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Breakout ‘Isle of Dogs’ Dominates Feast or Famine Specialty Box Office

The year's specialty smash is performing at the level of a year-end Oscar contender.

“Outside In”

Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” (Fox Searchlight) showed crossover strength as it widened on its second weekend to more major markets. And “Death of Stalin” (IFC) continues strong on the arthouse circuit.

Both added a much-needed boost to the anemic specialty market. Only three holdovers after their third week grossed over $50,000, including the final dates for Oscar-winner “The Shape of Water.” This marks the lowest numbers in years, and exposes the feast-or-famine nature of the current specialized box office.

The widest new opener, Roadside Attraction’s British senior romance “Finding Your Feet,” drew a mixed response in multiple initial cities.

Of the three new U.S. indies arriving with past festival branding, only Gemini (Neon) has a chance at real theatrical legs;  “Love After Love” (IFC) is already streaming, and “Outside In” (The Orchard) hits SVOD on April 3 before Netflix availability on June 1. The theatrical business is shifting: only a handful of top titles can make a strong impact, leaving home-viewing alternatives the logical choice for most films.

Celia Imrie and Imelda Staunton in “Finding Your Feet”

Courtesy of Roadside Attractions


Finding Your Feet (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 54; Festivals include: Palm Springs 2018

$61,295 in 14 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $4,378

Aimed at older audiences currently attracted to “The Leisure Seeker,” this British comedy focuses an older woman (Imelda Staunton) thrown out of her comfort zone after discovering her husband in the middle of an affair. Her free-wheeling sister (Celia Imrie) tries to loosen her up at a dance class. With a familiar cast including Timothy Spall, Roadside released this in several markets (Florida cities, Phoenix and Los Angeles) to find a receptive older audience. Initial results were modest; it remains to be seen if word of mouth will kick in.

What comes next: This has a planned expansion to around 500 theaters by April 13.

Gemini (Neon) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2017

$34,184 in 4 theaters; PTA: $8,546

The Los Angeles show business murder mystery opens a year after its South by Southwest premiere in two cities to decent reviews and average business. Boosted by Zoe Kravitz and rising young actress Lola Kirke, and backed by Neon in its first release after their major success with “I, Tonya,” this will see a national break and a chance to reach younger audiences.

What comes next: This expands quickly to the rest of the 20 largest markets this week.



Love After Love (IFC) – Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: Tribeca 2017, Palm Springs 2018; also streaming

$11,216 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,216

This feature debut starring Andie McDowell and her family dealing with the aftermath of her husband’s death opened at the IFC Center in New York to a very respectable initial reaction, given its concurrent day-and-date streaming availability.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday, with some other theaters also complementing the streaming ahead.

Outside In (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: Toronto 2017, South by Southwest 2018

$(est.) 10,000 in 7 theaters; PTA: $1,429

Lynn Shelton (“Landline”) returns to the Northwest with her first drama, about a man returning to society after an unfair prison sentence. He’s in love with the one time teacher (Edie Falco) who worked to get him out. Despite upbeat reviews, audiences showed little interest in its initial big city theater dates.

What comes next: Streaming starts on Tuesday.

The Gardener (Gravitas Ventures)

$6,500 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,500

This documentary about a brilliant horticultural achievement at a Quebec estate opened in one New York theater, with a majority of its gross on Friday.

What comes next: Niche non-fiction films about creative cultures can have some niche appeal, so this could find interest elsewhere.

The Great Silence (Film Movement) (reissue)

$7,639 in 1 theater; PTA: $7,639

Sergio Corbucci was a significant force in Italian Westerns in the late 1960s. One of the key efforts outside of the master Sergio Leone, this variation on “The Grapes of Wrath” set in 19th century Utah has farmers thrown off their land banding together to fight terrorizing bounty hunters. A cast including Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski and a classic Ennio Morricone score add to its iconic status. A prominent New York Times review and other press attention boosted its initial response.

What comes next: This will get showings at key other city theaters that focus on top revivals.

"Isle of Dogs"

“Isle of Dogs”

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Week Two

Isle of Dogs (Fox Searchlight)

$2,810,000 in 165 theaters (+138); PTA: $17,030; Cumulative: $5,917,000

Wes Anderson’s second animated film is the biggest specialized success of the year, performing at the level of a year-end Oscar contender. Three waves of expansion will take the movie nationwide on over 1,500 dates by April 13. It’s already notching top grosses at many high-end general audience theaters that are also playing “Ready Player One.” This ongoing interest should hold as it expands further. Anderson’s earlier animated “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” went wide its third weekend with (adjusted) $8.4 million in over 2,000 theaters on its way to $25 million. Searchlight is giving “Isle of Dogs” a somewhat slower roll out, but it should reach that high level for any films released in the first four months of the year in the specialized market.

The Final Portrait (Sony Pictures Classics)

$33,237 in 9 theaters (+6); PTA: $3,693; Cumulative: $70,867

Stanley Tucci’s latest directorial effort stars Geoffrey Rush as the Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti dealing with self-doubts late in his esteemed career. It continues in its second weekend to see minor response.

Ismael's Ghosts

“Ismael’s Ghosts”


Ismael’s Ghosts (Magnolia)

$(est.) 8,500 in 2 theaters (no change); PTA: $(est.) 4,250; Cumulative: $(est). 37,000

Arnaud Despleschin’s ensemble French drama continues at its two Manhattan locations. It fell a bit more than half from its decent initial numbers. Los Angeles adds on this Friday.

Back to Burgundy (Music Box)

$36,180 in theaters (+13); PTA: $2,010; Cumulative: $57,721

Veteran French director Cedric Klapisch’s latest (set in wine country amid family turmoil) expanded in its second week to large cities with modest results similar to most recent subtitled films.

Photo by Nicola Dove, courtesy of IFC Films

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

The Death of Stalin (IFC) Week 4

$1,454,000 in 487 theaters (+386)); Cumulative: $3,918,000

Broadening quickly, Armando Iannucci’s comedy of Soviet insider intrigue continues its decent expansion. It has already outpaced his earlier “In the Loop” which in 2009 didn’t reach $3 million. It will shortly pass “45 Years” as IFC’s biggest performer since “Boyhood.”

The Leisure Seeker (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9

$248,622 in 155 theaters (+38); Cumulative: $1,082,000

This Helen Mirren/Donald Sutherland senior road trip movie is chugging along at a steady if modest rate, now over $1 million.

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Week 18; also streaming

$(est.) 80,000 in 98 theaters (-149); Cumulative: $63,484,000

The near complete totals show the Best Picture winner will end up with an additional $6 million after its wins, with substantially more from [unreported] streaming revenues that started about the same time.

Zoey Deutch in Flower


Full Metal Mullet LLC

Also noted:

Flower (The Orchard) – $48,072 in 102theaters; Cumulative: $278,096

Foxtrot (Sony Pictures Classics) – $47,346 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $342,004

A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Classics) – $46,349 in theaters; Cumulative: $1,804,000

Journey’s End (Good Deed) – $46,200 in theaters; Cumulative: $85,100

Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) – $45,276 in 31 theaters; Cumulative: $: $17,974,000; also streaming

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