Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
New specialty movies mostly coasted through the holiday weekend, with newcomers ranging from fairly solid to weak in their Labor Day bows. Indomina Releasing’s IMAX 3D opener Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate soared to the top of the pack with a decent $8,333 average for its opening in 15 locations, while Millennium’s Little Birds launched in one theater, grossing $8,314. “This is a solid opening”, said Indomina’s Rob Williams. “The fans came out to see Flying Swords the way it should be seen – on the giant IMAX 3D screen”. Indomina will expand on September 14th.
Focus Features opened For A Good Time, Call… in 23 theaters, averaging $8,090. Focus plans to let word-of-mouth drive its rollout. Mostly young females turned out for the feature Focus picked up out of Sundance. “According to exit polls, rating and recommend scores with females under 25 were above average – a good sign as we continue to expand through September”, a Focus spokesperson said. Millennium Films landed Little Birds in one NYC theater, grossing just under $6K. The film will open in Los Angeles September 14th. IDFA/Sundance doc The Ambassador debuted Stateside in 4 theaters, averaging a modest $3,818. The feature will expand to about a dozen markets next week. And China Lion’s The Bullet Vanishes bowed at 14 locations, averaging a slower $3,642. The distributor is targeting Mandarin-speaking audiences in the U.S. and Canada.
Among holdovers, Oscilloscope’s Samsara reigned supreme among the second weekenders, averaging a hefty $15,749 in 9 locations for the 4-day frame. IFC Films’ Sleepwalk With Me expanded to 29 locations with an average of $14,103. In solo debut at IFC Center last weekend the film broke a house record, taking in $65K.
“It was a big weekend for Sleepwalk With Me, which is emerging as one of the most acclaimed comedies of the year”, boasted IFC Films’ Ryan Werner. “The film got fantastic reviews and was helped by a series of promo screenings, great press and reviews and in-person appearances by Ira Glass and Mike Birbiglia. The guys also got to confront Joss Whedon earlier in the week at the WGA in L.A., which brought out stars including Tom Hanks, Danny DeVito and others”.
The Bullet Vanishes (China Lion) NEW [14 Theaters] Weekend $51K, Average $3,642
The Day (WWE Studios/Anchor Bay) NEW [12 Theaters] Weekend $12,845, Average $1,070
For A Good Time, Call… (Focus Features) NEW [23 Theaters] Weekend $186,077, Average $8,090
Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate (3D) (Indomina Pictures) NEW [15 Theaters] Weekend $125K, Average $8,333
Little Birds (Millennium Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $5,974, Cume $8,314 (Wed. open)
Returning / 2nd Weekend
Samsara (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Week 2 [9 Theaters] Weekend $141,737, Average $15,749, Cume $259,986
Sleepwalk With Me (IFC Films) Week 2 [29 Theater] Weekend $408,987, Average $14,103, Cume $498,521
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Chickens With Plums (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [3 Theaters] Weekend $15,216, Average $5,072, Cume $104,092
Robot & Frank (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Week 3 [144 Theaters] Weekend $914,400, Average $6,350, Cume $1,362,645
Celeste And Jesse Forever (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [586 Theaters] Weekend $938,071, Average $1,601, Cume $2,093,903
Killer Joe (LD Entertainment) Week 6 [73 Theaters] Weekend $250K, Average $3,425, Cume $1,309,645
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [32 Theaters] Weekend $187,674, Average $5,865, Cume $740,975
2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain Pictures) Week 8 [1,747 Theaters] Weekend $7.086M, Average $4,056, Cume $20,253,719
The Imposter (Indomina, A&E IndieFilms) Week 8 [31 Theaters] Weekend $98,132, Average $3,166, Cume $516,600
Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight) Week 10 [267 Theaters] Weekend $685K, Average $2,566, Cume $9,774,939
To Rome With Love (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11 [94 Theaters] Weekend $193,516, Average $2,059, Cume $16,171,202
Safety Not Guaranteed (FilmDistrict) Week 13 [833 Theaters] Weekend $51K, Average $1,062, Cume $3,831,390
Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 15 [197 Theaters] Weekend $445,704, Average $2,262, Cume $44,297,333
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 18 [105 Theaters] Weekend $126,600, Average $1,206, Cume $45,954,596
Bernie (Millennium Entertainment) Week 19 [26 Theaters] Weekend $32,864, Average $1,264, Cume $9,165,120
The Intouchables (The Weinstein Company) Week 21 [175 Theaters] Weekend $475K, Average $2,714, Cume $11.1M