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‘Ghost Stories’ Roars at Indie Box Office

Horror is king across the box office spectrum.

“Ghost Stories.”

Courtesy of IFC Midnight. An IFC Midnight release.

Horror rules as wide-release “A Quiet Place” topped the overall box office, while on the indie side, British horror flick “Ghost Stories” (IFC) — also opening on Video on Demand–delivered a surprisingly strong showing. But that fright-fest, along with William Friedkin’s exorcism documentary “The Devil and Father Armouth” (which The Orchard will also stream later this week) won’t go far beyond core arthouses.

On a broader scale, Fox Searchlight continues to expand Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” the standout among 2018 specialized films this year. While Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” (Amazon Studios) isn’t a breakout, strong reviews are boosting its exposure. On its second weekend, Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider” (Sony Pictures Classics) found mixed results, but might have a bigger impact as it reaches more areas.

Opening

Ghost Stories (IFC) – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: London 2017, South by Southwest 2018; also available on Video on Demand

$12,563 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $12,563

While “A Quiet Place” returned to #1 among wide films, another horror film’s exclusive Manhattan run displayed an impressive result. This Brit independent, recently shown at SXSW, features three different stories investigated by a paranormal activity debunker, saw an unexpectedly strong reaction at the IFC Center, while also available on home viewing venues.

What comes next: This will be mainly VOD, although these figures could draw further theatrical interest. Los Angeles and other top cities open this Friday.

Godard Mon Amour

Stacy Martin and Louis Garrel in “Godard Mon Amour

Cohen Media Group

Godard Mon Amour (Cohen) – Metacritic: 55; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2017

$12,646 in 4 theaters; PTA: $3,162

When a biopic on Alfred Hitchcock, as big a legend as there is among directors, failed to reach expected returns a few years ago, it isn’t surprising that another warts and all late 60s portrait of the great Jean-Luc Godard (who at 88 will have his latest film premiere in competition at Cannes next month) isn’t gaining traction. It’s notable that this effort from Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”) landed a domestic release at all. That’s more than “The Search,” which has the dubious distinction of being the only film made by an Oscar-winning director immediately after his victory to go undistributed in the U.S. (it screened in a handful of 2015 festivals). The reviews for this were mediocre, and with Godard largely unknown to current moviegoers (though prominently unseen in the recent “Faces Places”) the initial New York/Los Angeles numbers were minor.

What comes next: The expansion this weekend includes five more markets, with around 50 by May 11.

The Devil and Father Amorth (The Orchard)  – Metacritic: 47; Festivals include: Venice 2017

$10,851 in 8 theaters; PTA: $10,851

William Friedkin’s documenting of an actual exorcism opened (per The Orchard’s website) in 19 cities. Those that reported grosses show minor interest in the film, despite some media attention.

What comes next: Digital availability starts Tuesday, where it likely attracts much more response.

“The Rider”

Sony Pictures Classics

Week Two

The Rider (Sony Pictures Classics)

$78,433 in 9 theaters (+6); PTA: $8,715; Cumulative: $142,768

Chloe Zhoe’s acclaimed portrait of an injured Lakota cowboy struggling to find his role in life added a handful of cities with continued year-best reviews. The results aren’t equal to the critical response, but this story could find heartland appeal.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (Kino Lorber)

$41,812 in 9 theaters (+6); PTA: $8,714; Cumulative: $124,190

This documentary of the iconic performer didn’t quite have the event impact of its initial New York weekend, but is still getting additional interest in Los Angeles and other new dates. A continued expansion this Friday and beyond will add more cities.

Beirut Jon Hamm Rosamund Pike Dean Norris

“Beirut”

Beirut (Bleecker Street)

$1,059,000 in 755 theaters (no change); PTA: $1,402; Cumulative: $3,900,000

Jon Hamm attempting to negotiate for a hostage’s release didn’t collapse its second weekend (it fell only 39 per cent). But it started from a mediocre gross with most of its screens likely to fall to Marvel and “Avengers” this Friday.

"Isle of Dogs"

“Isle of Dogs”

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight) Week 5

$3,400,000 in 1,947 theaters (+8); Cumulative: $24,300,000

Once again, Wes Anderson’s second animated film placed in the overall Top Ten, with a total just below “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” (adjusted) in 2009 over holiday playtime. This looks headed to over $30 million, below Anderson’s recent live-action films, but it’s the early benchmark for the first half of 2018 specialized releases, and far better than anything this time of year in 2017.

You Were Never Really Here (Amazon) Week 3

$551,745 in 183 theaters (+132); Cumulative: $1,228,000

Joaquin Phoenix as a disturbed contract killer seeking to rescue a young girl trapped in a sex slave racket is finding some interest, as Amazon shows the studio’s continued commitment to theatrical releases. Lynne Ramsay’s film isn’t a breakout success — “Isle of Dogs” in its third weekend in 165 theaters took in nearly $3 million by comparison. Still, Amazon was smart to delay this release (it premiered at last year’s Cannes) to a time period where it would stand out with fewer titles in specialized release.

The Death of Stalin (IFC) Week 7

$340,216 in 214 theaters (-116); Cumulative: $6,863,000

Though this political/historical satire came down from its widest theater total, the remaining locations maintained a slightly better average than last week. This should reach a decent $7.5-8 million.

Finding Your Feet (Roadside Attractions) Week 4

$198,870 in 191 theaters (-86); Cumulative: $949,267

Struggling to get much more than $1,000 a theater, this English middle-age romance continues to go after the older audience that has made “The Leisure Seeker” currently a bit more successful.

“Lean on Pete”

Lean On Pete (A24) Week 3

$177,444 in 65 theaters (+47); Cumulative: $347,988

Acclaimed director Andrew Haigh’s (“45 Years”) first American film continues showing modest interest as it expands to more cities. It continues to score interest in core theaters, but has less chance for crossover than Haigh’s earlier film or other A24 successes (“Lady Bird” recently by far their biggest).

The Leisure Seeker (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 15

$184,333 in 183 theaters (-93); Cumulative: $2,711,000

The response remains steady for this Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland seniors on the road story that will hit $3 million before it’s through.

The Final Portrait (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$78,405 in 100 theaters (+48); Cumulative: $299,784

Stanley Tucci’s story of a writer’s relationship with an artist is getting the usual maximum SPC nationwide specialized release, but the results are minimal, with under $800 per theater this weekend.

Also noted:

Itzhak (Greenwich) – $28,710 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $332,572

1945 (Menemsha) – $24,922 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $561,265

Back to Burgundy (Music Box) – $15,905 in theaters; Cumulative: $162,338

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