Newcomers bowed with muted to mixed results this weekend, while some holdovers including Jon Favreau‘s Chef held some sway in a box office stomped by Godzilla. The Weinstein Company opened James Gray’s Cannes 2013 debut The Immigrant with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix in a trio of theaters in New York and L.A. Friday, grossing $45,430 for a $15,143 average. That theatrical result bests Gray’s previous opener, Two Lovers (also starring Phoenix as well as Gwyneth Paltrow), though only slightly in terms of PTA. Magnolia Pictures opened Lovers in 7 runs in February 2009, grossing almost $95K for a $13,569 PTA. It went on to cume nearly $3.15M in the U.S. Gray’s highest grossing pic remains the studio release We Own The Night in 2007 via Sony/Columbia. That feature racked up over $28.56 million in the U.S.
“We’re fairly pleased with The Immigrant [opening],” said TWC’s president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “There’s a dedicated art house crowd which it appeals to. There were sell-outs at the Royal in L.A. and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York (a venue that has limited capacity). We’re not Godzilla, this is for a sophisticated audience and we expect that that [crowd] will discover the film as it [continues to head out].” The Immigrant will head out to the top 50 markets in the coming weeks.
Cohen Media Group’s Chinese Puzzle showed some promise for a multi-lingual feature as it opened in a pair of theaters. The film, the third in a trilogy by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, grossed $24,220 for a $10,110 PTA. It’s also an improvement over part two in the series, Russian Dolls which had a $5,504 average in an initial three runs in 2006. L’Auberge Espagnole, which kicked it all off in 2003 had a $5,244 PT in 11 theater and that film went on to a healthy seven-figure domestic gross, though that may be an upward challenge for Chinese Puzzle.
Also opening were doc Ai Weiwei The Fake Case, which bowed in a single theater, grossing $6,182. That compares to the doc’s predecessor Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, which opened in 2012 with an $8,221 PTA in 5 theaters ($41K gross). The IFC Films release went on to cume over $534K in the U.S. “We risk people thinking they already know the story,” said International Film Circuit’s Wendy Lidell this week. “I did have some trepidation but the response from the theaters has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s interesting to follow the trajectory of a prior documentary. [Because of that film] we know where the audience is.” It will then open in L.A., Denver and other markets June 6 and then continue to major markets and will be available on VOD in August.
Opening under the radar but showing promise is Justin Schwarz’s The Discoverers. The road trip feature, which stars Griffin Dunne, had a mixed DIY release spearheaded by Quadratic Media. P&A was raised through a Kickstarter campaign ahead of this weekend’s release. The film grossed $8,000 at Village East in New York. “We were fortunate to get great reviews in the Post, Voice, and Vanity Fair, and be named a New York Times Critic’s Pick which helped drive folks to the theater,” Schwarz told me Sunday. “We plan on riding the great word-of-mouth to slowly roll out across the country to maximize our Kickstarter-funded P&A spend. We expand to LA and Orange County on May 30, the Pacific Northwest in June, and more cities to be announced. We hope we’re on track to become this summer’s underdog indie.”
Chef continued to stir the box office mix in its second frame. The Open Roads Films release added 66 theaters to the SXSW Film Festival opener, holding solid. It grossed $734K for a $10,194 PTA. “Chef continues to do very well in its expansion,” said Jason Cassidy, president of Marketing at Open Roads Films. “Reviews and word of mouth are fantastic and even top chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio have raved about the movie. We are happy with this weekend’s numbers and feeling good about growing the movie in the coming weeks.” Chef opened last weekend with a $204K gross in six runs for a $34K PTA.
RADiUS’ Sundance doc Fed Up also added run in its second weekend. It jumped to 55 theaters from its initial 18 the week prior, grossing a healthy $178,569 for a $3,247 average. It grossed an initial $130K ($7,222 average) in its debut.
Fox Searchlight, meanwhile, pushed Belle out into 128 additional runs in its third frame. It grossed $960K for a solid $5,549 average. Searchlight noted that the Varsity in Toronto, Lincoln Plaza in New York and the Camelback in Scottsdale were particularly strong in addition to new openings at the Uptown in Minneapolis and River Oaks in Houston. Noted Searchlight’s Frank Rodriguez Sunday: “We are very happy with the continued good performance in Art theaters across the country. [An interesting] aspect of our new openings this weekend was the presence of many theaters which can draw from the African American audience. Theaters such as the Baldwin Hills Cinema, and the Magic Johnson in Harlem were good, as the film performed admirably. In other locations such as the Studio 30 in Houston and the Hoffman 22 in Northern Virginia, the result was even more encouraging as we finished in 4th place in both complexes. There seems to be a growing awareness of the films themes, subject matter, and plot..that of a mixed race young woman growing up in a house of British aristocracy.” Belle will expand into most markets Memorial weekend, heading to about 400 theaters.
Tribeca Film’s Palo Alto by feature debut director Gia Coppola also added run in week 2. The film, starring James Franco and Emma Roberts grossed $109,650 for a $3,064 PTA. The film opened with a more robust $20,160 PTA in its first weekend in four theaters. It will expand to an additional 15 markets this coming weekend before covering the top 40 markets on May 30 and more cities throughout June.
Music Box Films added 10 theaters for Ida in its third week, grossing $112K in 16 theaters for a $7K PTA, a bit less than half of last week’s $14,857 average from the film’s previous weekend. It will head to Chicago, San Francisco, Scottsdale and Washington, D.C. next week.
Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case (International Film Circuit) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,182
Chinese Puzzle (Cohen Media Group) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $24,220, Average $10,110
The Discoverers (Quadratic Media) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $8K
House Of God (Kino Lorber Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $2,500, Cume $4,029 (Wed. open)
The Immigrant (The Weinstein Company) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $45,430, Average $15,143
Returning / 2nd Weekend
Chef (Open Road Films) Week 2 [72 Theaters] Weekend $734K, Average $10,194, Cume: 1,016,000
Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC) Week 2 [55 Theaters] Weekend $178,569, Average $3,247, Cume $363,770
Palo Alto (Tribeca Film) Week 2 [36 Theaters] Weekend $109,650, Average $3,046, Cume $202,815
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Belle (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [173 Theaters] Weekend $960K, Average $5,549, Cume $1,787,298
Ida (Music Box Films) Week 3 [16 Theaters] Weekend $112K, Average $7K, Cume $331,445
Blue Ruin (RADiUS-TWC) Week 4 [4 Theaters] Weekend $8,893, Average $2,223, Cume $238,709
Locke (A24) Week 4 [121 Theaters] Weekend $217,921, Average $1,801, Cume $833,046
Fading Gigolo (Millennium Entertainment) Week 5 [356 Theaters] Weekend $445,340, Average $1,251, Cume $2,727,828
Only Lovers Left Alive (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [95 Theaters] Weekend $127,460, Average $1,342, Cume $1,293,498
The Railway Man (The Weinstein Company) Week 6 [183 Theaters] Weekend $305K, Average $1,667, Cume $2,749,378
Under The Skin (A24) Week 7 [56 Theaters] Weekend $85,288, Average $1,523, Cume $2,229,298
The Unknown Known (RADiUS-TWC) Week 7 [3 Theaters] Weekend $725, Average $242, Cume $266,936
God’s Not Dead (Freestyle Releasing) Week 9 [780 Theaters] Weekend $763,684, Average $979, Cume $58,950,036
Le Week-End (Music Box Films) Week 10 [38 Theaters] Weekend $33K, Average $868, Cume $2,154,714
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 11 [630 Theaters] Weekend $1.1M, Average $1,746, Cume $55,536,806
The Lunchbox (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 12 [130 Theaters] Weekend $169,800, Average $1,306, Cume $3,689,332
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC) Week 49 [1 Theaters] Weekend $157, Cume $4,945,296