Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
While the weekend’s higher profile directors tanked at the indie box office with new pics, several smaller films opened in one theater and the tactic appears to have mostly worked in their favor. Oscilloscope bowed Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother Of George in one theater, handily scoring the weekend’s top PSA with $22,456. The film about a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn lured packed crowds. “[Mother Of George] played to sold out shows throughout the weekend and drew an extremely diverse crowd on the heels of unanimously positive reviews,” said an O-scope spokesperson Sunday about the film which picked up a Cinematography prize at Sundance in January. “We look forward to expanding over the coming weeks.”
Sundance Selects‘ Blue Caprice, which bowed at Sundance and New Directors/New Films earlier this year and stars Isaiah Washington, opened IFC Center in New York, taking the weekend’s second highest PSA with $15,200. The distributor plans a slow roll out for the film which recalls the shooting spree in and around Washington, D.C. in 2002. Sundance Selects said it will expand Blue Caprice to the top 15 markets throughout September.
Also doing solid business in one run was Submarine Deluxe‘s documentary GMO OMG, reporting a $15,121 weekend gross. Directed by second-time filmmaker Jeremy Seifert in a quasi Michael Moore-esque style, the film centers on the widespread use of genetically engineered food, a topic that has not caught headlines Stateside in the same way as in Europe, South America, Australia and other regions. Though genetically modified produce is much more widespread in the U.S., public awareness is low and that could have translated into being a tough sell for GMO OMG. But Submarine Deluxe (the theatrical release division of film sales company Submarine) worked its connections to drive at least the initial wave of audiences this weekend.
Noted Submarine’s Dan Braun Sunday: “We already have significant group sales which will be a strong foundation for the run of the film and we do expect to have a strong showing on our opening weekend… We have marketing support from some great partners such as Nature’s Path who have agreed to put messaging about the films release on almost every box of cereal that they sell which will be a huge awareness builder and may convert to ticket sales as their customer is right in the bulls eye of the target we are aiming for.”
Fellow doc Herb & Dorothy 50X50 is a follow-up to 2008 doc Herb & Dorothy by Megumi Sasaki. Also in one location, the film grossed $6,500. In PSA it out-stripped the first incarnation of the story of a middle class New York couple who happened to amass one of the most important modern art collections today. Herb & Dorothy opened in two theaters in June 2009, grossing $9,242 in two theaters ($4,621 average). It went on to gross just under $195K in the U.S. A Fine Line spokesperson Sunday said the pic is heading towards a $6500 gross after a sold-out Friday screening and subsequent near sell-outs. The film will expand to over 40 markets over the next two months, beginning with San Francisco on 9/20, Los Angeles on 9/27 and Boston and Washington DC on 10/4 as it makes its way across the country.
SPC opened Saudi Arabia’s first Best Foreign Language Oscar contender Wadjda in three theaters, grossing $40,491 for a decent $13,497 PSA. Sony Classics said it will continue a “slow roll out” of the film in major markets going forward. Had other titles opened in additional theaters, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Wadjda would have been the weekend’s highest PSA.
Not faring so well was Jayne Mansfield’s Car, which had the weekend’s largest location opening. The film directed by Billy Bob Thornton grossed a weak $7,400 for a disappointing $672 average. And Catherine Hardwicke‘s Plush, backed by IM Global/Blumhouse, fell flat. Opening in 10 runs, the erotic rock thriller starring Emily Browning, Xavier Samuel and Cam Gigandet grossed only $3,320 for a truly dismal $332 average the same weekend producer Jason Blum‘s Insidious 2 owned the mainstream box office.
Among holdovers, Liberty Street Films took its doc Money For Nothing: Inside The Federal Reserve to two theaters in NYC and D.C. after opening an exclusive engagement in Dallas lasts weekend. The feature grossed $13,720 ($4,573 PSA) and has cumed $22,025. Noted Liberty Street: “[The feature] will continue to roll out to key markets across the country over the next few weeks. On tap for 9/20 are Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago, followed by Minneapolis and Denver the next weekend before hitting key Federal Reserve branch markets such as Houston, Kansas City and Richmond throughout October.”
TWC maintained four theaters for its doc Salinger, grossing $45K for a $11,252 PSA. That’s about half its opening debut at nearly $91K and a $22,742 average.
SPC expanded Austenland to 274 theaters this weekend from 58. The result was a $381,191 gross in its fifth weekend ($1,391 PSA) and a $1.188 million cume. A24′s The Spectacular Now hit 770 theaters, its peak in 7 weeks of release. It grossed nearly $770K and has cumed over $5.8 million. And Roadside’s In A World continues its theatrical life, passing the $2 million threshold in its 6th weekend. It played 144 runs, grossing over $308K, averaging $2,144.
Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $15,200
GMO OMG (Submarine Deluxe) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $15,121
Herb & Dorothy 50X50 (Fine Line Media) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,500
Jayne Mansfield’s Car (Anchor Bay) NEW [11 Theaters] Weekend $7,400, Average $672
Mademoiselle C (Cohen Media Group) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $14,477, Average $2,413, Cume $17,739
Mother Of George (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $22,456
Plush (IM Global/Blumhouse) NEW [10 Theaters] Weekend $3,320, Average $332
Wadjda (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend 40,491, Average $13,497, Cume $116,158 (includes gross from French Canada)
Returning / 2nd Weekend
Money For Nothing: Inside The Federal Reserve (Liberty Street Films) Weekend $13,720, Average $4,573, Cume $22,025
Populaire (The Weinstein Company) Week 2 [15 Theaters] Weekend $33,250, Average $2,217, Cume $56,477
Salinger (The Weinstein Company) Week 2 [4 Theaters] Weekend $45,009, Average $11,252, Cume $158,726
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Afternoon Delight (The Film Arcade) Week 3 [39 Theaters] Weekend $34,593, Average $887, Cume $153,246
The Grandmaster (The Weinstein Company) Week 4 [705 Theaters] Weekend $465K, Average $660, Cume $5,822,500
Short Term 12 (Cinedigm) Week 4 [62 Theaters] Weekend $163,227, Average $2,633
Austenland (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [274 Theaters] Weekend $381,191, Average $1,391, Cume $1,188,627
You Will Be My Son (Cohen Media Group) Week 5 [6 Theaters] Weekend $14,094, Average $2,349, Cume $126,102
Spark: A Burning Man Story (Self-distributed/Paladin/FilmBuff) Week 5 [6 Theaters] Weekend $5,140, Average $857, Cume $115,506
In A World (Roadside Attractions) Week 6 [144 Theaters] Weekend $308,719, Average $2,144, Cume $2,079,669
The Spectacular Now (A24) Week 7 [770 Theaters] Weekend $769,907, Average $1K, Cume $5,802,677
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8 [993 Theaters] Weekend $1,798,140, Average $1,811, Cume $27,884,694
Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company) Week 10 [137 Theaters] Weekend $73K, Average $533, Cume $15,878,308
The Way, Way Back (Fox Searchlight) Week 11 [421 Theaters] Weekend $290K, Average $689, Cume $20,850,137
The Attack (Cohen Media Group) Week 13 [14 Theaters] Weekend $26,694, Average $1,907, Cume $1,684,171