The Indie Market Starves for New Product as Oscar Contender ‘Parasite’ Passes $30 Million

As Oscar season wanes, specialty theaters don't have much to show until indies acquire new titles at Sundance.
Indie Market Starves for New Product as 'Parasite' Passes $30 Million
"Color Out of Space"
RLJ Entertainment

At this time of year, as Oscar season wanes and the Sundance Film Festival lures buyers with shiny new titles, indie distributors don’t launch many new movies.  Two wider openers drew modest results: Vietnam biopic “The Last Full Measure” (Roadside Attractions) played nationally to lackluster numbers, while wacky “Color Out of Space” (RLJE), starring Nicolas Cage, drew more interest.

Warner Bros. was planning a domestic release of “Detective Chinatown 3” parallel to its New Year opening in China, but postponed the movie at the last minute when the coronavirus scare shut down all theaters in China.

The Oscar push continues to benefit “1917” (Universal) as it passed $100 million. Meantime, “Parasite” (Neon) is closing in on $31 million, and “Jojo Rabbit” (Searchlight) also saw added numbers ahead of the awards.

“The Last Full Measure”


The Last Full Measure (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 52

$1,055,000 in 614 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $1,718

This multi-decade dream project for producer-turned-director Todd Robinson recounts the quest to honor a Vietnam War airman who sacrificed himself to rescue 60 soldiers. With a supporting cast including Samuel L. Jackson, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, and Peter Fonda (his final performance), Roadside released the war movie without advance screenings  in 614 theaters nationwide to mixed reviews and modest numbers. The movie’s per theater average is about the same as the 16th weekend of “Parasite,” in 400 fewer theaters.

What comes next: These grosses won’t sustain more than a second week.

Color Out of Space (RLJE) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Toronto 2019

$217,888 in 81 theaters; PTA: $2,689; Cumulative: $358,164

RLJE launched  “Mandy” in late 2018 with Nicolas Cage after festival acclaim and a parallel theatrical/VOD release. It grossed $1.2 million in theaters, building cult classic status with its extensive home viewing. Cage is back with another low-budget genre title, with a supported theatrical release. After event showings before the weekend, the movie pulled decent response in theaters with upbeat reviews and potential for additional play, particularly in specialized theaters with younger viewers.

What comes next: ITunes lists this February 25.

"Weathering With You"
“Weathering With You”GKids

Week Two

Weathering With You (GKids)

$693,231 in 458 theaters (-28); PTA: $1,514; Cumulative: $6,553,000

After a great event showing result before regular theatrical play, this Japanese animated crowdpleaser from the director of “Your Name” continues to find more interested in fairly wide release.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

1917 (Universal) Week 6

$15,800,000 in 3,937 theaters (+325); Cumulative: $103,880,000

All systems go for Sam Mendes’ film with strong momentum. It only fell 28% this weekend, with the potential, particularly if it wins Best Picture, of reaching $200 million domestic.

Just Mercy (Warner Bros.) Week 6

$4,055,000 in 2,408 theaters (-49); Cumulative: $27,078,000

An excellent hold — down only 30% after a holiday weekend — as this Michael B. Jordan/Jamie Foxx capital punishment story continues its impressive run. After a string of modest budget drama flops, Warners has turned this into an impressive success.

Parasite (Neon) Week 16; also streaming

$2,000,000 in 1,060 theaters (+217); Cumulative: $30,939,000

Still sitting at around $2,000 per theater against wide home viewing options, blowing past $30 million with two weekend left before the Oscars, this looks like it could reach even higher than our recent best guess to hit $35 million or more. At the same time, it ranks #4 — extremely high for a subtitled film — on iTunes’ feature film chart.

“Jojo Rabbit”Fox Searchlight

Jojo Rabbit (Searchlight) Week 15

$1,400,000 in 1,160 theaters (+155); Cumulative: $25,900,000

Searchlight has held back the home viewing availability for Taika Waititi’s comedy until February 4. This should help them reach around $30 million for its domestic theatrical play.

Uncut Gems (A24) Week 7

$703,150 in 490 theaters (-440); Cumulative: $47,682,000

The Safdie Bros.’ sleeper success is $1.3 million short of equaling “Lady Bird” as A24’s biggest domestic grosser. That’s without the normal extra 10% bump Canada (which like the rest of the world has this as a Netflix release) usually provides.

Bombshell (Lionsgate) Week 7

$565,000 in 596 theaters (+186); Cumulative: $30,242,000

An Oscar-boosted late-run expansion yielded minor response for Jay Roach’s film about Fox News and its harassment issues. This will end up about two-thirds of last year’s similar “Vice.”

The Song of Names (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$114,417 in 182 theaters (+106); Cumulative: $663,537

Typically impressive theater reach from SPC for this post-World War II missing musical virtuoso drama. The results by theater though (estimated $612 per) are not.

Les Miserables (Amazon) Week 3

$59,674 in 69 theaters (+27); Cumulative: $207,502

Its Best International Film nomination is doing little good for this French modern-day drama as it expands to the best possible theaters.

Clemency (Neon) Week 5

$86,500 in 127 theaters (+117); Cumulative: $229,203

A year after its jury win in the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Film category, this well-received drama continues to meet with disinterest among a wide range of theaters as it opened across all major cities. The PTA was under $700.

Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17; also streaming

$56,621 in 68 theaters (-99); Cumulative: $4,318,000

Now with home availability, this Oscar nominee is getting closer to high end for specialized subtitled releases not named “Parasite” (“Cold War” and “Roma”). It ranks #23 among all movies on iTunes’ current chart, high among similar films.

Harriet (Focus) Week 13

$(est.) 55,000 in 80 theaters (-15); Cumulative: $43,142,000

Still adding to its totals, this Best Actress nominee is about to add to its success with home viewing.

Also noted:

Citizen K (Greenwich) – $14,000 in 7 theaters: Cumulative: $55,327

Invisible Life (Amazon) – $10,970 in 11 theaters; Cumulative: $141,154

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