Oscar-nominated foreign language film “Wild Tales” made an impressive box office debut, with Sony Pictures Classics timing the release to Oscar weekend itself. The Argentinian film grossed $85,100 from just 4 theaters, averaging $21,275. Exposure from tonight’s ceremony should help nicely as “Tales” expands in the coming weeks (especially if it pulls off a win).
Though it’s one of the few specialty titles out there without Oscar nominations tied to it, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi’s “What We Do In The Shadows” had a very nice weekend anyway. Distributed by Unison Films in association with Paladin, the film went from 2 to 16 theaters in its second weekend and jumped 116%, grossing $142,000 for a $8,875 per-theater-average. Its total now stands at $236,000 a week before rolling out to the top 25 markets.
Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan led musical “The Last Five Years” went from 3 to 36 theaters in its second weekend but only managed a 1% increase in grosses. The RADiUS-TWC release took in $42,421 for a weak average of $1,178. That said, RADiUS-TWC is reporting the film grossed $605,000 on VOD.
In its third weekend, Freestyle Releasing sent “Old Fashioned” from 224 to 298 theaters in a move clearly aimed at counterprogramming to “50 Shades of Grey.” The Christian-themed love story about a born again former frat boy and a “free-spirited” woman dropped off a sharp 65% (much like “50 Shades” itself) to take in $350,000 and average $1,174. Its total now stands at $1,607,000.
As for all the Oscar holdovers, Abderrahmane Sissako’s “Timbuktu” expanded from 33 to 53 theaters in its fourth frame care of Cohen Media Group. Clearly trying to capitalize on its Best Foreign Language Film nomination (the first ever for the country of Mauritania), the film took in another $119,000 for a strong $2,245 average. “Timbuktu” has now grossed $481,000 and has a real shot of hitting $1 million.
Two of 2014’s other Oscar-nominated
foreign language films also were in release this weekend. Sundance Selects sent Luc and Jean-Pierre
Dardenne’s Marion Cotillard-led “Two Days, One Night” from 116 down to 94
theaters. It grossed $94,000 and averaged $1,000. Its total now stands
at an impressive $1,250,900. Sony Pictures
Classics, meanwhile, expanded Andrey Zvyagintsev’s “Leviathan” from 29 to 43 theaters to the tune of a $83,000 gross. The film averaged $1,930
and brought its cume to $704,200.
Both films were selected to
represent their countries — Belgium and Russia, respectively — at this
year’s Oscars, though only “Leviathan” made the cut. But “Two Days” got
an even more marketable nomination anyway with Cotillard’s surprise
Best Actress bid. In the end, it seems both will end up foreign language
box office success stories
Cotillard’s primary competition in the Best Actress category had a great weekend. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s “Still Alice” — which is all but certain to earn Julianne Moore her first Oscar — went from 502 to 765 theaters in its sixth weekend. The Sony Pictures Classics release grossed $2,166,000 as a result, averaging a strong $2,831 and taking its total to $7,963,000. Sony Classics’ strategy to time the expansion with the exposure that will come from Moore’s potential win is definitely paying off. It should easily cross the $10 million mark in the next week or so.
Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner” — which was nominated for handful of Oscars in the artistic and technical categories — went from 95 to 120 this weekend and took in a solid $189,000 — averaging $1,575. The film — a biopic of painter J.M.W. Turner, has now grossed $3,007,000 after 10 weekends, and looks like it will match the $3,205,706 Leigh’s “Another Year” grossed back in 2010.
After passing fellow Best Picture nominee “The Grand Budapest Hotel” a few weeks ago to become the highest grossing indie release of 2014 (a title it will likely keep), The Weinstein Company’s “The Imitation Game” kept things coming this weekend. The Morten Tyldum-directed Alan Turing biopic went from 1,551 theaters down to 1,408 this weekend but dropped only 26%, grossing $2,565,000. “Game” has now made an impressive $83,921,000, with a decent shot at approaching the $100 million mark when all is said and done.
Focus Features’ release of James Marsh’s Best
Picture nominee “The Theory of Everything” went from 466 to 545 theaters
this weekend and saw its gross drop only 23% weekend-to-weekend. It took in $566,000, averaging $1,039 per
theater and taking its total to $34,145,000. “Theory”
stars Oscar nominees Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as renowned
astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife
Jane, and is based on Jane’s memoirs of her marriage to Stephen.
Fox Searchlight took Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar frontrunner
“Birdman” from 481 down to 407 theaters on Friday. It dropped only 3%, averaging $2,039 and finding a new total of $37,733,00 as it
continues to try and capitalize on its Oscar nominations (and potential
wins). Should it take the big prize, expect a nice jump next weekend.
Head to the next page for a chart of the weekend’s best per-theater-averages.
The Weekend’s Specialty Top 10 (ranked in order of
per-theater-average, and only including independent films that both submitted
estimates and initially opened in under 500 theaters):
6. Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Weekend Gross: $830,000
Theaters: 407 (down from 481)
Total Gross: $37,733,000
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Birdman”
7. Leviathan (Sony Pictures Classics)
Weekend Gross: $83,000
Theaters: 43 (up from 29)
Total Gross: $704,200
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Leviathan”
8. The Imitation Game (The Weinstein Company)
Weekend Gross: $2,565,000
Theaters: 1,408 (down from 1,451)
Total Gross: $83,921,000
Criticwire Average: B+
Read more about “Game”
10. Mr. Turner (Sony Pictures Classics)
Weekend Gross: $189,000
Theaters: 120 (down from 145)
Total Gross: $3,007,000
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Mr. Turner”
Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist.