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‘Copshop’ Breaks Through in Action-Crazy Specialty Box Office Rankings

Action outings still rule both the blockbuster world ("Shang-Chi," "Free Guy") and the specialty sector, as Joe Carnahan's latest is the rare new entry in our top-20 listings.

COPSHOP, (aka COP SHOP), Alexis Louder, 2021. © Briarcliff Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

“Copshop”

Everett Collection

As the specialty sector continues to wait for an influx of buzzy awards-leaning titles in the coming months and early contenders flame out at the box office (including newcomers like “Blue Bayou” and “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” which both recently debuted to dismal dollars), the usual fare reigns supreme: action, and lots of it. While the blockbuster side of the equation continues to see heartening returns for films like “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Free Guy,” and “F9” (now also a VOD smash hit), even the indie and specialty market is crazy for bombastic adventures.

Look no further than the single new entry in our list of the top-grossing indie and specialty titles: Joe Carnahan’s latest, the butt-kicking “Copshop,” which joins similar titles like “Wrath of Man,” “The Protege,” and “The Marksman.” While this list also finds space for the expected festival darlings (“The Green Knight,” “Minari,” “Zola,” “Stillwater”) and even horror (“The Night House,” “Separation”), action offerings have proven to be the most consistent performers over the last nine months.

As we enter into the usual awards season fray, other specialty films will likely come to take the crown earned by actioners in recent months: the coming weeks see the release of everything from Palme d’Or winner “Titane” (an action movie of a very different stripe) to lower-key festival features like “Lamb,” “Mass,” and “Bergman Island.” Still, expect action to keep ruling the blockbuster side, particularly with the much-hyped release of “No Time to Die” next week.

Our list includes domestic (U.S. and Canada only, unless otherwise indicated) grosses for specialty films — which we define as independent, foreign (including Bollywood films), and/or documentary films — that opened in limited release (599 screens and under) in 2021. They also may include titles acquired or produced for 2021 distribution by an independent distributor (including but not limited to STX Films, Annapurna, United Artists Releasing, A24, Entertainment Studios, IFC Films, Magnolia Pictures, Open Road, and Bleecker Street) or a studio’s specialty division (including Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics, and Focus Features).

Given the rapidly changing state of the box office world (and its attendant reporting), this list only includes movies that opened in theaters during 2021, including brick-and-mortar businesses and drive-ins. For more information on streaming and VOD box office takes, please check out our weekly updates in those markets right here. When provided, this list also includes budgets for each film. Last year’s list can be found here.

Grosses include all reported grosses (via BoxOfficeMojo or as provided by a film’s representative) up to September 28, 2021. This chart is updated every Tuesday afternoon (or Wednesday afternoon after holiday weekends).

1. “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train”
Distributor: FUNimation Entertainment
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: April 23
Opening Theater Count: 1,600
Opening Average: $13,215
Current Gross: $47,700,000

2. “Wrath of Man”
Distributor: United Artists Releasing
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: May 5
Opening Theater Count: 2,875
Opening Average: $2,890
Current Gross: $27,466,489

3. “The Green Knight”
Distributor: A24
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: July 30
Opening Theater Count: 2,790
Opening Average: $2,417
Current Gross: $17,173,321

The Green Knight

“The Green Knight”

Courtesy of A24

4. “The Marksman”
Distributor: Open Road Films
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: January 15
Opening Theater Count: 1,975
Opening Average: $1,571
Current Gross: $15,566,093

5. “Stillwater”
Distributor: Focus Features
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: July 30
Opening Theater Count: 2,531
Opening Average: $2,049
Current Gross: $14,465,535

6. “The Protege”
Distributor: Lionsgate
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: August 20
Opening Theater Count: 2,577
Opening Average: $1,128
Current Gross: $7,446,823

7. “The Night House”
Distributor: Searchlight Pictures
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: August 20
Opening Theater Count: 2,240
Opening Average: $1,276
Current Gross: $7,034,824

8. “The Courier”
Distributor: Roadside Attractions (acquired at Sundance 2020)
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: March 19
Opening Theater Count: 1,443
Opening Average: $1,313
Current Gross: $6,613,432

9. “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” 
Distributor: Focus Features
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: July 16
Opening Theater Count: 927
Opening Average: $2,145
Current Gross: $5,249,970

10. “Zola”
Distributor: A24
Budget (if reported): $5 million
Release Date: June 30
Opening Theater Count: 1,468
Opening Average: $1,125
Current Gross: $4,844,399

Riley Keough (left) stars as "Stefani" and Taylour Paige (right) stars as "Zola" in director Janicza Bravo's ZOLA, an A24 Films release. Cr. Anna Kooris / A24 Films

“Zola”

Courtesy of Anna Kooris / A24 Films

11. “Separation”
Distributor: Open Road Films
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: April 30
Opening Theater Count: 1,751
Opening Average: $1,028
Current Gross: $4,509,143

12. “Copshop”
Distributor: Open Road Films
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: September 17
Opening Theater Count: 3,005
Opening Average: $770
Current Gross: $4,492,435

13. “Boogie”
Distributor: Focus Features
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: March 5
Opening Theater Count: 1,252
Opening Average: $958
Current Gross: $4,178,620

14. “Pig”
Distributor: Neon
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: July 16
Opening Theater Count: 552
Opening Average: $1,758
Current Gross: $3,186,668

15. “Minari”
Distributor: A24
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: February 12
Opening Theater Count: 251
Opening Average: $770
Current Gross: $3,110,580

16. “Dream Horse”
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: May 21
Opening Theater Count: 1,254
Opening Average: $633
Current Gross: $2,913,328

“Dream Horse”

17. “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2”
Distributor: HEFG Releasing
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: June 11
Opening Theater Count: 420
Opening Average: $2,408
Current Gross: $2,893,660

18. “Here Today”
Distributor: Sony, Stage 6 Films (acquired after production)
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: May 7
Opening Theater Count: 1,200
Opening Average: $867
Current Gross: $2,807,494

19. “Finding You”
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: May 14
Opening Theater Count: 1,312
Opening Average: $698
Current Gross: $2,753,985

20. “Land”
Distributor: Focus Features
Budget (if reported): NA
Release Date: February 12
Opening Theater Count: 1,231
Opening Average: $763
Current Gross: $2,577,830

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