The arthouse world is thriving, with multiple awards contenders amassing the best pre-Oscar nomination numbers in recent memory. (This weekend’s limited openers are also available on VOD.)
Multiple recent releases are scoring well in wider breaks. December platform launches “La La Land,” and “Manchester By the Sea” are all in the Top Ten, while laggard “A Monster Calls” also expanded, to far lesser results. (Check later analysis of how these films have sprung from initial platforms to wider runs in Top Ten Takeaways).,” “
Several holiday openers have yet to widen. Sony Pictures Classics’ Oscar Foreign Language contender “Toni Erdmann” fell only a bit in its three initial runs, while Ben Affleck’s “Live By Night” (Warner Bros.) is flailing in four theaters in advance of its wide national break this Friday.
Railroad Tigers (Well Go USA/China) – $(est.) 110,000 in 42 theaters
Twentieth Century Women (A24)
$142,824 in 10 theaters (+6); PTA (per theater average): $14,282; Cumulative: $395,412
Mike Mills’ showcase for Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig added outlying theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Its numbers are better than “45 Years,” which widened post-holiday to nine theaters and $77,000 on the way to a Best Actress nomination boost to $4.5 million. A24 hopes for the same ahead for Bening, plus similarly strong reviews to boost it in upcoming new openings.
Paterson (Bleecker Street)
$70,268 in 7 theaters (+3); PTA: $10,038; Cumulative: $221,960
Jim Jarmusch’s strongly reviewed Adam Driver bus driver character study added a handful of cities. It continues to get some interest but is not yet measuring up to its acclaim. Its initial theaters held well from their modest initial results.
Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)
Lion (Weinstein) Week 7
$2,021,000 in 600 theaters (+75); Cumulative: $9,814,000
Weinstein’s gamble on word of mouth propelling their adopted adult son searching for his Indian mother story is working. With a small increase in theaters, the gross fell a tiny ten per cent. In 600 locations, it placed #12 for the weekend. The numbers are better than “Moonlight” with a similar theater count as well as their own “Carol” a year ago. It could still see some award boost, but seems to have enough traction to grow more without it.
Jackie (Fox Searchlight) Week 6
$1,000,000 in 353 theaters (-6); Cumulative: $9,197,000
Pablo Larrain’s First Lady biopic didn’t hold as well as “Lion,” but is doing decent business in advance of its awards-timed expansion. This will be Fox Searchlight’s biggest grosser since “Brooklyn” last year, and has a chance for a Best Actress nod for Natalie Portman.
Silence (Paramount) Week 3
$480,000 in 51 theaters (+47); Cumulative: $862,000
Just as in its initial New York/Los Angeles dates, Martin Scorsese’s Japanese missionary epic is doing respectable if not spectacular business. Propelled by strong support from Paramount and the hope of Oscar nominations ahead (not guaranteed) as well as the director’s strong fan base and some interest for its religious theme, this is getting a response that would be decent for most specialized films. Whether it is enough to propel it ahead as it expands wider next weekend nationally remains to be seen, but it is getting attention. A recent comparison among highbrow serious drama expansions is “Manchester By the Sea,” which grossed $1,225,000 when it expanded to 48 theaters, helped by Thanksgiving weekend placement.
Moonlight (A24) Week 12
$358,225 in 135 theaters (-2); Cumulative: $13,262,000
The gross for this top awards contender actually went up this weekend with about the same theater count. That suggests as it nears the end of three months in play, but not yet playing wide, Barry Jenkins’ coming of age drama has considerable life in it with near-term strong attention ahead and its greatest exposure still to come.
The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10
$113,297 in 94 theaters (-19); Cumulative: $2,460,000
The shortlisted Oscar documentary contender continues its impressive lengthy run and one of the top totals among the genre for recent releases.
Julieta (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$107,968 in 17 theaters (+10); Cumulative: $353,788
Pedro Almodovar’s latest expanded, with the results continuing to show the ongoing weakness of subtitled releases. The grosses are down from his two most recent efforts “I’m So Excited” and “The Skin I Live In” in similar theater counts (about half of “Skin,” the better of those two).
Patriots Day (Lionsgate) Week 3
$105,000 in 7 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $870,000
A decent hold in its initial three city platform run for Peter Berg’s Boston Marathon bombing retelling. This goes wide this Friday, with a chance at a $20 million-plus total.
Nocturnal Animals (Focus) Week 8
$88,760 in 73 theaters (-85); Cumulative: $10,429,000
Tom Ford’s sophisticated thriller holds on at a small number of theaters, with it likely nearing the end of its run.
Elle (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9
$50,492 in 36 theaters (+1); Cumulative: $1,018,000
Isabelle Huppert keeps winning Best Actress awards in advance of her hoped for Oscar nod, with Paul Verhoeven’s film staying in place primed to expand if that happens.
Loving (Focus) – $46,330 in 65 theaters; Cumulative: $7,591,000
Toni Erdmann (Sony Pictures Classics) – $34,737 in 3 theaters; Cumulative: $161,128
Neruda (The Orchard) – $32,183 in 4 theaters; Cumulative: $203,522
Live By Night (Warner Bros.) – $28,124 in 4 theaters; Cumulative: $170,000