing frame last weekend , the specialty box office also didn’t have any significant breakouts debut this weekend. A slew of limited openings included Kelly Reichardt epic indie Western “Meek’s Cutoff,” Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas’ doc “American: The Bill Hicks Story,” Keanu Reeves-Vera Farmiga starrer, “Henry’s Crime,” “No Wave” documentary, “Blank City,” and “Meet Monica Velour,” which features Kim Cattrall as an aging porn star. Among those reporting, “Meek’s Cutoff” and “Blank City” were the standouts, each averaging over $10,000 and performing within expectations.

“Cutoff,” which, like Reichardt’s previous film “Wendy and Lucy,” is being released through Oscilloscope, took in $22,334 from its two screens, averaging $11,167. That’s actually an improvement over the arguably more marketable “Wendy,” which grossed $18,218 from two screens in December 2008. That film went on to total $865,695, Oscilloscope’s highest grossing film at the time (its since been surpassed by “The Messenger”). “Cutoff” is definitely a tough sell, but this is a promising start for the film that should benefit from Williams’ star power and the fan base that Reichardt has definitely accumulated over the years.

The weekend’s top debut (by per-theater-average) actually went to Insurgent Releasing’s “Blank City,” narrowly topping “Cutoff” by taking in $11,969 from its exclusive engagement at New York’s IFC Center. Since opening there on Wednesday, “City,” which looks at the ‘No Wave’ film movement and downtown scene of New York in the ’70s, has taken in $19,392.

Andy Karsch on behalf of Insurgent Releasing said: “We couldn’t be happier with the way ‘Blank City’ has been embraced critically and by audiences, many of whom are experiencing the No Wave film movement and downtown scene of New York in the ’70s for the first time through the film. It’s a testament to the tenacity and creativity of the filmmakers and my colleagues at Insurgent that the film has been so well received. We look forward to its national expansion in a few weeks.”

The remaining openers were all met with similar numbers. Anchor Bay’s “Meet Monica Velour,” starring Kim Cattrall, took in $8,000 from its two debut screens, averaging $4,000; Moving Pictures Film and TV released Keanu Reeves/Vera Farmiga starrer “Henry’s Crime” on two screens and saw a $7,528 gross and a $3,764 average, while Variance Films set “American: The Bill Hicks Story” on a sole screen with a $6,800 gross.

Focus Features, meanwhile, opted to go wide with Joe Wright’s “Hanna,” and the strategy definitely paid off. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett and Eric Bana, the film scored $12,300,000 from 2,525 screens, almost topping “Arthur” for the weekend’s best debut overall (despite “Arthur” screening on nearly 1,000 more screens).

“‘Hanna’ had a strong opening weekend playing to a mix of audiences and showing strength across the board in major markets and smaller towns/suburbs around the country and in all regions,” Focus said in a statement. “The film drew a younger (64 percent under 35), diverse audience -with a strong turn-out of Hispanic and African American patrons.”

The $30 million budgeted and warmly reviewed film should end up a nicely profitable venture for Focus.

-For reports on holdover releases, including “In a Better World,” “Win Win,” “Jane Eyre,” “Le Quattro Volte” and “Super,” head to the next page-

As far as holdovers went, last weekend’s top debut, Michelangelo Frammartino’s “Le Quattro Volte,” again found the highest per-theater-average from its exclusive engagement at New York’s Film Forum. The 2010 Cannes debut, released Stateside via Kino Lorber, “Volte,” grossed $13,000 over the weekend, taking its total to $42,522 since opening Wednesday, March 30th. The film expands next weekend to Boston, LA and Detroit, which will be a considerable test.

Not holding up so well was Academy Award-winning Danish film “In a Better World,” which had debuted to disappointing numbers last weekend. Directed by Susanne Bier, the Sony Pictures Classics release went from 4 to 12 screens and grossed $48,557. That made for a $4,046 per-theater average and a new total of $95,889. Last year’s foreign language Oscar winner, “The Secret in Their Eyes” – also released by Sony Classics – expanded to 33 screens in its second weekend last April and welcomed a $10,911 average, en route to a fantastic $6,391,436 final gross. “World”‘s true test will be as it expands in the coming weeks, but it will be an uphill battle from hereon in to meet expectations.

Also disappointing was IFC Films’ release of James Gunn’s dark superhero comedy “Super.” Starring Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler and Kevin Bacon, the film grossed only $30,000 from its 15 screens (up from 11 last weekend), averaging a weak $2,000. IFC’s Toronto International Film Festival pick-up has now grossed $93,000.

The second weekend of The Weinstein Company’s re-cut PG-13 version of “The King’s Speech” was also a bit of a bomb. On 675 screens, the family pandering version of the film grossed only $551,000, averaging $816. The result continues to make it clear that the re-cut was not worthwhile, though TWC should continue being pleased with the $137,586,710 the film has taken in overall, all but $2 million of which came from the R-rated version.

And though not a limited release (this column tends to save wide release results for Thompson on Hollywood), it seems imperative to also note that the Bob Berney-run FilmDistrict’s first release since forming last fall horror flick, “Insidious,” had a very strong second weekend. The film dropped just 27% as it took in another $9,740,062, taking its total to $27,096,650. For a horror film, that sort of small drop off is almost unheard of in its second weekend.

“A great second weekend for our first release, ‘Insidious,'” Bob Berney said. “We were up 25% from Friday with excellent holding power across the country. Strong performance on both coasts and we enjoyed continuing strength with the Latino audience ( Dallas branch market share higher than NY branch). The word-of-mouth and the PG13 rating are keeping the grosses up and we should hold well going into the third weekend.”

In its fourth weekend, Tom McCarthy’s “Win Win” expanded from 149 to 226 screens and saw a 7% increase in grosses. The high school wrestling dramedy, starring Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and Bobby Cannavale, grossed $1,220,000, averaging a strong $5,398. The Fox Searchlight film is tracking ahead of McCarthy’s previous efforts, 2008’s “The Visitor” and 2003’s “The Station Agent,” and its cume rose to $3,504,745.

In its fifth frame, Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s “Jane Eyre” expanded from 180 to 247 theaters and took in a very strong $1,192,591. Distributor Focus Features should be quite pleased with the film’s $4,828 per-theater-average and its new $5,189,974 total. Heading into further expansion, “Eyre,” which stars Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell and Judi Dench, should be heading for the $10 million mark.

Richard Press’s “Bill Cunningham New York” continued to impress in its fourth weekend of limited release. On 18 screens (up from 15), the Zeitgeist Films doc took in $86,639 (a 26% boost from last weekend despite a minimal addition of screens). Its $4,813 per-theater-average was actually a bit up from last weekend, and helped take the film’s total to $416,710.

Zeitgeist Films also got respectable numbers from the second weekend of Caroline Bottaro’s French import “Queen To Play,” which stayed static on six screens. Starring Sandrine Bonnaire and Kevin Kline (in his first French-speaking role), the film managed $25,647, only a 9% drop off from last weekend. The film averaged $4,275 and took its total to $67,455.

Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” made a disappointing third weekend expansion. Released by The Weinstein Company, the tepidly reviewed film managed a $56,910 gross from 29 screens (up from 15 last weekend). That marked a 22% drop in grosses, despite the added theaters, and gave “Miral” a per-theater-average of just $1,962. “Miral,” which depicts Hind Husseini and her quest to build an orphanage in Jerusalem in the wake of the establishment of Israel in 1948, has now totalled $248,968.

Expanding from 55 to 59 theaters was Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” which IFC Films saw good fifth weekend numbers from. “Copy” – a pick up out of last year’s Cannes Film Festival – grossed $135,700, averaging $2,500 and bringing its total to $891,250 Starring Williams Shimell and Juliette Binoche, the film should easily cross the $1 million mark in the next week or so.

Finally, Kevin Smith’s “Red State” concluded its “sneak preview” tour of big venues across the county. A month after its strong Radio City Music Hall debut, the film – a satirical horror film that takes on a Westboro Baptist Church-type organization – has totalled $851,832 from 15 different screenings. It closed up at Los Angeles’s Wiltern Theater this weekend, where it took in a strong $82,395 (though note that tickets for the screenings were set between $54 to well over $100). Smith will release “State” in traditional theatrical venues this October through his SModcast Pictures.

For a list of the 10 best per-theater-averages of those reporting indies, click here.

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

indieWIRE:BOT tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday..

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