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Specialty Box Office: Audiences Have ‘Pride’ In First Weekend; Shane Dawson’s ‘Not Cool’ Very Hot In Second Frame

Specialty Box Office: Audiences Have 'Pride' In First Weekend; Shane Dawson's 'Not Cool' Very Hot In Second Frame

Seven new films entered in the specialty marketplace this weekend, and while one in particular was off to an excellent start, they all ended up losing out to an internet sensation. Our report:

The good news: 

CBS Films had reason to be proud this weekend: Their British gay rights drama Pride had by far the best per-theater-average of any debuting indie this weekend. In 6 theaters, the film — coming off well-received screenings in Cannes and Toronto — grossed $84,791, averaging a solid $14,132. And there were lots of clues suggesting it has legs in weeks to come. The film jumped 49% Friday to Saturday, and got an “A” average from Cinemascore.

“We expect word of mouth to be the film’s strongest asset in the weeks ahead,” CBS Films’ Grey Munford said today. “With said WOM in mind we will be expanding slowly.  Taking a few carefully selected theaters in the existing markets next weekend and then adding a handful of additional cities on October 10th.

A handful of other films had respectable (but not spectacular) first weekend numbers: Pantelion and Lionsgate tried for another Spanish-language hit with horror remake “Más Negro que la Noche,” which grossed $550,000 from 178 screens for a decent $3,090 average, while Samuel Goldwyn sent country music romance “The Song” to 340 theaters and saw $600,000 come in, averaging $1,765.  Sundance Selects and Bond/360 had so-so single screen debuts from “Days and Nights” ($6,700) and “Advanced Style” ($6,500), respectively, while Magnolia had more success with “The Two Faces of January,” which benefited from the presence of Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Dunst and Oscar Isaac as it grossed $45,000 from 6 theaters.

But the best news came on the holdover front. Topping “Pride” in terms of per-theater-average was the second weekend of YouTube sensation Shane Dawson’s high school comedy “Not Cool.” Despite extremely bad reviews (it has a “1” on Metacritic), Dawson’s 10 million YouTube subscribers clearly came out in full force. After grossing $10,000 on a single screen in Los Angeles last weekend, it grossed a whopping $26,000 in New York this time around. Starz Digital Media is releasing the film as part of their reality competition show “The Chair.” “Not Cool” is vying for a $250,000 cash prize based on a multiplatform voting system. It notably was also released on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and other digital retailers this past
Tuesday. It reached the #5 spot on the iTunes Movies chart within hours, making it clear Starz’ plan is paying off (and the appeal of Dawson himself).

As for older releases, RADiUS/TWC’s “Keep On Keepin On,” Oscilloscope’s “Art and Craft,” Roadside and Lionsgate’s “The Skeleton Twins,” Cohen Media Group’s “My Old Lady,” Sony Classics’ “Love is Strange,” IFC Films’ “Boyhood,” and American Experience/PBS Films’s “Last Days in Vietnam” all found very solid numbers at various stages in release — placing strongly amidst an onslaught of newcomers on our top 20 per-theater-average chart (which you can find on the next page).
 
The bad news:

There actually wasn’t too much bad news to report. The aforementioned debuts of films like “The Song” and “Days and Nights” weren’t exactly success stories, but they weren’t particularly disappointing either. Even “Tracks” — which had an unimpressive 4 theater debut last weekend (averaging just $5,400) — held up reasonably in weekend two, grossing $73,240 from 28 theaters for a $2,616 average (again — not great numbers, but better than expected given its opening).

There were a few sour notes from films that didn’t even place on our top 20 chart. The second weekend of A24’s “Tusk” and the third weekend of The Weinstein Company’s “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” each stumbled significantly. Despite strong reviews for both films, their averages fell under $700 per theater in 449 theaters (“Tusk”) and 139 theaters (“Rigby”), respectively. “Tusk” has now grossed $1.4 million, while “Rigby” has taken in $436,906 and probably won’t even manage to cross the $1 million mark.

Head over to the next page for a chart of the weekend’s 20 best per-theater-averages.

The Weekend’s Specialty Top 20 (ranked in order of per-theater-average, and only including films that both submitted estimates and initially opened in under 500 theaters):

1. Not Cool (Starz Media)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $26,000
Theaters: 1 (even)
Per-Theater-Average: $26,000 (best average for any film in release)
Total Gross: $36,274
Criticwire Average: N/A
Read more about “Not Cool”

2. Pride (CBS Films)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $84,791
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $14,132 (best average for any debut film)
Total Gross: $84,791
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “Pride”

3. The Two Faces of January (Magnolia)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $45,000
Theaters: 6
Per-Theater-Average: $7,500
Total Gross: $45,000
Criticwire Average: B
Read more about “The Two Faces of January”

4. Days and Nights (Sundance Selects)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $6,655
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $6,655
Total Gross: $6,655
Criticwire Average: C
Read more about “Days and Nights”

5. Advanced Style (Bond/360)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $6,500
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $6,500
Total Gross: $6,500
Criticwire Average: C+
Read more about “Advanced Style”

6. Keep On Keepin’ On (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $5,600
Theaters: 1 (down from 2)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,600
Total Gross: $22,100
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Keep On Keepin’ On”

7. Art and Craft (Oscilloscope)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $22,100
Theaters: 4 (up from 2)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,525
Total Gross: $52,100
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “Art and Craft”

8. Pump (Submarine)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $30,100
Theaters: 6 (up from 3)
Per-Theater-Average: $5,017
Total Gross: $73,500
Criticwire Average: N/A
Read more about “Pump

9. Last Days in Vietnam (American Experience/PBS Films)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $53,100
Theaters: 12 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $4,425
Total Gross: $161,300
Criticwire Average: A
Read more about “Last Days in Vietnam”

10. The Little Bedroom (Cinema Libre)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $4,000
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $4,000
Total Gross: $4,000
Criticwire Average: N/A

11. The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $1,261,981
Theaters: 385 (up from 49)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,278
Total Gross: $2,353,976 (crossed the $2 million mark)
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “The Skeleton Twins”

12. Mas Negro que la Noche (Pantelion/Liongate)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $550,000
Theaters: 178
Per-Theater-Average: $3,090
Total Gross: $550,000
Criticwire Average: N/A

13. Tracks (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $73,200
Theaters: 28 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,614
Total Gross: $105,400
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “Tracks”

14. The Guest (Picturehouse)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $54,040
Theaters: 21 (up from 19)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,573
Total Gross: $201,729
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “The Guest”

15. My Old Lady (Cohen Media Group)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $568,119
Theaters: 255 (up from 170)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,228
Total Gross: $1,473,275 (crossed the $1 million mark)
Criticwire Average: B
Read more about “My Old Lady”

16. Hector and the Search For Happiness (Relativity)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $200,000
Theaters: 94 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,218
Total Gross: $252,000
Criticwire Average: B-
Read more about “Hector”

17. The Song (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn)
Week: Debut
Weekend Gross: $600,000
Theaters: 340
Per-Theater-Average: $1,765
Total Gross: $600,00
Criticwire Average: N/A
Read more about “The Song”

18. The Green Prince (Music Box Films)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $22,000
Theaters: 13 (down from 14)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,692
Total Gross: $121,300
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “The Green Prince”

19. Love Is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $200,000
Theaters: 138 (up from 112)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,449
Total Gross: $1,853,000
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Love is Strange”

20. Boyhood (IFC Films)
Week: 12
Weekend Gross: $279,000
Theaters: 215 (down from 335)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,298
Total Gross: $23,037,000 (crossed the $23 million mark)
Criticwire Average: A
Read more about “Boyhood”

Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.

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