With the Oscars at hand, the specialized world will soon need to live without the infusion of titles that started with “Judy” five months ago, and with many successful films that followed. The new blood, though, remains uneven.
“The Lodge” (Neon) is more of a genre play not expected to fill in the gaps ahead. It had a decent initial response, but it remains to be seen how much further interest it has. But the potential is there. Otherwise, “The Assistant” (Bleecker Street) had mixed results in its initial expansion. Performing well, though with a shortened window with the early Oscar date, the “2020 Oscar-Nominated Short Films” program had a strong showing. But its shelf-life isn’t long.
Searchlight’s wide release of “Downhill” post-Sundance and the anticipated strong Valentine’s release of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Neon) lead the new films starting next weekend. They are badly needed.
“The Lodge” (Neon) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Sundance 2019
$78,104 in 6 theaters; PTA: $13,017
A year after its Sundance debut, this thriller from the Austrian directors of the well-received “Goodnight Mommy” debuted in six New York/Los Angeles venues. This was not a typical platform play, with two Alamo Drafthouse theaters, two total overall in Brooklyn, and a more commercial, less arthouse combination. The numbers suggest interest, if not breakout potential. This is the kind of niche item that should expect to be maximized by Neon with appeal to younger audiences.
What comes next: This will expand in stages over the upcoming weeks starting Friday.
Music Box Films
“And Then We Danced” (Music Box) – Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: Cannes 2019
$14,078 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,039
Set in Eurasian Georgia but produced by Sweden (it was their International Film submission), this drama takes place in the dance world where local homophobic mores are confronted by the attraction between two performers. This opened in two New York theaters to on par results for subtitled releases.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens Friday.
“Come on Daddy” (Saban) – Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: Tribeca 2019; also on VOD
$61,381 in 29 theaters; PTA: $2,116
Elijah Wood is another name actor working the Nicolas Cage route of genre titles, having fun and providing the basis for combined theatrical/streaming play. This actually isn’t a bad result for its multi-city runs with home-viewing competition.
What comes next: This doesn’t look to expand theatrically, but has accomplished what was planned with these dates.
“Cane River” (Oscilloscope) – Metacritic: 80
$10,240 in 2 theaters; PTA: $5,120
The numbers for the initial theaters — one in Brooklyn, the other in New Orleans, a partial setting for this 1982 film rescued from obscurity after director Horace B. Jenkins died shortly after completion. A romance between two very different young people, it then as now offers a bracing portrait of African-American made life. The theatrical component is important for getting this attention, but this feels like a film that will prosper as well, with nontheatrical play ahead.
What comes next: Until then, this will have a slow multi-city rollout in major cities.
2020 Oscar-Nominated Short Films (Magnolia)
$825,000 in 535 theaters (+70); PTA: $1,542; Cumulative: $2,655,000
With a truncated awards calendar this year, the annual shorts compilation is about a half million ahead of the second weekend last year. It may fall a bit short of that $3.5 million total, with most interest ramping up before the awards, but in some ways this is just as impressive.
“The Assistant” (Bleecker Street)
$122,585 in 25 theaters (+21); PTA: $4,903; Cumulative: $225,711
Last weekend’s leading platform opener expanded to more major theaters this weekend. Still getting decent reviews, it had a modest response and doesn’t look likely to break out beyond specialized dates.
“The Traitor” (Sony Pictures Classics)
$44,567 in 17 theaters (+14); PTA: $2,622; Cumulative: $79,088
Veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio’s story of a Sicilian mafia informant added top big city theaters to mediocre results.
$30,000 in 9 theaters (+7); PTA: $3,333; Cumulative: $58,409
This Israeli drama recreating the lead-up to the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin added Los Angeles and other theaters to modest results. That said, expect this to get national specialized play at the high end of non-awards-contending subtitled films.
“Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words” (Blue Fox)
$52,618 in 40 theaters (+17); PTA: $1,354; Cumulative: $157,399
The Supreme Court Justice has his fans, but at least in terms of documentary interest, he’s no match for colleague Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Ongoing/Expanding (Grosses Over $50,000)
“1917” (Universal) Week 8
$9,000,000 in 3,548 theaters (-439); Cumulative: $132,540,000
The last-minute Oscar-viewing rush left the frontrunner down only 5%. With wins expected tonight, $200 million domestic remains possible. It’s hard to imagine a more perfectly played Oscar theatrical run.
“Just Mercy” (Warner Bros.) Week 8
$1,540,000 in 1,315 theaters (-492); Cumulative: $33,390,000
This has fallen just short of the top 10 in recent weeks, but the Michael B. Jordan/Jamie Foxx prison-set story continues to do respectable numbers despite not getting hoped-for awards attention.
“Jojo Rabbit” (Searchlight) Week 17
$1,534,000 in 1,096 theaters (-77); Cumulative: $30,281,000
Searchlight decided (atypically for nominees past window minimums) to hold off the home release date until February 4. As a result, they will add about 50% to their gross since nominations were announced.
“Parasite” (Neon) Week 18
$1,500,000 in 1,060 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $35,472,000
Despite having home availability a majority of the time since the nominations, this high-end performer has added $10 million so far. With potential multiple wins tonight, this could yet reach $40 million.
“Uncut Gems” (A24) Week 9
$658,936 in 1,142 theaters (+650); Cumulative: $49,244,000
Now A24’s biggest grossing film, “Uncut Gems” with no nominations (though that was the play including, the platform release and Christmas release) has grossed more than 10 of the films competing in the top six categories.
“Bombshell” (Lionsgate) Week 9
$237,000 in 272 theaters (-206); Cumulative: $31,273,000
With two acting Oscar nominees and a likely Makeup & Hairstyling win, this Fox News #MeToo recreation has managed to stick around a bit. This will end up at around $32 million.
“The Last Full Measure” (Roadside Attractions) Week 3
$189,400 in 279 theaters (-338); Cumulative: $2,509,000
The remaining theaters for the Vietnam war hero recognition story actually had a higher average than the wider venues last week. But this won’t stick around much longer, topping off somewhere under $3 million.
“Weathering With You” (GKIDS) Week 4
$141,932 in 106 theaters (+15); Cumulative: $7,556,000
This well-received Japanese animated film keeps adding to its, initially at least, event-showing-fueled start.
“Color Out of Space” (RLJE) Week 3
$55,362 in 54 theaters (-14); Cumulative: $677.283
Nicolas Cage’s latest foray into genre film continues to get noticed ahead of its late February home availability.
“Pain and Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 19; also streaming
$60,616 in 118 theaters (+59); Cumulative: $4,507,000
Pedro Almodóvar’s Best Actor and International Film Oscar nominee needs to reach $4,580,000 to match last year’s “Cold War” among recent specialized subtitled releases. It might get close, but with home availability in play and no wins expected, it will be a close call. The difficulty in getting to the $5 million mark, other than “Parasite,” among similar films is still a big concern. (Fellow nominee “Les Misérables,” despite a big push, won’t gross a tenth of that).
“The Song of Names” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7
$56,710 in 78 theaters (-62); Cumulative: $925,213
Despite mixed reviews and not ever standing out among the holiday releases, SPC might get this post-World War II drama about the search for a lost violinist to $1 million.
“Les Misérables” (Amazon) – $29,316 in 38 theaters; Cumulative: $323,210
“Clemency” (Neon) – $12,575 in 25 theaters; Cumulative: $339,489
“Honeyland” (Neon) – $11,387 in 16 theaters; Cumulative: $786,726