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Specialty Box Office: ‘Pride’ Opening Drowned by Noisy ‘Gone Girl’

Specialty Box Office: 'Pride' Opening Drowned by Noisy 'Gone Girl'

It’s not coincidental that initial numbers for “Pride” in the best theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco came in at the low end of expectations. The per screen average is ordinary, although a reasonable Saturday jump suggests it is getting a good response so far.


“Pride” (CBS) – Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2014
$84,800 in 6 theaters; PSA (Per screen average): $14,133

A healthy jump from Friday suggests upbeat word of mouth, but this initial gross is disappointing. “Pride” boasts positive reviews, strong festival presence and significant marketing, including extensive well-received advance screenings that had enthusiastic response and also little competition among new openers (or holdovers). The PSA with two more theaters is only about two thirds of “Love Is Strange” last month, which several weeks into its run is not yet up to $2 million. Among CBS Films limited releases, “Pride” falls just below “Kings of Summer” last year, which only reached $1.2 million, although films opening around this level with strong WOM can build to $5 million or more.

“Pride” belongs solidly in the genre of Brit working-class films that reached their height in popularity with “Billy Elliot” and “The Full Monty” some years ago. Both opened to PSAs that converted to current dollars would be $30,000 or more before going on to much wider success. It’s hard to avoid pointing to the gay subject–in the 1980s, a group of London LGBT activists raise money to support striking Welsh coal miners–as possibly limiting initial response (it can be tough to draw younger gay audiences to gay-themed films).

CBS mounted a heavy word of mouth screening campaign and will delay expansion until October 10 (next weekend is Yom Kippur, a tricky date for opening films). The movie still has a shot at amassing word of mouth to elevate it above the level of other similar opening grosses. But this still is yet another indication of how tough it is at the moment for even audience-friendly, critically well-received crowd pleasers to reach the level of initial business that was once taken for granted.

What comes next:  CBS has made a big commitment to this film, so expect it to ultimately get to as wide a release as makes sense. But at this point, they still have work to do to reach its potential.

The Song” (Goldwyn) –  Metacritic: 38
$600,000 in 338 theaters; PSA: $1,765

Goldwyn in recent years has staked out some significant success in the faith-based genre (led by “Fireproof” and “October Baby”), but this contemporary take on temptation (a young singer falls prey to the lure of success) found little traction despite marketing to its core audience including two Duck Dynasty stars.

What comes next: This doesn’t look to have much chance for expansion beyond these core runs.

“Mas Negro que la Noche” (Pantelion/Lionsgate) 
$550,000 in 178 theaters; PSA: $3,090

Totally off the mainstream radar (despite their near comprehensive reviewing of new films, neither the New York nor Los Angeles Times listed this as opening), this Mexican 3D horror film is the latest targeted release from Lionsgate’s Spanish-language partner Pantelion. This one looks to be modest at best, much below what their recent “Cantinflas” managed (over $6 million).

What comes next: No large scale expansion seems likely.

“Two Faces of January” (Magnolia) – Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Berlin, San Francisco, Los Angeles 2014; Also available on Video on Demand
$45,000 in 6 theaters; PSA: $7,500

Patricia Highsmith has rivaled Jim Thompson as the go-to mystery writer in recent decades for edgy thrillers (Anthony Minghella’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley” is the most successful). This 1960s Greek-set thriller, about a seemingly typical upscale American couple (Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst) and the young expat (Oscar Isaac) who befriends them in Athens, turns complex when the businessman turns out to be an embezzler and the conman expat gets romantic with the unhappy wife. This has shown on VOD for a month, which has an impact on theater placement and grosses overall (although Magnolia has access to screens at sister company Landmark Theaters). These grosses in that context are adequate, suggesting that Highsmith retains a core appeal.

What comes next: Expansion to other major markets starting this Friday and throughout October, but the main viewing will be on VOD.

“Days and Nights” (IFC) – Criticwire: C; Metacritic: 36 Festivals include: Palm Springs, Newport Beach 2014; Also available on Video on Demand
$6,655 in 1 theater; PSA: $6,655

This resetting of Chekhov’s “The Sea Gull” to a Connecticut lakeside estate in 1984 features a topnotch cast (including Cherry Jones, William Hurt, Mark Rylance and Allison Janney), but failed to gain much critical respect. Still, its gross at the IFC Center is more impressive when one sees the film had only three (rather than the normal 5-6) shows per day and is also available on VOD.

What comes next: This likely will have limited further theatrical exposure.

“Advanced Style” (Bond 360) – Metacritic: 61; Festivals include: Hot Docs 2013
$6,500 in 1 theater; PSA: $6,500

Docs about fashion and design regularly gain attention, but this one, about seven older New York women (one is 95) and their obsession with their (often outlandish) clothes is one of the more unusual. This gross is quite decent for the Quad Theater in New York, with the extra benefit of being shown during Fashion Week.

What comes next: This opens in Miami this Friday and other big cities later in the month, as well as Video on Demand on October 7.

“Jimi: All By My Side” (XLrator) – Criticwire; Metacritic:; Festivals include: Toronto 2013, South by Southwest, Seattle, Los Angeles 2014
$(est.) $100,000 in 34 theaters; PSA: $2,941

“12 Years a Slave” writer John Ridley directed and wrote this feature film about the legendary rock icon’s early days in London and the young Brit woman who pushed his career, with a fairly wide initial break with some modest sampling that still places it above some more highly touted recent releases.

What comes next: About 12 new markets with a total of up to 100 screens are expected this week.

Second week

“Hector and the Search for Happiness” (Relativity)
$200,000 in 94 theaters (+90); PSA: $2,128; Cumulative: $252,481

Relativity reached out wider than just a modest limited expansion for this Simon Pegg-starring comedy, with at best modest results (even more worrisome with the above average ad spending behind this well-supported film). This doesn’t look like it has the heft to face the high level of upscale oriented adult films in the weeks ahead.

“Tusk” (A24)
$276,586 in 449 theaters (-153); PSA: $616; Cumulative: $1,411,000

Kevin Smith’s comedy horror film might settle into a cult favorite in future years, but for now it is failing to find much of a foothold, with a second week that fell sharply from a bad opening.

“Not Cool” (Starz Media); also available on Video on Demand
$26,000 in 1 theater (unchanged); PSA: $26,000; Cumulative: $36,724

This staggering, inexplicable gross comes from one of two films from Starz’s “The Chair” filmmaking contest, the one directed by and starring YouTube sensation Shane Dawson. The raunchy comedy boasts a surprising $14,000 gross in one Los Angeles theater last weekend. It moved to the Times Square-adjacent Empire 25 this weekend, and come up with this huge figure, more so with it garnering some of the worst reviews of the year (see TOH’s story here) and it also being available on VOD. The fall-off should be extreme. 

“Tracks” (Weinstein)
$73,240 in 28 theaters (+24); PSA: $2,616; Cumulative: $105,387

Playing about as expected (mediocre at best) after last week’s weak initial limited openings.

“The Guest” (Picturehouse)
$54,040 in 21 theaters (+2); PSA: $2,573; Cumulative: $201,279

An average hold from the mixed openings last week for this well-received thriller that seems to be getting less response from the general public than it got from its strong multi-festival reception.

“Pump” (Submarine Deluxe)
$30,103 in 6 theaters (+3); PSA: $5,017; Cumulative: $73,474

OK expansion (more so since smaller markets were the ones added this week) for this oil-industry environmental doc that showed some initial strength last weekend in New York and Los Angeles. This looks to have a steady future ahead of it as it moves to more cities.

Art and Craft” (Oscilloscope)
$22,089 in 4 theaters (+2); PSA: $5,522; Cumulative: $52,118

Los Angeles was the major new city as this art world-set doc adds to its initial draw and looks to have enough interest to find further viewing ahead.

“20,000 Days on Earth (Drafthouse)
$(est.) 22,000 in 2 theaters (+1); PSA: $11,000; Cumulative: $61,000

This doc on veteran rocker Nick Cave added Los Angeles this weekend, with continued decent results.

“Keep On Keepin’ On” (Radius/Weinstein)
$5,589 in 1 theater (-1); PSA: $5,589; Cumulative: $22,126

This doc, which hoped to replicate the success of last year’s hit “20 Feet from Stardom,” lost one of its two Los Angeles theaters, with the gross at the remaining one stabilizing at least from its disappointing start. Radius opens two top New York theaters this Friday (an unusual delayed pattern), so they get another chance at relaunching this.

Ongoing/expanding (Grossing $50,000 or more)

“The Skeleton Twins” (Roadside Attractions) Week 3
$1,261,981 in 385 theaters (+336); Cumulative: $2,354,000

Kristin Wiig-Bill Hader comedy/drama just missed the Top Ten in still
limited release, and its good holds in existing theaters and this decent
overall gross suggests reason to expect successful further expansion

“The Drop” (Fox Searchlight) Week 3
$1,050,000 in 928 theaters (-264); Cumulative: $9,646,000

This Toronto-premiered thriller with Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini dropped from the Top Ten with another 50% drop in the gross. This tweener — it was never really a specialized/limited film, but may have been too sophisticated for wider audiences — doesn’t seem to have gotten the word of mouth that might have boosted it to more success. The gross is at the high end for a film that never went to a normal wide release, but the additional marketing expense with the initial 1,000+ theater release likely makes this a more expensive release than most for Fox Searchlight.

“My Old Lady” (Cohen) Week 3
$568,000 in 255 theaters (+85); Cumulative: $1,473,000

Not great, but continuing to play decently as this Maggie Smith-costarring Paris-set film expands fairly rapidly to get in before the October rush of competing films appear.

“Boyhood” (IFC) Week 12
$279,380 in 229 theaters (-106); Cumulative: $23,037,000

Still adding to its impressive take, and not quite done yet.

“The Trip to Italy” (IFC) Week 7; also available on Video on Demand
$230,000 in 200 theaters (unchanged); Cumulative: $2,490,000

PSA isn’t strong, but significantly with no theater count change and
with same-time VOD, this only dropped a minor amount again this weekend,
with a total so far that places it ahead of most of the late summer
specialized releases.

“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” (Weinstein) Week 3
$93,900 in 139 theaters (+3); Cumulative: $436,906

A near total disaster as the quick expansion of this revised version of initially two films just hasn’t worked. Weinstein releases those two films in two weeks, but it is hard to believe they will find much interest.

Love Is Strange” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6
$200,222 in 138 theaters (+26); Cumulative: $1,893,000

Steadily expanding as planned, but the PSA, which has not been impressive as it moved beyond its limited dates, fell again. For this level of theaters, $1,450 suggests this has not amassed the amount of interest the reviews and Sundance acclaim might have suggested.

A Most Wanted Man” (Roadside Attractions) Week 10
$76,080 in 116 theaters (-78); Cumulative: $17,059,000

Ending a fine run, this has exceeded expectations and looks to end up as one of the top grossing non-awards season specialized releases of the year.

“Magic in the Moonlight” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10
$75,650 in 111 theaters (-92); Cumulative: $10,330,000

Running out the string at this point, but like all recent Woody Allen films still finding interest late in the run.

“Last Days in Vietnam” (American Experience-PBS) Week 4
$53,050 in 12 theaters (+7); Cumulative: $161,277

This doc continues to perform respectably as it expands in still limited release. The gross and popular interest won’t hurt its chances ahead in the awards derby.

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