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Arthouse Audit: ‘Green Room’ Opens Strong, ‘Sing Street’ Soft

Arthouse Audit: 'Green Room' Opens Strong, 'Sing Street' Soft

Two high-end launches from top distributors showed disparate results. 

A24’s latest foray into the younger-appeal smart niche market met success with well-reviewedGreen Room.” The Weinstein Co. meantime showed lower-than-expected results from “Sing Street,” despite equally strong reviews and theater placement, suggesting Irish director John Carney’s most recent film won’t achieve the success of his earlier musical breakouts.

The stunner is a $25,000 gross of a just-now released 1984 documentary, “Los Sures” (UnionDocs) which opened at a new lower Manhattan theater close to its nearby subject, Brooklyn.

Magnolia also found some initial interest in its multi-city release of fashion and museum-world doc “The First Monday in May.”


“Green Room”
(A24) – Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2015, Sundance 2016$91,00 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $30,333

Jeremy Saulnier’s high-end festival circuit thriller “Green Room” (which played the rare Cannes/Toronto/Sundance trifecta) debuted in three New York/Los Angeles top-end theaters with the highest theater average for any A24 release since “Amy” last summer— including Oscar winner “Room” last fall.

At an estimated just over $30,000, “Green Room” is second among two-city limited openers only to “Midnight Special” (“Everybody Wants Some!!” was wider initially) for 2016 so far. All very positive for this acclaimed genre film clearly aimed at the hard-to-reach younger crowd. The plot involves a punk band stranded in the Pacific Northwest battling a gang of skinheads.

One note of concern: the  uber-violent film dropped 11% Saturday from Friday, unusual for most limited openings but showing a strong initial social media interest among the core young crowd who are more likely to be early attendees. Still this is a strong start for a film which A24 hopes to make a crossover success along the lines of “Ex-Machina” and its impressive $25 million take last spring.

What comes next: A limited expansion this Friday before a wide break on April 29.

“Sing Street”(Weinstein) – Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2016
$68,979 in 5 theaters; PTA : $13,796

Few titles would seem more to be in the Weinstein Company’s sweet spot than this period Dublin story from the director of “Once” and “Begin Again” (which reached over $9 and $16 million respectively, the latter also Weinstein). The results at five top-draw New York/Los Angeles theaters came in below those earlier John Carney films, as well as Irish immigrant tale “Brooklyn” (which opened to $187,000 in five similar theaters). While this is not an awful result (with a 51% jump Saturday from Friday showing both older appeal and some good initial word of mouth), it’s still a disconcerting one.

That’s because the film earned quite good initial reviews. Indeed, other than “Carol,” this has the best critical response of any Weinstein release (including “The Hateful Eight” and “The Imitation Game”) since “Snowpiecer” in June 2014. Weinstein often elevates films with good to just OK reviews to success on a regular basis. Films that are at a higher level they usually maximize.

Why is this disappointing? Carney may have gone to the same well too many times. A familiar feel, a less-than-stellar title and lack of known names in top roles all contributed. Still, Weinstein pushed the usual buttons —Sundance premiere, opening date with elevated New York/Los Angeles media attention, strong reviews, best possible theaters—but still an initial result at the low end of reasonable expectations.

What comes next: Significant expansion to the top 25 markets this weekend, then the usual Weinstein broader commercial push in following weeks.

“Los Sures”(UnionDocs) – Festivals include: New York 1984
$25,100 in 1 theater; PTA : $25,100

This 1984 documentary about the rundown Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg (long before gentrification) would normally be called a revival. But this is actually, 32 years later, its theatrical debut. Apart from its New York Film Festival slot that year and minor non-theatrical limited showings, this is its initial exposure. And what a delayed success it is!

Playing at the just-opened lower Manhattan Metrograph in a 150 seat theater (which sold out most shows, making this gross lower than it could have been), the movie nabbed a stellar initial response and then some. (The theater is further afield than any other area theater, less central than the Film Forum, Angelika or Sunshine, all more mainstream, and for all of whom this would be a great gross.) It’s lower Manhattan location probably helped, as it is closer to the modern-day and transformed borough it depicts. Strong reviews that treated it as a new release helped “Los Sures” become the sleeper of the year so far.

What comes next: Is this a localized success? We’re likely to find out, as these numbers will attract attention elsewhere.

“The First Monday in May” (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 55; Festivals include: Tribeca 2016
$105,000 in 20 theaters; PTA : $5,250

Making the unusual leap from a Wednesday premiere at Tribeca to a multi-city release two days later, the most recent doc from Andrew Rossi (“Page One”), centered on a Chinese fashion show at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, scored a decent result for such an elevated initial presentation. Fashion docs of course have regularly scored, and this boasted the added element of an exotic culture.

What comes next: More cities come on board this week.
“One Last Tango” (Strand) – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Toronto 2015
$7783 in 1 theater; PTA : $7783.

Two legendary Argentine dancers reunite in this documentary that opened at the Angelika in New York to a decent start. Led by a great 61% jump on Saturday, this could garner word of mouth to find some niche interest.

What comes next:This should show up in big cities ahead.

“The Measure of a Man” (Kino Lorber) – Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 75; Festivals include: Cannes, New York 2015
$11,391 in 2 theaters; PTA : $5,696

Another well regarded French film (this one won Best Actor at Cannes last year for veteran actor Vincent Lindon, as well as the Cesar) with decent reviews and appropriate theaters in its New York debut is showing modest initial results. Saturday was about the same as Friday, unusual for an adult-oriented film which would normally get a delayed boost from good Friday critical response.

What comes next: This heads out to top cities over the next few weeks.

“An Eye for Beauty” (Monument) – Metacritic: 37; Festivals include: Toronto 2014, Palm Springs 2015
$(est.) 3,500 in 1 theater; PTA : $(est.) 3,500

Denys Arcand (“The Barbarian Invasions”) has had past success, but this 2014 tale set in the fashion world failed to achieve much interest despite scoring New York’s great Lincoln Plaza Theater.

What comes next: Not much hope for this ahead.

“Revelation: Dawn of Global Government” (Rocky Mountain)
$13,217 in 2 theaters; PTA : $6,609

Another independently produced conservative-based film gets a test run, this time in Houston to respectable results.

What comes next: Rocky Mountain has the history of success to get this open in appropriate theaters before long.

Also available on Video on Demand:

“Colonia” (Screen Media/Toronto 15) – $(est.) 9,000 in 22 theaters

“The Adderal Diaries” 
(A24/Tribeca 15) – $6,000 in 29 theaters)

International openings:

(Cinegalaxy/India) – (est.) $1,400,000 in 282 theaters

“New York, New York”
(China Lion/China) – $43,000 in 16 theaters

Week 2

“The Invitation” (Drafthouse); also available on Video on Demand
$(est.) 40,000 in 17 theaters (+7); PTA: $; Cumulative: $(est.) 131,000

Karyn Kusama’s well-reviewed horror/thriller held well its second weekend with some expansion, all against its main availability on VOD venues.

“Viva Activa” (Zeitgeist) 
$(est.) 11,000 in 1 theater (no change); PTA: $(est.) 11,000; Cumulative: $(est.) 36,000

This doc on writer/philosopher Hannah Arendt held in well in its second weekend at Manhattan’s Film Forum.

“Louder Than Bombs” (The Orchard)
$21,197 in 15 theaters (+11); PTA: $1,413; Cumulative: $56,085

Norwegian Joachim Trier’s first English language film with a strong ensemble cast expanded to the top ten markets to weak results despite decent reviews.

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

“Eye in the Sky” (Bleecker Street) Week 6
$1,562,000 in 891 theaters (-198); Cumulative: $13,120,000

Despite dropping over 40% in gross (with some lesser-performing theaters dropping out), Bleecker Street’s leading spring 2016 specialized release “Eye in the Sky” looks strong enough to get over $17 million before they are through, more than double their previous best result.

“Hello, My Name Is Doris”(Roadside Attractions) Week 6
$795,600 in 650 theaters (-359); Cumulative: $10,923,000

Still finding decent returns despite now losing theaters, Sally Field’s surprise hit rom-com is going to end up as one of the most successful early year releases, showing once again how vital the senior audience is when a film hits their sweet spot.

“Everybody Wants Some!!” (Paramount) Week 3
$430,000 in 134 theaters (+71); Cumulative: $1,531,000

Richard Linklater’s latest is getting an elevated release with full backing from Paramount, but three weeks into the run, it’s falling short. Its gross is about half of what “Eye in the Sky” and “Hello, My Name Is Doris” took in at similar stages, and only a bit more than a fourth of what “Boyhood” did ($1,761,000) when it reached fewer (107) theaters early in its run. This niche film is reaching a mixture of younger and older review-oriented smart viewers, but not enough of either to make this a crossover success.

“Midnight Special”(Warner Bros.) Week 5
$(est.) 430,000 in 512 theaters (+19); Cumulative: $ (est.) 3,155,000

Warners oddly didn’t include any estimate for Jeff Nichols’ most recent (and well reviewed) film, which expanded a bit more to likely its widest level this week. It won’t be around much longer based on the under $1,000 PTA, a far cry from the stellar showing his earlier “Mud” ($21,590,000) reached via Roadside Attractions three years ago,

“Miles Ahead”
(Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$212,049 in 47 theaters (+22); Cumulative: $635,176

Don Cheadle’s passion project biofilm of jazz great Miles Davis continues to do respectable business. Its take is about 75% of what SPC’s successful “Lady in the Van” grossed at a similar theater count, though with a somewhat different audience appeal. This looks capable of further expansion and will likely run into June.

“Born to Be Blue” (IFC) Week 4; also available on Video on Demand
$94,800 in 79 theaters (+32); Cumulative: $544,800

Considering it is also showing on VOD, Ethan Hawke’s turn as Chet Baker continues to do respectable parallel business.
“I Saw the Light” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4
$55.760 in 103 theaters (-445); Cumulative: $1,533,000

Losing more than 80% of its theaters and with a PTA of around $5,000, this Hank WIlliams’ biofilm looks just about done.

“The Lady in the Van” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 14
$50,578 in 71 theaters (-33); Cumulative: $9,743,000

Still hanging around and close enough to $10 million to taste it (though it likely falls just short), this Maggie Smith-starrer accomplished all this with no Oscar nominations.

Also noted:“Marguerite” (Cohen) – $(est.) 45,000 in 37 theaters; cumulative: $(est.) 400,000

(A24) – $9est.) 45,000 in 44 theaters; $(est.) 483,000 (U.S. only)

“City of Gold”
(IFC) – $41,500 in 50 theaters; cumulative: $543,920

“Alice and the Extraordinary World”
(GKids) – (est.) 35,000 in 25 theaters; cumulative: (est.) 137,000

“Embrace of the Serpent”
(Oscilloscope) – $31,000 in 38 theaters; cumulative: $1,221,000

(Music Box) – $28,000 in 7 theaters; cumulative: $91,157

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