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Indie Box Office Preview: Can Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus in Fur’ Break Out?

Indie Box Office Preview: Can Roman Polanski's 'Venus in Fur' Break Out?

Roman Polanski and Paul Haggis bring their latest to U.S. cinemas this weekend after runs on the festival circuit, but will audiences flock to them amidst an increasingly crowded studio market?  Here’s our predictions for those films and other new indie releases (in alphabetical order):

  • Coherence (Oscilloscope)
    Director:  James Ward Byrkit
    Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon, Hugo Armstrong, Elizabeth Gracen, Alex Manugian, Lauren Maher
    Criticwire Average: 5 critics gave it a B+ average
    Where It’s Screening:
    At the Village East in New York and L.A.’s Los Feliz Cinemas.
    Box Office Expectation: A pick up from Fantastic Fest last fall, James Ward Byrkit’s sci-fi relationship drama “Coherence” hits a pair of theaters this weekend. The film follows eight friends at a dinner party who experience chain of reality bending events, and has been met with pretty strong reviews. It’s not an easy market and the fact that it doesn’t have any known names might make a big gross tough, but an average of over $5,000 would be a nice start.
  • The Last Sentence (Music Box)
    Director: Jan Troell
    Cast: Jesper Christensen, Pernilla August, Ulla Skoog, Björn Granath
    Criticwire Average: N/A
    Where It’s Screening: The Royal in Los Angeles and Lincoln Plaza in New York
    Box Office Expectation: Music Box Films continues to offer up a consistent slate of high quality imports (see its breakout hit “Ida”) with Jan Troell’s Scandinavian “Last Sentence.” Following the life of Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt in the 1930s, the film clearly has a limited audience, but should still end up averaging a solid $7,000 or so from its two opening theaters (especially the Lincoln Plaza, which is perfect for the older, high-brow demographic that will go to this film).
  • Third Person (Sony Pictures Classics)
    Director: Paul Haggis
    Cast: Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Kim Basinger, Maria Bello
    Criticwire Average: 6 critics gave it a C- average
    Where It’s Screening: Five theaters total: 3 in NYC and 2 in LA.
    Box Office Expectation: Sony Pictures Classics picked up Paul Haggis’ multi-narrative “Third Person” out of Toronto last year, and even though it comes to theaters nine months later with the same largely negative reviews it drew from that festival, it has multiple secret weapons: Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, James Franco and Olivia Wilde are among its star-studded cast, which could very well give it the weekend’s best per-theater-average among indies: We’d guess $15,000?
  • Venus In Fur (Sundance Selects)
    Director: Roman Polanski
    Cast: Emmanuelle Seigner, Mathieu Amalric
    Criticwire Average: 21 critics gave it a B average
    Where It’s Screening: The IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza in New York.
    Box Office Expectation: Over a year after it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival, Roman Polanski’s “Venus In Fur” hits both theaters and VOD. The French language film — starring Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner alongside Mathieu Amalric — adapts the 1870 novel “Venus In Furs.” Polanski’s name alone should help it have a decent opening from its three theaters, though its steamy content might make it more of a hit on VOD. It’ll likely be tough to top the $2.5 million Polanski’s “Carnage” grossed back in 2011, but that film was in English and starred the A-list likes of Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet, so that’s not an expectation “Venus” should have anyway.  If it opens to over $15,000 per-theater, that’s a strong enough start.

Peter Knegt is a regular contributor to Indiewire and our box office columnist. Follow him
on Twitter.

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