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Arthouse Audit: Oscar Hopeful ‘Wild Tales’ Opens to Strong Numbers

Arthouse Audit: Oscar Hopeful 'Wild Tales' Opens to Strong Numbers

Only Best Actress contender “Still Alice” is not available for home viewing. Fortunately, other new films are coming into the mix, with Sony Pictures Classics’ hilarious foreign nominee “Wild Tales” opening to good initial results (and a possible boost), and Unison/Paladin’s “What We Do in the Shadows” showing continued interest in its expansion this week. Fox Searchlight’s “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” opens in two weeks, bringing a fresh infusion. 


“Wild Tales” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Cannes 2014, Sundance 2015
$85,131 in 4 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $21,283; Cumulative: $89,986

If this wins Foreign Language film Sunday, SPC gets points for smart timing and waiting to launch this Argentine multiple-story film after the Oscar ballot deadline. This marks a strong opening gross for a subtitled film these days, with or without an Oscar boost. Even more impressive, it comes without any same-day reviews in Los Angeles. (This opened for a one-week run last fall in hopes of a bonus writing nomination – and got slammed with an unexpected pan in the LA Times, which gave them a major interview with the director on Thursday.) These numbers are better than those for the other three openers, including “Ida” which ended up at $3.7 million, and ahead of SPC’s nominee “No” from neighboring Chile last year, which ended up at $2.3 million after its February release just before the awards.

What comes next: Irrespective of its fate tonight, this will broaden quickly to what looks to be a potentially strong specialized response over the months ahead, aided more by some potential crossover to upscale Spanish-speaking markets. Five years ago, SPC pushed to over $6 million “The Secret in Their Eyes,” also from Argentina, even though it opened sometime after its Oscar win.

“Queen and Country” (BBC Worldwide Americas) – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Cannes, New York, London 2014, Palm Springs 2015
$(est.) 6,500 in 1 theater; PSA: $6,500; Cumulative: $ (est.) 10,000

John Boorman’s followup to his “Hope and Glory” opened up at New York’s Film Forum last Wednesday to decent results, particularly for a film basically without mainstream distribution.

What comes next: This will see mainly niche and some non-theatrical showings ahead, including some very limited less than full week dates.

Week 2

“What We Do in the Shadows” (Paladin/Unison)    
$141,795 in 16 theaters (+14); PSA: $8,862; Cumulative: $235,565

Decent expansion (both in its initial markets and new cities) of the New Zealand vampire rom-com from co-director and star Jemaine Clement. This looks to be hitting the elusive younger urban crowd. The numbers are comparable to the second week expansion of the much higher profile “Whiplash” (which was expected to do well, and actually looked a little weak at this level compared to expectations). This does look to be positioned to gain from decent word of mouth and ultimately do some modest crossover business ahead.

“The Last Five Years” (Radius/Weinstein)  – also available on Video on Demand    
$(est.) $40,000 in 13 theaters (+10); PSA: $3,077; Cumulative: $(est.) 100,000

The limited expansion of the Anna Kendrick-starring musical (also on VOD) fell short of its opening weekend total in only three locations, suggesting that this has limited theatrical life ahead.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” (Music Box)       
$27,000 in theaters (+1); PSA: $9,000; Cumulative: $68,107

Music Box hopes to score its first Oscar win ever with “Ida” tonight, but in the meantime they look to have a decent release with this Israeli divorce drama. One Los Angeles screen was added, with overall positive if not spectacular second weekend results. Ten theaters and four new markets come on board next Friday.

“Somewhere Only We Know” (China Lion)    
$55,000 in 44 theaters (-2); PSA: $1,250; Cumulative: $442,000

This smash in its native China collapsed its second weekend here (after an initial Valentine’s Day boost). This grossed over $300,000 last weekend in nearly the same number of theaters.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)

“Still Alive” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6   
$2,166,200 in 765 theaters (+263); Cumulative: $7,963,000

Ending up #11 for the weekend overall, and primed to expand and enter the Top Ten next week after Julianne Moore’s certain victory tonight, this has been a case study on how a film that otherwise would have been a modest specialized performer rode the awards wave to a much higher gross level. And SPC hasn’t had to spend like crazy on this because of Moore’s strong position from the start.

“Birdman” (Fox Searchlight) Week 19 – also available on Video on Demand
$830,000 in 407 theaters (-74); Cumulative: $37,773,000

Its presence on some VOD platforms has cost the Oscar frontrunner some runs, but clearly moviegoers are still playing pre-Oscar catch-up. Despite the theater loss, the gross nearly equaled last weekend’s, and this outperformed both “Whiplash” and “Theory of Everything” despite playing on fewer screens.  With its higher awards profile, “Birdman” finally overtook “Wild” in its total gross. Big Oscar wins will give it even more life.

“Whiplash” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 20
$569,216 in 440 theaters (-75); Cumulative: $11,330,000

Though this has never achieved the box office total anticipated, the Oscar nomination bounce has added nearly $5 million to its total. This comes out on DVD on Tuesday.

“The Theory of Everything” (Focus) – also available on Video on Demand
$566,000 in 545 theaters (+79); Cumulative: $34,145,000

Despite its debut on Video on Demand (Time Warner has it ranked as #2 at the moment behind “Dumb and Dumber 2”) this added theaters as expectations rise that Eddie Redmayne may win Best Actor. Worldwide this has gotten to $100 million, and this has outgrossed Focus’ “Dallas Buyers Club” by $8 million so far despite that films two acting wins.

“Old Fashioned” (Freestyle) Week 3     
$(est.) 360,000 in 298 theaters (+74); Cumulative: $(est.)1,967,000

Despite a  jump in theaters, this faith-based independent romance dropped about the same percentage that “Fifty Shades of Grey” did.

“2015 Oscar Nominated Shorts” (Shorts HD/Magnolia) Week 4   244
$(est.) 275,000 in 217 theaters (-27); Cumulative: $(est.) 2,192,000

Getting into the total gross range of previous years’ releases, this has turned out to be a consistent crowd pleaser that, combining the different programs ends up outperforming many higher profile specialized releases.

“Mr. Turner” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10  
$188,920 in 120 theaters (+25); Cumulative: $3,007,000

This has become the sleeper specialized success of the season, steadily adding gross despite its disappointing Oscar position. The 120 theaters this week is its widest break so far, and even though the PSA is nothing special, the numbers keep adding up.

“Wild” (Fox Searchlight) Week 12
$184,000 158 in theaters (-27); Cumulative: $37,256,000

 The two acting nominations have given this a $4 million boost that it
likely otherwise would not have seen as this non-Best Picture contender
has outgrossed three of its rivals thus far.

“Timbuktu” (Cohen) Week 4  
$119,448 in 53 theaters (+20); Cumulative: $481,409

its ultimate gross will be affected by whether this scores a Foreign
Language win tonight, following its spectacular seven wins at the Cesars, including Best Film and Director, this has performed very well as a subtitled film
that comes from Sub-Saharan Africa, not exactly a hot spot of American
theatrical focus.

“Two Days One Night” (IFC) Week 9   120
$94,000 in 94 theaters (-26); Cumulative: $1,251,000

Not exactly a last minute rush by viewers to see this before tonight, with this now looking to fall short of other recent Dardennes Brothers films despite Cotillard’s nomination.

“Foxcatcher” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 15
$89,009 in 118 theaters (+20); Cumulative: $12,001,000

Heading to DVD on a week, this is about done with its theatrical run, one which has come in under expectations despite strong support from SPC.

“Leviathan” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9  
$83,015 in 43 theaters (+14); Cumulative: $704,227

Another challenging (though acclaimed) Foreign Language contender that, in not that many theaters, has amassed a respectable gross considering its serious tone and length.

“A Most Violent Year” (A24) Week 7  
$(est.) 80,000 in 59 theaters (-127); Cumulative: $(est.) 5,430,000

Ending its mixed-results run, J.C. Chandor’s film is going end up around the level of both of his previous films (“Margin Call” and “All Is Lost”).

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