Amazon Studios’ strongest platform opener to date, “Suspiria,” leads the continued strong and diverse specialized fall 2018, with “Mid90s” and other recent films finding wider interest. Oddly, the fall box office is not entirely dominated by conventional awards titles–although more are still to come.
The weekend prior to Halloween is often avoided by studios, which opened up opportunities for specialized titles to command more screens than normal. Both “The Hate U Give” (20th Century Fox) and “Mid90s” (A24) placed among the Top Ten this weekend. That exposure helps give them a better chance to find continued interest. “Hate” is especially powerful as it grows a wider audience as it expands.
Suspiria (Amazon) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Venice 2018
$179,806 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $89,903
Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino’s reinvention of Dario Argento’s horror classic scored the best per screen average for the year at two New York/Los Angeles theaters. That’s a strong show of interest for this 152-minute stylish genre film with a mixed critical response. This marks the second strong opening for Guadagnino, whose “Call Me By Your Name” opened a year ago to even better results in its four initial dates. These numbers come in above the per theater numbers for Amazon’s successful “Manchester By the Sea” in 2016, and the company’s second strong opening after “Beautiful Boy” in recent weeks. That’s a consistent result for the company in its first year of distributing its own films under veteran Bob Berney.
Clearly, younger audiences drove attendance at two top theaters in its initial cities which draw general as well as specialized audiences. The film could have significant appeal outside of art houses.
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What comes next: This moves to 250 theaters this Friday.
Border (Neon) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, New York 2018
$71,565 in 7 theaters; PTA: $10,224
This fantastical Swedish mystery opened in six cities with a respectable initial response. A Saturday increase, when older audiences tend to go to movies) suggests the movie has both young and old appeal.
What comes next: A further expansion starts this Friday.
Burning (Well Go) – Metacritic: 90; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto, New York 2018
$28,615 in 2 theaters; PTA: $14,313
This South Korean mystery-drama has drawn excellent initial response from Cannes and fall festivals to its strong New York opening, aided the top reviews of the year (including a rave from New York Times influencer Manohla Dargis). This played initially at two core theaters appealing to foreign-language fans, but there is a built-in Korean audience across the country (served by Well Go), so this could have a double track of appeal as it expands.
What comes next: The next wave of cities open on Nov. 9.
“The Viper Club”
Viper Club (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 56; Festivals include: Toronto, Los Angeles 2018
$14,094 in 3 theaters; PTA: $4,698
Susan Sarandon stars in this story of a mother who decides to take action when her war correspondent son is kidnapped. It opened in three New York/Los Angeles theaters to minimal response.
What comes next: A quick uptick to 25 markets will test additional interest this week.
Monrovia, Indiana (Zipporah) – Metacritic: 80; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto, New York 2018
$6,100 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,100
Frederick Wiseman, the dean of American documentary filmmakers, now in his second half century of theatrical releases, is making close to a film a year in his 80s. His latest — a contemplative view of a rural middle American town — opened with strong reviews at New York’s Film Forum to some interest, but below his equally acclaimed “Ex-Libris” last year.
What comes next: Three news cities as well as several Indiana dates begin the expansion this Friday.
“Weed the People” (Mangurama) – Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018
$4,279 in 1 theater; PTA: $4,279
The weed here is medical marijuana, the virtues of which this documentary extol. This opened in one New York theater with mostly grassroots (pun not intended) marketing.
What comes next: This will have a more calendar and single-date release pattern ahead.
$3,000,000 in 1,206 theaters (+1,204); PTA: $2,488; Cumulative: $3,350,000
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, set in Los Angeles’ 1990s teen skateboarding scene, expanded to over 1,000 theaters its second weekend. The gross was good enough to make the Top Ten, but the per screen average suggests that might have reached the maximum depth, and the 33 percent Saturday drop that this is likely its high point.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight)
$380,000 in 25 theaters (+20); PTA: $15,200; Cumulative: $610,139
Melissa McCarthy’s acclaimed performance as a biographer who turns fraudster had a promising second weekend ahead of its expected much wider release.
$111,274 in 18 theaters (+14); PTA: $6,182; Cumulative: $249,393
Paul Dano’s film about a child in the middle of his parents’ breakup had a modest initial expansion despite featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan as the leads.
“What They Had”
What They Had (Bleecker Street)
$57,764 in 25 theaters (+21); PTA: $2,311; Cumulative: $82,816
This film about adult siblings coping with their older parents’ late-life issues expanded in major cities on its second weekend to modest response despite a strong ensemble cast led by Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon.
The Price of Everything (HBO)
$19,874 in 8 theaters (+7); PTA: $2,484; Cumulative: $46,856
In advance of his cable showing, this documentary about the white-hot art market opened in several new cities with some decent sampling.
Photo Credit: ERIKA DOSS
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)
The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox) Week 4
$5,100,000 in 2,375 theaters (+72); Cumulative: $18,300,000
This weekend’s continued strong performance (the gross fell only about a third) is the best indication yet that this timely drama about the aftermath of police killing has benefited from the careful handling by its studio (not usually involved in specialized niche releases). It placed #7 for the weekend.
The Old Man and the Gun (Fox Searchlight) Week 5
$1,800,000 in 1,042 theaters (+240); Cumulative: $7,214,000
Robert Redford’s late career star turn as a real-life bank robber has now grossed more than his 2013 solo vehicle “All Is Lost.” It now looks to reach around $10 million or over. It came in 11th position overall for the weekend.
Free Solo (Greenwich) Week 5
$1,062,000 in 394 theaters (+143); Cumulative: $5,178,000
Going deeper into mainstream theaters, National Geographic’s documentary about the death-defying Yosemite climb adds another million to its already impressive total.
Beautiful Boy (Amazon) Week 3
$592,897 in 192 theaters (+46); Cumulative: $1,435,000
This story of a troubled family centering on a son’s drug addiction expands with some interest. While it’s not a breakout film at this point, its appeal is more centered on niche specialized audiences.
Colette (Bleecker Street) Week 6
$327,636 in 235 theaters (-285); Cumulative: $4,424,000
Keira Knightley’s portrayal of the French novelist is winding down after a decent specialized run that had some modest crossover appeal.
The Sisters Brothers (Annapurna) Week 6
$271,051 in 774 theaters (-367); Cumulative: $2,742,000
Jacques Audiard’s western with Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly has had a significant theatrical footprint but not a corresponding response. Whatever shows it had this weekend averaged $350.
The Happy Prince (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$80,604 in 71 theaters (+46); Cumulative: $224,239
Tea With the Dames (IFC) Week 6
$80,056 in 73 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $576,452
Four actresses sit down in a garden and talk, with enough appeal that this continues to find some ongoing limited interest.
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11
$78,476 in 82 theaters (-48); Cumulative: $7,608,000
Glenn Close’s long-running Nobel Award-centered drama has nearly tripled the gross of any of SPC’s films since “Call Me By Your Name.”