‘White Girl’ Opens Strong, Kevin Smith and Jerry Lewis Not So Much: Arthouse Audit

Labor Day isn't usually kind to specialty releases, but that means nothing to the hit of "Hell or High Water." Also: Love for "White Girl."
White Girl
"White Girl"
Bank Street Films

Labor Day weekend has never been the home for prime specialized releases, but it is a spot where well-positioned films going broader can thrive. That was the case for “Hell or High Water” (Lionsgate), which gained momentum and looks to be a dominant film for weeks ahead — perhaps even into the awards season. Don’t be surprised if it outgrosses many of the highly touted premieres at Telluride and Toronto.

However, the weekend was unkind to veteran comedy creators; both Kevin Smith’s “Yoga Hosers” (Invincible) and “Max Rose” (Paladin) starring Jerry Lewis received mostly negative reviews and little interest in their initial regular theatrical dates.


“No Manches Frida” (Lionsgate)

$3,650,000 in 362 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,083; Cumulative: $3,650,000

Lionsgate’s most recent release of a Spanish-language film from production partner Pantelion looks to be their best opener yet. A typical Mexican comedy involving a complicated scheme to recover stolen loot, this had a terrific PTA and better-than-usual second day jump.

What comes next: Though this might see slight expansion, it is playing at nearly all of the locations where its audience is likely to be be found.

White Girl (FilmRise) – Metacritic: 63; Festivals include: Sundance 2016

$36,000 in 3 theaters; PTA: $12,000

Elizabeth Wood’s story of a hard-partying NYU coed and the trouble that follows premiered at Sundance. With modestly favorable reviews, it turned in some above-average (of late) opening platform numbers in its three New York theaters. More impressively, only one (the Angelika) is normally a higher-grossing specialized venue.

What comes next: Los Angeles and D.C. open this week, with other big cities following in the rest of this month.

“Yoga Hosers” (Invincible) – Metacritic: 23; Festivals include: Sundance 2016

$30,000 (est.) in 75 theaters; PTA: $400 (est.)

This is the second film (after “Tusk”) in Kevin Smith’s expected Canadian trilogy. “Yoga Hosers” amassed additional gross in an earlier on-the-road tour, with the director in tow. However, these numbers are quite weak and a big fall of from past Smith successes.

What comes next: A life somewhere, but not much more in theaters.

“The 9th Life of Louis Drax” (Lionsgate) – Metacritic: 40

$80,000 (est.) in 171 theaters; PTA: $468 (est.)

This long-gestating adaptation of the best-selling novel was initially a project with Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella. Genre director Alexandre Aja ended up making this story, which is told from the point of view of an accident-prone nine-year-old. Its release comes under the banner of Lionsgate’s VOD label, but it’s receiving an initial theater-only release. The numbers are little better than most VOD-parallel films.

What comes next: Its theater-playing days are numbered.

“Max Rose” (Paladin) – Metacritic: 40; Festivals include: Cannes 2013

$3,000 (est.) in 1 theater; PTA: $3,000 (est.)

This reps Jerry Lewis’ likely last starring role, as a widowed jazz pianist reflecting on his life. It received a theatrical release in Manhattan, three years after its initial Cannes showing, to minor results. (Note: the reported estimate of $4,000 likely is based on the four-day guess).

What comes next: Los Angeles opens next Friday, with other top markets the following week.


Also available on Video on Demand:

“Skiptrace” (Saban) – $9,000 (est.) in 11 theaters

“Zoom” (Screen Media/Toronto 15) – $1,600 (est.) in 7 theaters

“Kickboxer Vengeance” (RLJ) – $15,000 (est.) in 91 theaters

“Klown Forever” (Drafthouse) – $700 (est.) in 4 theaters

“Antibirth” (IFC/Sundance 16) – $1,000 (est.) in 1 theater


International releases:

“Janatha Garage” (/India) – $750,000 (est.) in 161 theaters

“Naam Hai Akira” (20th Century Fox/India) – $140,000 in 71 theaters


Week Two


Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers in "Southside With You"
Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers in “Southside With You”Matt Dinerstein, Courtesy of Miramax and Roadside Attractions

“Southside With You” (Roadside Attractions)

$1,359,000 in 897 theaters (+84); PTA: $1,515; Cumulative: $5,016,000

Young Obamas in love saw about a 50% drop its second weekend. Not a good sign for its longterm prospects, although it should still add a few million more to its total.


“Greater” (Hammond)

$(est.) 270,000 in 168 theaters (-172); PTA: $(est.) 1,607; Cumulative: (est.) 1,111,000

Timed to hit the start of the college football season, this independently made story of a successful walk-on player lost half its runs its second week to get over $1 million; likely not a lot more ahead.


“The Hollars” (Sony Pictures Classics)

$100,643 in 23 theaters (+19); PTA: $4,376; Cumulative: $150,907

John Krasinski’s directing debut, a comedy about going home to a dysfunctional family, is getting some interest as it moves into more top cities. These aren’t great grosses, but are sufficient to justify wider play ahead, with Krasinski and his co-stars broadening interest.


“Mia Madre” (Music Box)

$48,000 in 18 theaters (+12); PTA: $2,667; Cumulative: $100,796

Nanni Moretti is one of the few Italian directors to regularly get U.S. releases these days. His latest is performing close to what his earlier “We Have a Pope” grossed in its second weekend in similar theaters. About what subtitled films can expect, even with good reviews.


“Complete Unknown” (IFC)

$44,000(est.) in 22 theaters (+20); PTA: $2,000 (est.); Cumulative: $64,000 (est.)

Theater counts jumped from two to 22 on the new Joshua Marston film, which centers on Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz sparring at a dinner party, but the big-city break showed mediocre results. This is the latest of Amazon’s films, spread out among different distributors, to go the theatrical route.


“Howard’s End” (Cohen) (reissue)

$44,010 in 6 theaters (+4); PTA: $7,335; Cumulative: $85,232

This 25th anniversary restoration of the Merchant-Ivory production expanded to Los Angeles, with a continued above-average response for a reissue. With more dates ahead, this looks to become the biggest revival of the year.


Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters + one)

“Hell or High Water” (Lionsgate) Week 4

$4,500,000 in 1,303 theaters (+394); Cumulative: $14,691,633

Though it is over the 1,000 theater limit usually included here, this deserves attention. For one thing, the gross is more than what other specialty films (other than “No Manches Frida”) did combined; among other things, that means it is taking business away from the rest. It also is performing far better at this stage than any initially limited release of 2016. The expansion is working very well among wider audiences. A $20 million gross is certain; $30 million or more is possible.


“Don’t Think Twice” (The Film Arcade) Week 7

$469,964 in 165 theaters (+15); Cumulative: $3,005,000

Mike Birbiglia’s latest comedy continues its impressive run. This should be headed for further expansion and a much higher final gross, which will put it ahead of many specialized entries this year. It has also now grossed more than The Film Arcade’s previous 13 releases combined.


Cafe Society” (Lionsgate) Week 8

$290,000 in 190 theaters (-26); Cumulative: $10,455,000

Woody Allen’s latest looks to hit around $11 million, an improvement over his last two but below other recent successes not long ago.


“Equity” (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6

$210,575 in 221 theaters (-34); Cumulative: $1,265,000

Women in charge on Wall Street isn’t making a big impact, with an under $1,000 PTA at this point of the run.


“Indignation” (Roadside Attractions) Week 6

$158,365 in 116 theaters (-56); Cumulative: $3,076,000

James Schamus’ adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1950s academic-set novel is winding down after a mid-level success run.


“Captain Fantastic” (Bleecker Street) Week 9

$150,000 (est.) in 112 theaters (-10); Cumulative: $5,192,000 (est.)

Viggo Mortensen as a home-schooling backcountry dad continues as an above-average late summer specialized release in its third month,


“A Tale of Love and Darkness” (Focus) Week 6

$123,000 in 66 theaters (+40); Cumulative: $338,667

Natalie Portman’s Israeli-made film expanded further, with its PTA substantially down in its expansion.


“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (The Orchard) Week 11

$133,484 in 85 theaters (-15); Cumulative: $4,614,000

Showing strong legs deep into the run and now with a shot at $5 million, The Orchard’s biggest hit by far continues its impressive pace.


“Anthropoid” (Bleecker Street) Week 4

$65,000 (est.) in 59 theaters (-65); Cumulative: $2,879,000 (est.)

Fading quickly, this World War II thriller didn’t connect with adult audiences despite a fairly wide push.


Also noted:

“Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World” (Magnolia); also available on Video on Demand, $45,000 (est.)  in 29 theaters; Cumulative: $389,000 (est.)

“The People Vs. Fritz Bauer” (Cohen) – $38,989 in 13 theaters; Cumulative: $126,369

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