As the specialized world begins to move past a rich diet of awards contenders — still providing the bulk of the gross — films from established directors opened in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, led by British auteur Sally Potter’s “The Party” (Roadside Attractions). Mark Pellington’s “Nostalgia” (Bleecker Street), with a similar strong ensemble cast, succumbed to weak reviews.
Russian foreign-language Oscar nominee “The Loveless” (Sony Pictures Classics) opened well for a subtitled release in two cities. While Francois Ozon’s sexy “Double Love” (Cohen Media) got off to a big-city national start during the week, the result is at the low end of the French director’s films.
With all the hype on the stronger-than-average results among this year’s Oscar nominees, comic book movie “Black Panther” in its first three days totaled more than the grosses for the entire runs of even top Best Picture nominees “Dunkirk” and “Get Out.” That’s where the money is, even with decent returns for most of the contenders. Unfortunately, outstanding reviews for the Marvel entry squashed the weekend results for more limited films.
The Party (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Berlin, Mill Valley 2017
$36,344 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $12,111
English pioneer Sally Potter directed her first feature nearly 35 years ago; she has yet to exceed the heights of her 1993 Sundance breakout “Orlando” starring Tilda Swinton, which yielded the equivalent of almost $12 million. This black-and-white 71 minute drawing room ensemble assembles a group of friends to celebrate the major political appointment of a woman (Kristin Scott Thomas) in the British government. But disconcerting news about her husband (Timothy Spall) changes the tone of the soiree. Her strong cast, including Patricia Clarkson and Emily Mortimer, likely elevated results.
The gross falls below 2013’s “Ginger and Rosa,” starring Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks and Alessandro Nivola, which A24 opened to $43,000, also in three theaters.
What comes next: Additional major cities open this Friday.
Loveless (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 88; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto 2017
$30,950 in 3 theaters; PTA: $10,317
The last of the Oscar foreign language releases to open for a regular run, Russian Alexey Zvyagintsev’s latest launched a bit above competitor “The Insult” ($8,000 PTA in three theaters) but below “A Fantastic Woman” and “The Square” in similar initial New York/Los Angeles dates. (Nominee “On Body and Soul” opened on Netflix). The total in three theaters is the same as the director’s earlier nominee “Leviathan” had in one less initial venue.
What comes next: three other major markets by Oscar weekend
Double Lover (Cohen) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Cannes 2017, Santa Barbara 2018
$69,176 in 48 theaters; PTA: $; Cumulative: $88,210
Unusually for a French director these days, Francois Ozon has released at least 15 consecutive films in the U.S. since 2000. That puts him in a category with such non-English language directors as Pedro Almodovar. This romantic drama, like many of his films, has a sexual edge (a woman involved with twin therapist brothers). Cohen launched the film in multiple cities on Wednesday (Valentine’s Day) to minor response.
What comes next: This should open in other cities, but looks like it will be one of the director’s lesser performers.
Nostalgia (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 45; Festivals include: Palm Springs 2018
$20,667 in 3 theaters; PTA: $6,889
Another strong ensemble cast (Jon Hamm, Ellen Burstyn, Catherine Kenner, and Bruce Dern included) could not help this drama about the role of mementos and long-held belongings overcome mostly negative reviews in its New York/Los Angeles top theater initial dates.
What comes next: With its cast and Bleecker Street’s access to top theaters, this will see big city national dates ahead.
Western (Cinema Guild) – Metacritic: 77; Festivals include: Cannes, New York 2017
$(est.) 6,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $(est.) 6,500
German workers at a Bulgarian construction site face culture clash issues in this well-reviewed drama that opened to decent results at a small screen at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center.
What comes next: This looks like a mostly niche theater entry for upcoming limited screenings.
The Boy Downstairs (Film Rise) – Metacritic: 58
$6,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,000
This remeet cute romantic comedy (exes find themselves renting in the same Brooklyn apartment building) managed to get a sampling near home turf in its exclusive run at a lower Manhattan theater.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday.
Monster Hunt 2 (Lionsgate)
$335,000 in 69 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 5,650
Detective Chinatown 2 (Warner Bros.)
$677,000 in 115 theaters; PTA: $5,889
Monkey King 3 (Well Go)
$(est.) 90,000 in 34 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 2,647
The placing of three Chinese-made general audience releases the same week is a rarity related to the global New Year celebration that is underway. The first two were just released in China, with “Monkey King 3” only a week ago. (This time of the year in China is reserved exclusively for home-made titles, which explains why there’s no “Black Panther” yet in the world’s second-largest market.)
All three are sequels, as China is learning from U.S. studios. Two of the three are being released by U.S. majors as part of their interest in developing relations with the powerhouse country.
Wanda Pictures’ “Monster Hunt 2,” from the company which owns the largest North American exhibitor AMC, this weekend on opening day in China took in $97 million– $20-million more than “Black Panther”‘s opening day ($76 million) in North America this weekend.
Opening wider in the U.S., “Detective Chinatown 2” had a stronger result in U.S./Canada (both in total but also per theater average), likely because of its New York Chinatown setting.
The approximately $1.2 million total for around 200 dates, at the same time, is an impressive result for these films. They haven’t remotely broken out to wider audiences, but continue to provide additional income for select theaters in the right areas.
The 2018 Oscar Nominated Shorts (Magnolia) 198-1067
$(est.) 520,000 in 198 theaters (no change); PTA: $(est.) 2,626; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,287,000
With two more weekends left until Oscar night, this three-program collection of short film nominees looks on track to gross at least the usual $2.8 million or so seen in previous years.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)
The Post (20th Century Fox) Week 9
$1,965,000 in 1,050 theaters (-815); Cumulative: $76,574,000
Steven Spielberg’s latest is now the top-grossing among his three films since “Lincoln,” leading among nominees in current weekend’s gross and headed for an $80 million-plus total.
The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Week 12
$1,665,000 in 957 theaters (-853); Cumulative: $53,244,000
Falling like most of its awards rivals (as it sheds theaters now that the nomination surge has subsided), Guillermo del Toro’s science-fiction romance still looks headed for a $60 million or better total.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight) Week 15 (also streaming)
$1,500,000 in 780 theaters (-493); Cumulative: $47,970,000
The per theater average here actually looks to have gone up slightly in remaining theaters despite adding streaming this week. Fox Searchlight looks likely to end up with two $50 million-plus grossing domestic titles in a single year for the first time in its history.
Darkest Hour (Focus) Week 13 (also streaming)
$895,000 in 602 theaters (-443); Cumulative: $53,342,000
Holding on to its very impressive position as top grossing initially limited 2017 release (“The Shape of Water” will overtake it imminently), the gross here actually is similarly impressive now that it has alternate home viewing possible.
I, Tonya (Neon) Week 11
$877,347 in 502 theaters (-586); Cumulative: $26,981,000
The remaining theaters for this Winter Olympics-centered biopic stay steady with the two acting category nominee looking likely to pass the $30 million mark.
Phantom Thread (Focus) Week 8
$680,000 in 335 theaters (-203); Cumulative: $17,822,000
Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1950s London fashion designer story remains a more niche item than most other top contenders this year, with its ultimate total looking to reach a little over $20 million.
Lady Bird (A24) Week 16 (also streaming)
$605,728 in 407 theaters (-244); Cumulative: $46,394,000
Still in theaters late in its fourth month, and still adding gross despite now available at home.
Call Me By My Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 13
$519,028 in 332 theaters (-123); Cumulative: $14,888,000
The countdown to the Oscars is keeping this high-end nominee steady (its modest per theater average remains about the same). This looks on target to end up close to $18 million, lowest among the Best Picture nominees.
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8
$124,520 in 107 theaters (+68); Cumulative: $547,974
Annette Bening’s strong term as actress Gloria Graham continues to struggle to get much attention despite the lack of much other new specialized competition.
A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$86,419 in 29 theaters (+9); Cumulative: $360,620
SPC’s other Foreign Language Oscar entry is grossing about the same as its competitor “The Insult” when the latter was at the same number of theaters.
The Insult (Cohen) Week 5
$82,449 in 43 (-6) theaters; Cumulative: $584,339
Lebanon’s entry in the Oscar race is getting some national play, with the nomination raising it to a higher level than most subtitled releases.
1945 (Menemsha) – $33,512 in theaters; Cumulative: $312,944
Faces Places (Cohen) – $10,081 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $842,137