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‘Spoiler Alert’ Shows Promise as Awards Movies Flounder

The Jim Parsons dramatic comedy made a nice debut, but what the heck has happened to the adult audience for specialized films?

Spoiler Alert Movie

“Spoiler Alert”

Spoiler Alert” (Universal), based on Michael Ausiello’s poignant memoir, debuted in six theaters (San Francisco, along with New York and Los Angeles) and provided a spark for the specialized market. It took in $85,000 (per theater $14,110) — at the higher end for this season. That’s enough to justify the brief platform before it expands to a multi-hundred theater run this Friday.

Among traditional specialized titles, we’re confronting a discomfiting reality: This once-vibrant adult audience isn’t showing up, but non-traditional releases are thriving. Fathom Events now boasts two out-of-nowhere successes in three weeks. “I Heard the Bells,” about composer of the classic Christmas carol took in nearly $2.6 million for four days on 474 theaters for #7 overall. And its presentation of two episodes of “The Chosen Season 3” has taken in over $14 million. That’s more than any of the plethora of awards-contenders and others we list below, most of which had wider releases.

Compare that to “The Fabelmans” (Universal). Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed autobiographical tale is one of his best-reviewed films. It’s still an high-end awards favorite and grossed $1.3 million this weekend in 164 more theaters than “Bells.” That’s 43 percent below last weekend, which was elevated by the holiday. But the adult-draw “The Menu” (Searchlight) dropped 35 percent.

“Fabelmans” initially compared favorably to Universal’s last Oscar Best Picture winner, “Green Book.” Both films expanded Thanksgiving weekend. The second wider weekend of “Green Book” rose 2 percent. That was extraordinary and more so for the date. At that point, we knew Peter Farrelly’s film was headed for bigger things.

Similarly, the reaction to “Fabelmans” is clear: It just doesn’t have the same appeal.

Multiple sources confirm it will head to PVOD play, while continuing in theaters, December 13. That will be an opportunity to make up some ground and see if its acclaim carries over. Rather than expand with an Oscar nomination after riding out Christmas with sustained interest, it sadly makes sense for Universal to try to salvage something earlier than later.

”Return to Seoul” (Sony Pictures Classics) and “Close” (A24), both International Film Oscar submissions, opened as one-week qualifiers that per norm didn’t report. “Emancipation” (Amazon) per usual for streamers kept its results secret, similar to among others Netflix’s ongoing runs of “Pinocchio” and “Bardo.”

Crunchyroll, of late scoring some successes, came in #15 overall with $502,000 for “The Quintessential Quintuplets” Movie,” though its PTA was only $582.

"The Eternal Daughter"

“The Eternal Daughter”

A24

Joanna Hogg’s “The Eternal Daughter” (A24) with Tilda Swinton, a same-day PVOD release, played 29 theaters for about $33,000. A major chunk of that came from two New York theaters with Q&A events. “Finding Agnes” (Kino Lorber) did $5,114 in one Manhattan theater.

Still-limited expansions of “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon) and “EO” (Janus) are showing some interest, but similar to previous highly regarded titles like “Aftersun” (A24, in its seventh week $874,000) performing below  pre-Covid expectations. “The Banshees of Inishern” (Searchlight), now over $8 million, by this year’s standards is a highlight, but hardly compared to precedents. “The Inspection” (A24) in its third weekend, still in only 138 theaters, doesn’t cut muster with only a $620 PTA.

Films (limited, expansions of limited, as well as awards-oriented releases) are listed by week in release, starting with those opened this week; after first two weeks, grosses over $5,000

Spoiler Alert (Focus) NEW – Metacritic: 58

$85,000 in 6 theaters; PTA: $14,110

I Heard the Bells (Fathom) NEW

$1,817,000 in 474 theaters; PTA: $3,834; Cumulative: $2,584,000

The Quintessential Quintuplets Movie (Crunchyroll) NEW –

$502,000 in 910 theaters; PTA: $552

The Eternal Daughter (A24) NEW – Metacritic: 79; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto, New York 2022; also on PVOD

$33,657 in 29 theaters; PTA: $1,161

Framing Agnes (Kino Lorber) NEW – Metacritic: 62; Festivals include: Sundance 2022

$5,114 in 1 theater; PTA: $5,114

Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (Greenwich) NEW – Festivals include: Tribeca 2022; also on VOD

$4,500 in 6 theaters; PTA: $750

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Neon) Week 2

$35,000 in 10 (+7) theaters; PTA: $3,500; Cumulative: $87,194

Leonor Will Never Die (Music Box) Week 2

$5,739 in 8 theaters (+7); PTA: $717; Cumulative: $11,738

Bones and All (United Artists) Week 3

$1,191,000 in 2,727 (+no change) theaters; Cumulative: $6,041,000

The Chosen Season 3: Episodes 1 & 2 (Fathom) Week 3

$310,013 in 1,695 theaters; Cumulative: $14,407,000

EO (Sideshow/Janus) Week 3

$28,000 in 6 (+4) theaters; Cumulative: $85,692

The Inspection (A24) Week 3

$85,541 in 138 (+106) theaters;  Cumulative: $270,613

The Fabelmans (Universal) Week 4

$1,300,000 in 638 (no change) theaters; Cumulative: $

Holy Spider (Utopia) Week 6

$13,446 in 15 (-2) theaters; Cumulative: $161,781

The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight) Week 7

$228,000 in 320 (-82) theaters; Cumulative: $8,257,000

Aftersun (A24) Week 7

$46,312 in 75 (no change) theaters; Cumulative: $874,127

TÁR (Focus) Week 9; also on PVOD

$82,000 in 97 (-3) theaters; Cumulative: $5,300,000

 

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