As the Oscar approach, contenders are still dominating the specialized business. The new entry is the annual package of Oscar-nominated shorts. The response this year’s release is the best yet.
Finally opening is last May’s starry Cannes opener “Everybody Knows” (Focus), the latest film from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who went to Spain for his latest domestic drama starring power duo Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. It showed interest in its first two cities as arthouses eagerly anticipate new product as awards titles come to the end of their runs.
2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films (ShortsTV)
$912,000 in 270 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,442
Despite an increase of 72 theaters above its previous high last year, the annual compilation of Oscar short film contenders–animation, live action and documentary show in different packages for separate admissions–maintained the same strong per theater average. The gross was over $200,000 better than last year.
Every year this unlikely specialized release pulls more audiences than many of the top limited entries. Notably, major chains like AMC and Regal elevate this Oscar package even though it will see video on demand availability earlier than normal. (They won’t do the same for Netflix’s “Roma.”)
What comes next: These programs usually sustain three strong weekends; these initial grosses suggest room for growth in theaters alongside video on demand right before the awards.
© Teresa Isasi
Everybody Knows (Focus) – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2018
$75,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $18,750; Cumulative: $75,000
Asghar Farahi has won two Foreign Language Oscars for his Iranian films “A Separation” and “A Salesman.” Earning slightly less positive reviews, this rare subtitled release from Focus Features offers a family mystery carried by Cruz and Bardem. They delivered top theaters in New York and Los Angeles, with respectable results continuing a string of better than usual subtitled releases.
What comes next: This will expand to top cities and Spanish-language targeted theaters ahead.
Lords of Chaos (Gunpowder & Sky) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Sundance 2018
$28,086 in 4 theaters; PTA : $7,022
A year after its Sundance debut as a midnight movie, this European English-language film shot in Norway about a punk band debuted in four theaters. Backed by Alamo Drafthouse marketing in four cities, this delivered a decent initial response to a younger audience, which is tough to lure for specialized titles.
What comes next: Home video on demand starts on 2/22
To Dust (Good Deed) – Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Tribeca 2018
$8,400 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,400
Matthew Broderick as a Hasidic cantor testing the bounds of religious law after his wife’s death opened well at a single New York screen. This is the kind of niche film that could find further interest in communities around the country now that it has shown initial interest.
What comes next: Los Angeles comes on next this Friday.
Arctic (Bleecker Street)
$82,619 in 15 theaters (+11); PTA: $5,508; Cumulative: $149,526
The initial expansion for Mads Mikkelsen trying to survive a plane crash in the far north showed modest results at top theaters.
Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)
Green Book (Universal) Week 13
$3,570,000 in 2,199 theaters (-499); Cumulative: $61,500,000
All systems are still go for Peter Farrelly’s Best Picture Oscar contender. Its gross total is about equal to that of the other seven Best Picture nominees (to be fair, several already have home viewing options). It only fell 18 percent this weekend, with the per theater average close to last weekend’s.
They Shall Not Grow Old (Warner Bros.) Week 5
$1,670,000 in 827 theaters (+92); Cumulative: $13,563,000
What was initially a Fathom single-day special event release now is playing its second weekend of a wider break. Peter Jackson’s restoration of World War I footage is finding a better per theater response than most of the awards contenders at the moment, while playing at more theaters currently than all but a few.
The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 12
$800,000 in 605 theaters (-949); Cumulative: $30,200,000
Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar-contending offbeat regal comedy has added to its totals. This is a film that released outside of awards season might have seen a decent $20 million total. Now it appears to be headed to around $35 million.
On the Basis of Sex (Focus) Week 7
$507,000 in 416 theaters (-501); Cumulative: $23,824,000
Though on the late end of its run, this Justice Ginsberg biopic still is adding to its very impressive total.
Cold War (Amazon) Week 8
$500,879 in 270 theaters (+53); Cumulative: $2,883,000
The awards momentum for Pawel Pawlikowski’s post-war Polish romance continues with its surprise ASC award for its black and white cinematography. The grosses show the advantage Amazon has in access to more theaters than the streaming “Roma” (without home competition). By any standard these are outstanding numbers for a subtitled film, with a real shot at passing $4 million and significantly more.
Stan and Ollie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7
$450,827 in 352 theaters (-402); Cumulative: $4,324,000
This Laurel and Hardy pursuing a comeback drama continues to find interest. It hasn’t been a breakout success, but despite low-level awards response has found a respectable audience reaction.
Free Solo (Greenwich) Week 20
$307,200 in 153 theaters (-330); Cumulative: $15,916,000
The theater/gross fall from last weekend comes from not having the IMAX screens they played for a week. The total continues impressive for this potential Best Feature Documentary winner nearing the end of its fifth month in play.
Tatum Mangus / Annapurna Picture
If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna) Week 9
$274,477 in 266 theaters (-188); Cumulative: $13,770,000
Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed adaptation of James Baldwin’s classic novel has grossed about half of his “Moonlight.” Regina King’s possible supporting Oscar ahead could boost it more.
Roma (Netflix) Week 12
$(est). 175,000 in 125 theaters (+20); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,500,000
Our possibly conservative estimate for Netflix’s non-reported totals includes a strong return to The Landmark in Los Angeles (boosted by an Alfonso Cuaron Q & A on Saturday) and an uptick in theater numbers. The latter suggests grosses strong enough to keep exhibitor interest alive.
Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9
$140,773 in 63 theaters (+16); Cumulative: $734,063
This Foreign-Language Oscar nominee continues to perform at a reasonable level for subtitled films, but below the performance of three of its competitors.
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 17; also streaming
$(est.) 101,000 in 90 theaters (-126); Cumulative: $(est.) 8,545,000
Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant’s Oscar nominations have kept long term interest going.
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 26; also streaming
$100,015 in 99 theaters (-103); Cumulative: $9,101,000
It’s the half-year mark in theaters for Glenn Close’s Best Actress frontrunner. That’s nearly as impressive as its awards presence.
Shoplifters (Magnolia) Week 12
$(est.) 95,000 in 69 theaters (-75); Cumulative: $(est.) 2,965,000
The almost three-month run for this very successful Japanese film is just about $3 million in the lead up to the Oscars.
Destroyer (Annapurna) Week 7
$77,645 in 114 theaters (-91); Cumulative: $1,451,000
Karyn Kusama’s police thriller with a bravura Nicole Kidman never got the traction it deserved and looks to be near the end of its theatrical presence.
Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) – $40,465 in 3 theaters; Cumulative: $109,438
The Invisibles (Greenwich) – $36,000 in 18 theaters; Cumulative: $120,428
Heading Home: A Tale of Team Israel (Menemsha) – $28,358 in 7 theaters; Cumulative: $45,308