In a rickety specialty market, A24’s Cannes 2018 film noir “Under the Silver Lake,” starring Andrew Garfield, delivered the best opener, beating out “Red Joan” (IFC), the latest from reliable Judi Dench, which opened far below her usual results. Several other indie titles (five from women directors) debuted to varying initial interest. And on its second weekend, moviegoers ignored “Teen Spirit” (Bleecker Street), starring Elle Fanning, as it moved into several hundred nearly empty venues.
On the other hand, many arthouse patrons checked out high-end Chinese drama “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” (Kino Lorber), which includes a lengthy 3D sequence that impressed critics and audiences alike. The film is now playing Los Angeles as well as New York.
Under the Silver Lake (A24) – Metacritic: 59; Festivals include: Cannes 2018
$40,157 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $20,079
David Robert Mitchell’s long-delayed Los Angeles neo-noir opened in two top theaters in New York and Los Angeles nearly a year after its tarnished Cannes competition premiere. (A24 pushed the film out of 2018 release to give the filmmaker time for a polish, but he stuck with his original cut.) The high-profile title drew moviegoers despite mixed reviews, thanks to a snazzy young cast led by Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough.
What comes next: As a sign of the flexibility companies like A24 utilize for films with wider interest but no guarantee of theatrical crossover interest, this will have VOD availability starting Tuesday before it expands in theaters next Friday.
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Red Joan (IFC) – Metacritic: 45; Festivals include: Toronto 2018
$40,631 in 4 theaters; PTA: $10,158
In recent years, awards perennial Judi Dench’s vehicles have opened to a PTA of $30-40,000 or more. This one, her first since “Victoria and Abdul” almost two years ago, did far less. While she stars as an unlikely Soviet spy imbedded in British intelligence, mediocre reviews took their toll. These numbers and Dench’s marquee value could justify wider interest.
What comes next: The expansion starts this Friday.
Hail, Satan? (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 77; Festivals include: Sundance 2019
$25,700 in 3 theaters; PTA: $8,567
This Sundance documentary pickup with an offbeat religious angle opened for Easter in New York (last Wednesday) and Los Angeles. With high-end theater placement, it scored some interest along with positive reviews.
What comes next: More cities will launch its national run this Friday.
Family (The Film Arcade) – Metacritic: 59; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018
$20,400 in 3 theaters; PTA: $6,800
This comedy about a young career woman (Taylor Schilling) babysitting her troubled tween niece pulled mixed reviews and major support from AMC in New York and Los Angeles (including the Lincoln Square Theater). The results are middling, but good enough to encourage national play this week.
What comes next: This will play up to 30 markets this Friday.
Little Woods (Neon) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Tribeca 2018
$66,416 in 33 theaters; PTA: $2,013
Nia DaCosta’s topical indie film – crime story set in North Dakota with themes including core concerns about access to medical care – opened across the country in top markets with partners including Planned Parenthood. The results were uneven, but impressively it took the #1 spot at New York’s key Angelika.
What comes next: This will add new cities ahead.
Fast Color (Lionsgate) – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018
$37,500 in 25 theaters; PTA: $1,500
African-American label Codeblack and Lionsgate announced an end to their partnership in January, which probably didn’t help the release of their SXSW 2018 dystopian sci-fi pickup starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman whose family boasts special powers. The results of their multi-city hybrid release targeting both specialty and African-American audiences fell flat. In Los Angeles, the film was sparsely attended at the Arclight Sherman Oaks and Cinemark Baldwin Hills.
What comes next: These figures won’t encourage further expansion. Expect this to swiftly move to other platforms.
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (Zeitgeist) – Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, New York 2018
$3,801 in 1 theaters; PTA: $3,801; Cumulative: $3,801
The pioneer woman director finally gets her due in this well-reviewed documentary. After an award-qualifying week last December, this reopened in Los Angeles with some niche interest.
What comes next: This scored a key date at New York’s IFC Center this week as it expands further, including festival and repertory dates.
Teen Spirit (Bleecker Street)
$250,536 in 696 theaters (+692); PTA: $360; Cumultative: $305,356
Elle Fanning as an aspiring singer in Max Minghella’s film expanded nationally. The results were minimal, with a $360 PTA. This is a major let down from its initial performance.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Kino Lorber) 3-81
$48,430 in 7 theaters (+4); PTA: $6,919; Cumultative: $129,888
With 3D screens including the Landmark leading the way, Bi Gan’s dream-like backwater Chinese city story continues its initial impressive performance. With reviews so far as good as any 2019 release, and acclaim for its mesmerizing 59-minute single 3D shot, this is performing far better than most similar high-end subtitled releases.
Her Smell (Gunpowder & Sky)
$68,735 in 24 theaters (+21); PTA: $2,864; Cumultative: $117,577
Elizabeth Moss’ bravura performance in Alex Ross Perry’s drama continues to gain interest as it goes wider. How the film holds next weekend will be key, but so far it has shown enough interest to anticipate more arthouse interest.
Mine 9 (Levey)
$69,000 in 29 theaters (+6); PTA: $2,379; Cumulative: $151,850
With a small expansion focused on coal-mining communities, this independent release looks to hold up close to initial figures. This is an impressive result showing success from grassroots marketing without the benefit of big-city attention. Expect this to eventually widen to non-mining regions.
Wild Nights With Emily (Greenwich)
$67,762 in 33 theaters (+30); PTA: $2,053; Cumulative: $106,551
Emily Dickinson is becoming the Vincent van Gogh of poets, at least in terms of multiple biofilm interest. This one focuses on her private life and her female lover, with Molly Shannon in the lead role. The second weekend built on its decent opening, with further national expansion ahead.
Mary Magdalene (IFC) – also available on Video on Demand
$35,382 in 38 theaters (-24); PTA: $931; Cumulative: $114,280
Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix are the stars in this Easter-related film, which is getting its primary attention via home viewing.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)
Amazing Grace (Neon) – Week 5
$591,642 in 188 theaters (+130); Cumulative: $1,336,000
Easter weekend would seem to be the ideal time to see Aretha Franklin’s 1972 church concert and Gospel album recording session. The documentary made a substantial expansion, and continues to get a positive response, with both the best gross and highest per theater average among wider release specialized titles.
Mustang (Focus) – Week 6
$533,000 in 487 theaters (-40); Cumulative: $4,032,000
Prisoners working with horses in mutual rehabilitation continues to get a positive response. It looks like Focus could get this close to a respectable $5.5 million total.
Hotel Mumbai (Bleecker Street) – Week 5
$494,504 in 314 theaters (-303); Cumulative: $8,940,000
With an aggressive early expansion, this recreation of the Indian terror attack starring Dev Patel has taken over as the top-grossing 2019 initial specialized release.
High Life (A24) – Week 3
$292,000 in 146 theaters (+114); Cumulative: $688,621
Claire Denis’ high-profile science fiction film with Robert Pattinson continues to expand, but it is not headed for significant crossover success. But it will end up as the acclaimed director’s biggest domestic grosser since her break out African-set “Chocolat” 30 years ago.
Apollo 11 (Neon) – Week 8
$110,000 in 101 theaters (-25); Cumulative: $8,484,000
The year’s by far biggest-grossing documentary release trails only “Hotel Mumbai” among all specialized titles — but at its widest break, it played in 300 fewer theaters.
The Chaperone (PBS) – Week 4
$86,420 in 55 theaters (+21); Cumulative: $222,854
This silent movie world biopic from PBS, from the creators of “Downton Abbey,” expands further to modest results.
Gloria Bell (A24) – Week 7
$76,000 in 100 theaters (-68); Cumulative: $5,486,000
One of only three initially limited specialized openers to pass the $5 million mark, this Julianne Moore-starring remake of a recent Chilean arthouse success is finishing up its decent run.
Diane (IFC) – Week 4; also available on Video on Demand
$53,184 in 59 theaters (-5); Cumulative: $272,128
Mary Kay Place’s performance in a strong ensemble of veterans in Kent Jones’ small town-set drama is playing in an impressive number of theaters along with its VOD availability.
The Aftermath (Fox Searchlight) – Week 6
$53,000 in 85 theaters (-149); Cumulative: $1,565,000
The remaining theaters for this Keira Knightley post-war drama added some late business for this below-average release for the usually strong Fox Searchlight.
Peterloo (Amazon) – $38,065 in 92 theaters; Cumulative: $117,936
Transit (Music Box) – $24,711 in 29 theaters; Cumulative: $729,936
Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) – $18,375 in theaters; Cumulative: $1,230,000