As the Oscar winners are nearly played out in theaters and few new films have shown promise in recent weeks, the industry is checking on several new films making platform debuts. Luckily there’s some good (if hardly outstanding) results spread among three films: “Eye in the Sky” (Bleecker Street), “Hello, My Name Is Doris” (Roadside Attractions) and “City of Gold” (IFC).
In a 2015 with little other than “Lady in the Van” and “Embrace of the Serpent” to show much appeal, three strong openers in one week is cause for celebration.
“Eye in the Sky” (Bleecker Street) – Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Toronto 2015, Cinequest, Miami 2016
$117,050 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $23,410
A strong opening for this drone warfare story, with Helen Mirren’s lead role as a determined overseer of an military intelligence operation (as well as Alan Rickman’s final performance) highlighting this thriller. It’s the best platform opener since the Christmas hits, and about 50% better than fellow British diva Maggie Smith’s “The Lady in the Van,” which has turned into a success as an awards alternative. Bleecker Street, which has shown consistent mid-level success with its older audience oriented fare (“I’ll See You in My Dreams,” “Trumbo”) scores again in a genre not certain to succeed. (IFC opened similar Ethan Hawke vehicle “Good Kill” in two theaters and $17,000 last fall). Like Smith, Mirren adds heft to her films (Judi Dench completes the trio of Dames) and elevated this film which got decent but not highest level critical response. This should get crossover interest nationally ahead.
What comes next: This quickly expands to around 25 more theaters this Friday.
“Hello, My Name Is Doris” (Roadside Attractions) – Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2015
$85,240 in 4 theaters; PTA: $21,310
Roadside Attractions continues to show success opening a range of older audience films outside the core awards season even if they have potential elements (last year “Love and Mercy” and “Mr. Holmes,” both significant successes, though awards shunned, in part because of their early release dates). This allows their films to thrive with less competition and lower marketing costs and a better chance of financial success. In this case, a comedy about an older woman (Sally Field, in a performance getting her acclaim) pursuing a younger man hit its marks quite well in its initial platform runs. The premiered a year ago at South by Southwest and kept a low profile since. Like “Eye in the Sky,” this was positioned to get attention post-awards hooplah, and the efforts paid off with a very promising initial results.
What comes next: Roadside has eschewed platforms of late, but shown an ability to maximize wider runs. This starts its rapid expansion this week, and should compete head to head with “Eye in the Sky” ahead. There is plenty of room for both.
“City of Gold” (IFC) – Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest, San Francisco, Seattle 2015
$64,000 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $16,000
Food, glorious food. The song is from “Oliver,” but the sentiment still applies to this subset of documentaries. Once again, the topic is specialized box office gold, as the focus on the Los Angeles Times food critic scored an impressive initial results more than a year after its Sundance premiere.
What comes next: The top 15 markets will be on board over the next couple weeks, with these numbers suggesting a boutiful harvest beyond.
“Remember” (A24) – Metacritic: 50; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2015; also available on Video of Demand
$20,000 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,000
Atom Egoyan’s somewhat more conventional than usual drama stars Christopher Plummer as a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor pursuing an Auschwitz tormentor who escaped to the U.S. The reviews were mixed, with an under-the-circumstances respectable results in exclusive two-city runs.
What comes next: A24 has the chops these days to deliver national expansions as wide as they find appropriate. With a core audience for the plot and a respected actor as the lead, this should get significant expansion.
“Marguerite” (Cohen) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride 2015
$21,723 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $7,241
This French film, a success at home (actress Catherine Frot won a Cesar for her lead performance), opened to decent critical attention but middling initial response. Its platform theater dates were all top theaters (including the Francophile Paris in Manhattan), but this result once again shows how tough it is to get attention for decent but not highest level reviewed subtitled films. Of note: Meryl Streep plays the same character (a real-life mid century French chanteuse of uneven talent) in an upcoming Stephen Frears film.
What comes next: The next wave of big city openings comes on March 25.
“Lolo” (FilmRise) – Criticwire: B-; Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2015
$3,000 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $3,000
Actress Julie Delpy’s last two outings as a director (“Two Days in Paris,” “Two Days in New York”) had English language crossover appeal. This comedy about a divorced mother dealing with a tricky 19-year old son only got minor attention in its Manhattan debut.
What comes next: Delpy’s name could get this limited further play, but this doesn’t look like it will travel far.
“Creative Control” (Magnolia/Amazon) – Criticwire: B; Metacritic: 58; Festivals include: South by Southwest, Chicago 2015
$(est.) 8,000 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): (est.) $2,667
This Brooklyn-set black and white high tech world story got some 2015 festival play and and major initial support from Landmark Theaters to modest initial results.
What comes next: This will have an expanded theatrical play before Amazon offers it online.
“Love Punjab” (White Hill/India): $(est.) 400,000 in 36 theaters
“Ardaas” (Hot Ice/India): $(est.) 275,000 in 35 theaters
“Knight of Cups” (Broad Green)
$90,135 in 36 theaters (+32); PTA: $2,504; Cumulative: $175,726
Terrence Malick’s latest got a tepid response in its initial expansion. Mediocre or worse reviews dominated in its new dates, despite playing top venues.
“Colliding Dreams” (International Film Circuit)
$22,000 in 14 theaters (+10); PTA: $1,571; Cumulative: $45,140
A multi-city expansion with an emphasis on South Florida showed some interest for this documentary about the conflicting forces within the Zionist movement.
$13,172 in 8 theaters (+5); PTA: $1,647; Cumulative: $39,610
The initial expansion of this hard-hitting expose of women being denied their reproductive rights didn’t reach the level of interest in its initial three-run opening last week.
“Cemetery of Splendor” (Strand)
$(est.) 6,500 in 5 theaters (+3); PTA: $(est.) 1,300; Cumulative: $(est.) 20,000
The Thai Cannes 2015 competitor added Los Angeles this weekend with continued minor response.
“The Other Side of the Door” (20th Century Fox)
$555,000 in 585 theaters (+539); PTA: $949; Cumulative: $2,166,000
Fox added some theaters for this British-Indian supernatural film that got a national, but not typically wide, run last week to modest results. The gross dropped in half with limited theatrical life ahead.
“The Wave” (Magnolia) – also available on Video on Demand
$(est.) 30,000 in 30 theaters (-3); PTA: $(est.) 1000; Cumulative: $(est.) 135,000
Norway’s disaster film Oscar submission continues to mostly be a VOD player as it plays big city theaters for a second week.
“Spotlight” (Open Road) Week 19; also available on Video on Demand
$957,188 in 847 theaters (-380); Cumulative: $43,213,000
This year’s Best Picture has now topped last year’s “Birdman,” as well as improving on its gross two weeks after its win (both films on VOD at this point). It remains the clear leader among wider initially specialized runs at this late date.
“The Lady in the Van” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9
$569,158 in 363 theaters (-66); Cumulative: $8,054,000
Another Grande Dame pushing a film that otherwise likely would have had less success. Maggie Smith’s 180 degree turn from her “Downton” dowager is on a path for a decent $10 million domestic haul.
“The Big Short” (Paramount) Week 14
$300,000 in 222 theaters (-92); Cumulative: $69,822,000
Post-Oscars, the film is still adding gross to its impressive haul.
“Room” (A24) Week 22; also available on Video on Demand
$164,418 in 201 theaters (-364); Cumulative: $14,496,000
Most viewing for the Best Actress winning film is in home venues, with theatrical looking like it will top out around $15 million.
“Brooklyn” (Fox Searchlight) Week 19
$247,000 in 225 theaters (-62); Cumulative: $37,628,000
Fox Searchlight is going deep in the run for this nearly five month release, not yet available for ready home viewing, to add to its theatrical take. It looks to top out around $39 million, making it one of the top specialized releases of 2015.
“Embrace of the Serpent” (Oscilloscope) Week 4
$186,007 in 75 theaters (+52); Cumulative: $524,137
This Colombian Oscar nominee is showing some life as it takes on a big expansion. Its gross this weekend actually exceeds any for “Son of Saul” in any point of its run, and it is doing it without the usual elements that push the few subtitled specialized films that work (related to older audiences). These numbers should lead to further growth and a considerably higher total before it is through.
“Where to Invade Next” (Drafthouse) Week 5
$182,748 in 151 theaters (+1); Cumulative: $3,269,000
Confirming what was noted last week, now that Michael Moore’s doc has pared back to its better theaters, it seems to be finding some success. These aren’t great numbers, but they are holding well enough so that is has a chance to hold on to many of them.
“The Mermaid” (Sony) Week 4
$(est.) 160,000 in 82 theaters (-24); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,153,000
This massive Chinese international hit continues to get domestic attention mostly below the radar (and with Sony still not reporting its numbers in their estimates).
“Son of Saul” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 13
$74,248 in 105 theaters (-75); Cumulative: $1,667,000
The Oscar Foreign Language winner only got a small bump from its win. It will end up with the lowest gross since “In a Better World” five years ago.