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Arthouse Audit: ‘For the Love of Spock’ Leads the Pack, Thanks To VOD

Never underestimate the pull of a "Star Trek" movie. Otherwise the specialty action is all in Toronto.

“For the Love of Spock”

As the specialized film industry concentrates on the Toronto International Film Festival, new movies do continue to open around the country.

The leading opener this weekend, Gravitas Ventures’ “For the Love of Spock,” had a strong initial take via Video on Demand home-viewing venues.


“For the Love of Spock” (Gravitas Ventures) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Tribeca 2016; also available on Video on Demand

$42,000 in 34 theaters; PTA: $1,235

The key number isn’t the slight theatrical take. It’s the reported $400,000 initial take on streaming platforms, where it is ranked best among independent and documentary releases. “Star Trek” and Leonard Nimoy fans found the vehicle to connect with for the 50th anniversary of the original TV show’s debut.

What comes next: Expect ongoing interest for this, mostly in home viewing.

Laura Albert, aka JT Leroy

Laura Albert, aka JT Leroy

Daniel Bergeron

“Author: The JT Leroy Story” (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle 2016

$25,000 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $5,000

A disappointing result for this well-received documentary which tells the tale of writer and con artist Laura Albert’s successful literary hoax. Opening with a strong group of theaters in New York, Los Angeles and its subject’s home base of San Francisco , it had a best mediocre results despite strong backing and an initial theatrical-only release from Magnolia, releasing this Amazon acquisition out of Sundance.

What comes next: This will expand to 15+ major cities.

“Demon” (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Toronto 2015, New Directors/New Films 2016

$13,560 in 3 theaters; PTA: $4,520

A modern version of the classic Dybbuk legend (traditionally, an evil spirit of a lover enters the body of his beloved) set in modern Poland, this received excellent reviews and strong theater placement in New York and Los Angeles. But it struggled to get more than a modest initial result, typical of so many acclaimed subtitled films these days.

What comes next: This is set to play in at least 50 cities ahead.

“Come What May” (Cohen) – Metacritic: 46; Festivals include: City of Angels City of Lights, Seattle 2016

$10,656 in 2 theaters; PTA: $5,328

Playing at two ideal New York theaters for French films, this poorly-reviewed French WWII occupation story from the director of “Joyeaux Noel” did nothing special in its debut.

What comes next: Cohen always gets its mostly French films played, but this one doesn’t look like it will get a lot of traction.

“Cameraperson” (Janus) – Metacritic: 88; Festivals include: Sundance, New Directors/New Films, South by Southwest 2016

$12,897 in 1 theater; PTA: $12,897

Kirsten Johnson, a leading documentary cinematographer, created this collection of disconnected footage from her years of work in this acclaimed film. It opened at New York’s IFC Center to an impressive initial number, backed by multiple Q & A screenings.

What comes next: Los Angeles in next on Sept. 23.

“Kicks” (Focus) – Metacritic: 66; Festivals include: Tribeca, Los Angeles 2016

$32,000 in 3 theaters; PTA: $10,667

A missing pair of Air Jordans becomes the quest of some Bay area teens in this drama that opened respectably in New York, Los Angles and Oakland, with an aim at younger African-American audiences in three top theaters.

What comes next: Along with expansions in its current cities, this adds 30 other areas. This has a month long window before VOD play.

Nick Cave in Andrew Dominik's "One More Time with Feeling"

Nick Cave in Andrew Dominik’s “One More Time with Feeling”

“One More Time With Feeling” (Picturehouse) – Metacritic: 91

$(est.) 50,000 in 13 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,846

Director Andrew Dominik’s (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”) behind the scenes film about Nick Cave’s new album showed as a special event on Thursday. The revenues are unreported, but it held at some theaters for a not bad extra gross.

What comes next: Likely to have appeal to fans on multiple platforms ahead.

“Dancer” (IFC)

$7,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $7,000

Opening in one Los Angeles theater with appearances by its Ukraine-born ballet subject, this off the radar (little festival exposure and minor reviews) managed a credible gross to open.

What comes next: Whether this repeats this elsewhere remains to be seen, but once again evidence that creative arts docs remain to get attention.

“Landfill Harmonic” (The Film Collective) – Festivals include: South by Southwest 2016
$4,200 in one theater; PTA: $4,200

Musical instruments created from junk in Paraguay leading to a make-shift orchestra are the subject of this doc, an audience award winner at SxSW. It had a modest gross in its Manhattan debut.

What comes next: This is dated in around 30 markets ahead.

Also available on Video on Demand:

“Ithaca” (Momentum) – $(est.) 6,000 in 11 theaters
“Other People” (Vertical/Sundance 16) – $(est.) 38,000 in 12 theaters
“Transpecos” (Goldwyn/South by Southwest 16) – $(est.) 12,000 in 11 theaters
“Brother Nature” (Goldwyn) – $(est.) 10,000 in 14 theaters

International releases:

“Baar Baar Dekho” (Eros/India) – $(est.) 725,000 in 141 theaters
“Jo Achyutanda” (Vaarahi/India) – $(est.) 350,000 in 86 theaters

Week Two

“No Manches Frida” (Lionsgate)

$2,150,000 in 465 theaters (+103); PTA: $4,624,000; Cumulative: $7,369,000

A very strong second weekend showing for this Mexican comedy, which looks to become the biggest success yet for the Pantelion Films partnership with Lionsgate.

“White Girl” (Film Rise) 3/50

$28,500 in 8 theaters (+5); PTA: $3,563; Cumulative: $78,746

The second week minor expansion of this Sundance 2016 story of a young girl pushing the boundaries had a mixed response after its decent opening last week.

“Max Rose” (Paladin) 1/6

$15,440 in 22 theaters (+21); PTA: $702; Cumulative: $21,497

Jerry Lewis’ possible final movie role expanded quickly to minor results. Further cities come aboard though this Friday.

Hell or High Water

“Hell or High Water”

CBS Films/Lionsgate

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

“Hell or High Water” (Lionsgate) – Week 5

$2,600,000 in 1,445 theaters (+142); Cumulative: $19,824,000

CBS Films will have to wait a day to celebrate passing the $20 million mark, but when they do this will be the first to reach that level this year among initially platformed specialized releases. This Texas-set crime drama has now overtaken “Eye in the Sky” as best of the year among similar releases.

“Southside With You” (Roadside Attractions) – Week 3

$327,850 in 444 theaters (-453); Cumulative: $6,015,000

A big drop in theaters, but this Young Obamas in Love movie has crossed the $6 million mark in its third weekend.

“Don’t Think Twice” (Film Arcade) – Week 8

$319,310 in 175 theaters (+10); Cumulative: $3,525,000

Mike Birbiglia’s improv comedy story continues to add theaters and gross. This success – coming as a theatrical only release after his “Sleepwalk With Me” quickly added VOD – is a positive boost for the traditional model.

“Greater” (Hammond) – Week 3

$(est.) 170,000 in 170 (-5) theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,583,000

This independently made college football biopic hangs on at most theaters with a minor gross.

“Cafe Society” (Lionsgate) – Week 9

$151,000 in 142 (-48) theaters; Cumulative: $10,755,000

Woody Allen’s latest, with a new distribution combo (Lionsgate handling the Amazon release), will pass $11 million, his best over the last three films, but less than a third of “Midnight in Paris” and “Blue Jasmine” a few years back.

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (The Orchard) – Week 12

$96,285 in 86 theaters (+1); Cumulative: $4,774,000

One of the summer’s sleepers still is in play after nearly three months of play as it approaches a possible $5 million total.

“Captain Fantastic” (Bleecker Street) – Week 10

$(est.) 90,000 in 94 (-28) theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 5,485,000

Though not as big as some of their releases, give Bleecker Street in having its fifth $5 million+ release in only 18 months since its debut.

“Equity” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 7

$90,101 in 194 (-27) theaters; Cumulative: $1,465,000

Modest results continue for this high stakes Wall Street drama with a female POV with an under $2 million total likely.

“The Hollars” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 3

$71,362 in 32 (+9) theaters; Cumulative: $270,615

John Krasinski’s dysfunctional family homecoming comedy is making only minor impact in its third weekend.

“A Tale of Love and Darkness” (Focus) – Week 4

$62,000 in 64 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $479,459

Natalie Portman’s Israeli drama is off its peak theater count as it continues its modest run, typical of subtitled films recently.

“Hilary’s America – The Secret History of the Democratic Party” (Quality Flix) – Week 9

$62,000 in 169 (-235) theaters; Cumulative: $13,020,000

The year’s biggest grossing documentary (though this stretches the definition), Dinesh D’Souza’s latest polemic has passed the $13 million mark.

“Indignation” (Roadside Attractions) – Week 7

$61,900 in 59 (-57) theaters; Cumulative: $3,219,000

James Schamus’ adaptation of Philip Roth’s coming of age novel is winding down after a mid-level run with mainly older viewers.

“Little Men” (Magnolia) – Week 6

$(est.) 60,000 in 49 (-10) theaters; Cumulative: $(est.)

Ira Sachs’ latest contemporary New York drama continues its run at a level below his “Love Is Strange” two years ago.

Also noted:

“Mia Madre” (Music Box) – $(est.) 42,000 in 32 theaters; Cumulative: (est.)$184,000
“The People vs. Fritz Bauer” (Cohen) – $40,239 in 22 theaters; Cumulative: $188,780
“Complete Unknown” (IFC) – $38,160 in 53 theaters; Cumulative: $124,480
“Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” (Magnolia) – $(est.) 28,000 in 23 theaters; Cumulative: (est.)
“Howard’s End” (Cohen) (reissue) – $21,480 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $136,222

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