This weekend, the entire specialized industry is huddled in Cannes in search of the next big things. On the home front, just three noteworthy films opened, each on a single Manhattan screen. Two of them, the Bryan Cranston-starring “Wakefield” and Steve James’ financial world set documentary “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” showed some life.
Eleanor Coppola’s “Paris Can Wait” had a promising second-weekend expansion, and looks to be the standout over the next month and more. Still, results remain minor after a couple post-awards months led by “Gifted” and “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”
Wakefield (IFC) – Metacritic: 60; Festivals include: Telluride, Toronto 2016
$14,120 in 1 theater: PTA (per theater average): $14,120
Bryan Cranston has become an omnipresent force in TV, Broadway, and features. This film, opening many months after its September festival premieres, “Wakefield” puts him front and center as a Manhattan law partner who zones out of his suburban life to become a passive observer of his family and community. It’s an actor-centered film, with Cranston’s presence elevating it over modest reviews to a decent single-theater gross at New York’s Sunshine Cinema (whose longer-rumored demise next year was confirmed this week as real estate moves overtake a successful theater). It showed some momentum over the weekend, even if it failed to hit the level of other recent platform specialized openers.
What comes next: VOD debuts this Friday, along with initial big city expansion including Los Angeles.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (PBS) – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Toronto, New York 2016
$13,626 in 1 theater; PTA: $13,626
Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Life Itself”) returns with another well-received documentary. The retelling of the story of the sole bank whose executives faced prison time related to the 2008 financial crisis is a PBS production, but it’s getting a theatrical release before its presentation there this September. This started at New York’s IFC Center with a strong result, particularly in context of its subject matter. Despite his acclaim, James has yet to receive an Oscar nomination. This presentation might help his cause, but in the meantime it also initially has real traction among paying customers.
What comes next: Los Angeles and the Bay area open on June 9, with other cities the following week.
Afterimage (Film Movement) Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Toronto, Chicago 2016, Seattle 2017
$(est.) 3,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 3,500
Polish master Andrzej Wajda’s final film brought him back to his roots portraying the mid-century struggle in his country. His focus here is a painter struggling with post-war Stalinist reality. The single-theater Manhattan date, despite positive reviews, had a minor response.
What comes next: Los Angeles is next this Friday.
The Commune (Magnolia) Metacritic: 60; Festivals include: Berlin, Toronto 2016; also available on Video on Demand
$(est.) 9,000 in 7 theaters; PTA: (est.) 1,286
Danish director Thomas Vinterberg returns to his homeland after his bigger budget “Far from the Madding Crowd” with this 1970s set semi-autobiographical tale about a couple who to preserve their large home invite a motley group of people to share their estate. Though subtitled it went on VOD immediately, making these initial dates more of a marketing ploy than an anticipated theatrical success.
What comes next: Mostly VOD ahead.
Maurice (Cohen) (reissue)
$6,013 in 1 theaters; PTA: $6,013
James Ivory’s other E.M. Forster adaptation (after “A Room With a View”) gets the reissue treatment with an adequate opening in Manhattan.
What comes next: Expect big-city calendar and other limit dates similar to other revivals.
“Paris Can Wait”
Paris Can Wait (Sony Pictures Classics)
$203,633 in 23 theaters (+19); PTA: $8,854; Cumulative: $334,215
These were encouraging second weekend results for Eleanor Coppola’s middle-age romance French road trip story with Diane Lane. which seems to be hitting the core adult audiences that have turned several other films into successes. With not much else in the last couple weeks opening, the path looks clear to further positive response.
The Wall (Roadside Attractions)
$321,050 in 524 theaters (-16); PTA: $612; Cumulative: $1,579,000
Doug Liman’s Iraq sniper drama, produced by Amazon Studios, is not finding traction in its mid-level release; it looks to fall short of hoped-for Memorial Day interest.
Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe (First Run)
$(est.) 11,000 in 4 theaters (+3); PTA: $(est.) 2,750; Cumulative: $(est.) 30,000
Modest results with Los Angeles added for the biopic about the prominent exiled German author.
The Wedding Plan (Roadside Attractions)
$172,975 in 54 theaters (+46); PTA: $3,210; Cumulative: $218,969
A quick expansion for this Israeli comedy/drama set in an Orthodox community led to enough interest that, combined with good word of mouth, could make it one of the best subtitled releases of recent months.
Manifesto (Film Rise)
$(est.) 7,500 in 1 theater (no change); PTA: $(est.) 7,500; Cumulative: $(est.) 25,500
Cate Blanchett’s multi-character one person show continues at New York’s Film Forum to ongoing interest. Los Angeles adds on this week.
The Last Shaman (Abramorama) 9 in 1
$2,175 in 3 theaters (+2); PTA: $725; Cumulative: $9,269
Los Angeles added to the dates for this documentary about a troubled young man who searches for spiritual growth in exotic locales. It had only minor response.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)
Gifted (Fox Searchlight) Week 7
$765,000 in 824 theaters (-602); Cumulative: $22,899,000
Winding down after a successful run, “Gifted” has provided Fox Searchlight with its biggest success in 18 months and has grossed as much as their last five releases combined — including Oscar contender “Jackie.”
Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6
$620,924 in 373 theaters (+220); Cumulative: $2,328,000
A typical slow but steady SPC release with ongoing positive results. This has become their widest initially limited release in over a year, with the chance of hitting their best gross since “The Lady in the Van” early last year.
The Lovers (A24) Week 3
$300,417 in 105 theaters (+82); Cumulative: $554,862
Debra Winger’s return to leading roles in this marital drama had a major expansion this weekend with adequate returns. It appears to be more of a niche than crossover release, but it also is positioned as other recent releases end their runs to continue to grow.
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus) Week 8
$234,460 in 275 theaters (-150); Cumulative: $16,842,000
Focus has maximized this most recent Holocaust-related story into a crossover success. It will fall short of “Eye in the Sky,” last spring’s top specialized release, and also below the wider-release of the more general-interest “Gifted.” But it has been a standout for Focus, with grosses higher than several of their recent-year Oscar contenders.
A Quiet Passion (Music Box) Week 6
$202,837 in 130 theaters (+12); Cumulative: $1,081,000
The steady release of this Emily Dickinson biopic continues to add to its decent returns so far. This isn’t a breakout success, but among core art houses it has ongoing appeal.
The Lost City of Z (Bleecker Street) Week 6
$186,679 in 217 theaters (-280); Cumulative: $8,006,000
Charlie Hunnam’s other current release (along with “King Arthur”) has now become Bleecker Street’s second-biggest grosser in their just-over two year history.
Their Finest (STX) Week 7
$150,000 in 160 theaters (-98); Cumulative: $3,180,000
In a market crowded with crossover adult oriented releases, this London-set World War II drama made modest impact, but never quite broke out as hoped.
Chuck (IFC) Week 3
$94,486 in 120 theaters (+81); Cumulative: $136,545
Liev Schreiber’s turn as blue collar-boxer and “Rocky” prototype Chuck Wepner showed little interest as it tripled its theaters this week.
Colossal (Neon) Week 7
$78,173 in 105 theaters (-60); Cumulative: $2,868,000
Good enough to gain further interest as genre/cult entry, Anne Hathaway as a party girl connected to a giant creature in Seoul winds down its run as new distributor Neon’s initial foray.
Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (IFC) Week 5; also available on Video on Demand
$53,610 in 20 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $212,571
This documentary about a New York urban planner who transformed the city decades ago continues to gain nationwide interest alongside its home viewing availability.
The Dinner (The Orchard) – $37,680 in 91 theaters; Cumulative: $1,279,000
Graduation (IFC) – $15,643 in 7 theaters; Cumulative: $163,773
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (The Orchard) – $15,615 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $163,698
Risk (Neon) – $11,096 in 12 theaters; Cumulative: $170,986 – also available on Video on Demand
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (Abramorama) – $9,835 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $220,517