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‘Waves’ Makes Box Office Splash as Amazon and Netflix Stay Quiet

Amazon has joined the no box-office numbers club with "The Report."



As Oscar contender “Ford v Ferrari” (20th Century Fox) opened well to adults around the country, A24 launched its own claim for awards consideration for specialty family drama “Waves,” starring Emmy-winner Sterling K. Brown. Of course, the point is to get audiences interested so the film can build.

Amazon opened CIA drama “The Report,” starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening, across the country two weeks ahead of its Prime access–and like Netflix, will no longer report grosses. This only makes more work for the box-office analysts who try to gauge how films like Netflix’s “The  Irishman” and “Marriage Story” are performing in limited release.

Meanwhile, established successes like “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight) and “Parasite” (Neon) continue to thrive in increasingly wide play.

The two best-reviewed films of the week, the Senegalese Oscar entry and Cannes prize-winner “Atlantics” and the French animated “I Lost My Body,” were released in a few theaters ahead of their Netflix debuts, with zero indication of their performance.


Waves (A24) –  Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Telluride 2019, Toronto 2019

$144,562 in theaters; PTA: $36,141

Trey Edward Shults’ acclaimed Florida family drama, with strong festival response and excellent reviews, debuted at four top New York/Los Angeles theaters to decent results. Though not backed by movie stars or a high-concept hook, “Waves” started decently for what should be a respectable word-of-mouth run. Though not close to the level of A24’s somewhat similar “Moonlight” (which had an initial PTA of over $100,000) which opened in a less competitive time frame, “Waves” still compares well to other films that went on to success. For example, “Green Book” last year in these two cities managed a PTA of around $25,000 –later growing into a major success based on audience appeal. And this has much better reviews.

What comes next: The timing of the release shows A24’s faith in its future, including awards chances, especially for TV star Brown. This will expand slowly, with the expectation of a strong presence over Christmas and the intense nomination and awards period.

Anette Benning appears in The Report by Scott Z. Burns, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Atsushi Nishijima.All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

“The Report”

Atsushi Nishijima

The Report (Amazon) –  Metacritic: 67; Festivals include: Sundance, Telluride, Toronto 2019

$(est.) 150,000 in 84 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,785

Amazon has now joined Netflix in not reporting grosses ahead of short-term streaming of their limited releases. Scott Z. Burns’ political expose opened in major markets across the country. Like Netflix, these showings seem to be designed for reviews and press exposure more than gross. The response, so far as we can determine, are under the usual Netflix performance.

What comes next: Expect Amazon to have more releases like this along the Netflix model.

Everybody’s Everything (Gunpowder & Sky) –  Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2019

$61,281 in 29 theaters; PTA: $2,113; Cumulative: $455,807

After strong limited event showings, mostly last Tuesday, this documentary on emo rapper Lil Peep transitioned to regular dates. These were more modest with some individual dates — particularly in Los Angeles — showing strength.

What comes next: This will return to some of its initial theaters next weekend.

The  Warrior Queen of Jhansi (Roadside Attractions) –  Metacritic: 27; Festivals include: Vancouver Women’s 2019

$125,395 in 276 theaters; PTA: $454

This British historical drama set in India is an unusual entry for specialty distributor Roadside Attractions. The primarily English-language film was placed in 276 theaters, where it showed little sign of life.

What comes next: This looks to have a limited theatrical future.

Mickey and the Bear (Utopia) –  Metacritic: 76; Festivals include: South by Southwest, Cannes 2019

$(est.) 3,000 in 1 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,000; Cumulative: $9,523

In the spirit of Debra Granik and other independent directors, Annabelle Attanasio set her debut in a non-urban setting (Montana) for a family drama. Following some initial strong festival platforming, it opened at New York’s prime Film Forum on a small screen. Its best days were during the week (it opened on Wednesday with director appearances) with a decent five day figure.

What comes next: Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia open next this Friday.

"Honey Boy"

“Honey Boy”


Week 2

Honey Boy (Amazon)

$210,617 in 17 theaters (+13); PTA: $12,389; Cumulative: $584,713

Coming off a stellar initial four-theater platform including Q & A sessions, the big-city expansion of Shia LaBeouf’s personal film yielded decent if not spectacular results. The star-writer’s appeal could bring crossover business ahead, but for now Amazon is going with a slower rollout into the top 15 markets. A much wider national break will follow.

Marriage Story (Netflix)

$(est.) 140,000 in (est.) 16 theaters (+11); PTA: $(est.) 8,750; Cumulative: $(est.) 360,000

Again, this is an educated attempt to estimate Noah Baumbach film’s gross in initial theaters ahead of its Netflix showings. The family drama expanded in New York and Los Angeles outlying areas along with some new cities. So far it’s not doing as well as “The Irishman” or “Roma.”

The Kingmaker (Greenwich)

$14,000 in 8 theaters (+6); PTA: $1,750; Cumulative: $41,975

Laura Greenfield’s documentary about the iconic Imelda Marcos added new cities to a lesser result than its initial New York dates.



Focus Features

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Harriet (Focus) Week 3

$4,780,000 in 2,011 theaters (+25); Cumulative: $31,900,000

Landing again in the Top Ten, this biopic continues to show strength. It has broadened well. And its ultimate $45-50 million domestic total will rank far higher than many studio dramas this fall that cost much more and went even wider.

Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight) Week 5

$2,818,000 in 995 theaters (+197); Cumulative: $13,597,000

Taika Waititi’s film continues its strong initial runs with selective new dates. These are good results, but as we continue to compare with the spring release of “Grand Budapest Hotel,” an earlier Fox Searchlight awards success, “Jojo” isn’t at the same level. On its earlier fourth weekend, Wes Anderson’s film in 977 theaters grossed almost $9 million. So far “Jojo” is more high-end specialized release than breakout/crossover title.

Parasite (Neon) Week 6

$1,935,000 in 620 theaters (+17); Cumulative: $14,493,000

A very decent hold for “Parasite,” which has only dropped about a quarter despite little change in theater totals. That’s even more impressive for a subtitled release. An over $3,000 PTA for this many theaters, including mainstream, continues to show something special is happening.

The Irishman (Netflix) Week 3

$1,250,000 (est.)  in 175 theaters (+153); Cumulative: $(est.) 2,400,000

Just as the networks try to project election winners with sample precincts plus some background in electoral math, we are continuing to estimate how Martin Scorsese’s film is performing among the independent theaters willing to play it. The number of theaters is an estimate. Netflix’s ticket sales website lists all theaters currently booked which have showtimes (at last count, about 212 cities, perhaps 250 theaters, with some yet to open).

Our guesstimate reflects the limited number of shows, in many theaters with limited seats (without the core two-week run at the Belasco Theatre in New York, which is done). Our PTA of over $7,000 could be on the low side (and could be off by some degree either direction), but reflects our finding that unlike the initial dates, fewer shows were sold out.

Still, for a film facing audience resistance both from its no-intermission 209 minute length and streaming availability in under two weeks, this is drawing real interest. The possible total, when all is counted, will be somewhere over $4 million. These runs function as previews for the main streaming event. Of course, we won’t get verified numbers of how many views it gets later.

The Lighthouse (A24) Week 5

$391,770 in 290 theaters (-393); Cumulative: $9,790,000

It’s black and white, it’s claustrophobic and intense, it’s a festival and critics fave, but with its cast clearly boosting its appeal, A24 has managed to pull off a wider than typical release for a film like this: it could get to $10 million domestic.

Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$214,221 in 226 theaters (-40); Cumulative: $3,085,000

Lost in the break out/crossover success for “Parasite” is the fact that Pedro Almodovar’s latest would otherwise be seen as the standout specialized subtitled film of the season. In recent years, similar films that reached this level usually did so with the boost of year-end awards attention. SPC will try to keep this in the spotlight in the weeks ahead.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Saban) Week 6

$168,993 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $2,591,000

The Kevin Smith traveling roadshow continues with top-end price personal appearance events in Chattanooga and Atlanta as gross boosters for this clearly smart (if work intensive) strategy.

No Safe Places (Atlas) Week 4

$115,000 in 55 theaters (+17); Cumulative: $359,000

The latest right-wing polemic documentary to find an audience, this view of speech victimization expanded to the Los Angeles area and elsewhere with some continued interest. The overall decent number was enhanced by a $30,000 event screenings gross in an AMC Burbank California theater.

Judy (Roadside Attractions) Week 8

$87,725 in 123 theaters (-123); Cumulative: $23,716,000

Roadside got “Judy” out ahead of the pack of awards releases and got rewarded with a gross that is at the high end of expectations, and all before any actual nominations or wins occurred.

Also noted:

The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside Attractions) – $33,887 in 65 theaters; Cumulative: $20,386,000

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