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Indie Box Office Preview: How Will Malick’s ‘To The Wonder’ Perform In Its Debut Frame?

Indie Box Office Preview: How Will Malick's 'To The Wonder' Perform In Its Debut Frame?

Terrence Malick isn’t exactly known as known as a box office king, but his five previous films have managed some pretty impressive numbers considering that their content isn’t exactly mainstream. Two years ago,  “The Tree of Life” opened to a massive $93,230 average from four theaters (and eventually took in $13.3 million). Normally, we’d have to wait another 5-20 years before the next Malick offering, but clearly he sings a different tune these days as his “To The Wonder” is being released less than two years after “Tree” (and a handful of future Malick films are already in post-production).

“Wonder” — which stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem — is being released in 18 theaters today by Magnolia Pictures (day and date with its digital release). How will it fare compared to the rather high expectations left by “The Tree of Life”? Check out our box office predictions for “Wonder” and a few other notable films opening in limited release today, as well as musings on some major expansions. And then check back Sunday for our report on the actual numbers.


“To The Wonder”
Director: Terrence Malick
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Theater Count: 18
Box Office Prediction: Don’t expect “To The Wonder” to come close to “Tree of Life”-sized numbers for a number of reasons. Its wider initial release (18 vs. four for “Tree”) will surely make for a smaller debut average, as will the film’s day-and-date digital release and the fact that there’s simply much less anticipation for “Wonder” then there was for “Tree.”  A $12,000 per-theater-average is probably on the lower end of expectations (making for a $215,000 weekend), but would by no means be a disastrous number for the film. If it manages an average over $20,000 then the folks at Magnolia should be very pleased.

Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Distributor: LD Entertainment
Theater Count: 15
Box Office Prediction: Despite the marketable presence of Jason Bateman, there’s little buzz for this Toronto Film Festival pickup (from Harry Alex Rubin, who directed the hit 2005 doc “Murderball), which LD Entertainment is releasing on 15 screens this weekend. An average of around $7,000 seems about right, giving it just over $100,000 for the weekend.

“The Angel’s Share”
Director: Ken Loach
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Theater Count: 3
Box Office Prediction: Opening in three theaters in Los Angeles and New York (as well as on VOD), Ken Loach’s latest is unlikely to fair too much better than his 2010 release “Looking For Eric,” which averaged $3,372 from 2 theaters. Look for “Angel’s Share” to better than number by a $1,000-$2,000 or so.

Expansions To Watch:

Director: Danny Boyle
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Week #: 2
Theater Count: 438
Change From Last Weekend: 434 new theaters (+10,850%)
Box Office Prediction: Danny Boyle’s follow-up to “127 Hours” averaged a strong $32,786 from just four theaters last weekend. But how will it fare as Fox Searchlight sends it to 434 more? In its debut weekend in the UK, it averaged $5,869 from 408 theaters. But Stateside it’s up against the expansion of “The Place Beyond The Pines” (see below) — a film with bigger star power — and Boyle as well as star James McAvoy aren’t quite the same draws in the U.S. as they are in the U.K. But it could still manage an average of $4,000, giving it a fair $1.8 million gross or so for the weekend.

“The Place Beyond The Pines”
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Distributor: Focus Features
Week #: 3
Theater Count: 514
Change From Last Weekend: 484 new theaters (+1,613%)
Box Office Prediction: After two weekends of extremely strong numbers in limited release (it averaged $23,446 from 30 theaters last weekend), Focus Features is aggressively sending the Ryan Gosling-Bradley Cooper drama to just over 500 theaters this weekend, and this will be by far its biggest test yet. If it manages to hold on to an average of $6,000 per-theater (a reasonable bet), it would gross a decent $3 million, which should be enough to make the folks at Focus happy.

“The Sapphires”
Director: Wayne Blair
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Week #4:
Theater Count: 93
Change From Last Weekend: 33 new theaters (+55%)
Box Office Prediction: The Weinstein Company has played it slow and steady with this Australian import musical, clearly hoping for word of mouth to build. Its numbers so far have been promising, with last weekend’s numbers jumping 308% when the film expanded from 12 to 60 screens. It also held on to a $4,867 average (down respectably from $5,969 the previous weekend). Look for “The Sapphires” to manage an average in the $4,000 range this time around, which would be good enough for a strong weekend gross of around $370,000.

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