If this was a typical Sunday morning, I’d report that The One I Love, the latest quirky quasi-comedy exec-produced by the Duplass Brothers, had a solid but not scintillating debut weekend at the specialty box office. But this has not been a typical Sunday morning. When I opened my email from RADiUS-TWC, I found not only their theatrical box office results for The One I Love but also the film’s VOD numbers. Wow!
The combined numbers arrived with no fanfare, just honest transparency. RADiUS deserves kudos for being a trailblazer here, and I at least want to make sure this moment is duly noted, and with enthusiasm. The company has given me non-theatrical metrics before, but to give it alongside theatrical is a first, and something unique that I hope quickly becomes common.
Last fall, Radius gave Deadline VOD numbers for its action pic Man Of Tai Chi, an industry first. Earlier this summer, its co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego gave me non-theatrical numbers for its Oscar-winning music doc 20 Feet From Stardom and Errol Morris doc The Unknown Known.
Measuring VOD/digital revenues is not like theatrical. It can’t be tabulated in the same way. That has been an argument against reporting numbers because measuring them against weekend box office is a slippery slope. It’s perhaps a valid concern, but these numbers should be made available in some fashion too, to give everyone a more complete picture of how small films are faring in the marketplace in their first weeks of release.
The TWC label, whose business model is predicated on dual-platform releases, has been by far the most transparent company operating in a distribution model that remains an enigma. Today, it pulled the veil back further than ever. That is a first for anyone and RADiUS gets my respect. Independent filmmakers deserve this.
So, on to the numbers themselves: The One I Love - written and directed by Charlie McDowell - bowed in 8 theaters this weekend, grossing $55,126 for a $6,891 PTA. Of course, that is only part of the story, because it also made just over $500,000 on VOD. The film has been available on demand since Aug. 1 “with no fanfare,” according to RADiUS. The company said it “pointed all of its promotion and advertising towards the theatrical release.”
“With great critical support and the tireless promotional efforts of (cast members) Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson and director Charlie McDowell, The One I Love opened at the top of most theatrical engagements,” said RADiUS’ Quinn. “Simultaneously, it’s also racked up a very impressive half million dollars on VOD. This genre-bending Sundance favorite could be poised to break out as a late-summer hit. Interestingly, the film is currently both the #1 Romance and #1 Sci-Fi film on iTunes. That’s a testament to how truly unique and brilliant this film is.”
On a typical Sunday, when I would only receive theatrical numbers, I likely would have written that the film had opened OK at best. But when you add in another $502K on VOD, that’s a very different equation. Giving perspective on what this means is difficult because not everyone releases their films’ VOD/digital numbers, despite my regular requests to distribs. The holdout companies tell me they give those numbers to individual filmmakers, and I believe them. But those VOD numbers are important, and they should be made publicly available like theatrical box office is. Some studios have said, “Why should we tell you?” Producing a movie is a challenge at best. But it’s crazy not to have a macro perspective on a film’s financial success that includes a potentially substantial income source from an increasingly important distribution platform.
By the way, RADiUS also gave VOD numbers for Snowpiercer on Sunday, saying it has now passed $6 million on VOD alone. Theatrically, in its 9th week, the sci-fi action film by Korean director Bong Joon-ho and starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Jamie Bell grossed just under $27K in 28 theaters, for a theatrical cume of just over $4.43M.
Elsewhere in the theatrical box office world, Sony Classics opened Ira Sachs‘ well-received Love Is Strange in 5 theaters in L.A. and New York in very solid form. It grossed over $126K for a $25,310 PTA. This film stars Alfred Molina, John Lithgow and Marisa Tomei in a heart-warming story about a gay couple facing the travails of living in NYC. It is more “accessible” than his previous film Keep The Lights On, which was also well received despite being a more challenging sell. That film opened with an $11K gross in five theaters via Music Box Films in 2012, cuming just over $246K in the U.S. Love Is Strange should have a long life ahead.
“Great opening, there’s no movie that is more timely out there,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker S. “Ira Sachs is a director about feelings and detail.”
Barker said that the film attracted women and gays in particular, and drew from across the board in the age bracket, though it skewed older. Love Is Strange will head to a dozen cities next week and will hit its widest reach in the next four to six weeks. Barker also touted Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight, saying the film has had solid numbers and holds well during the week. He said it will go over $10 million. It grossed over $1.33M($1,692 PTA) this weekend and has cumed over $6.8M to date.
IFC Films added 7 runs for The Trip To Italy in its second frame, holding well with a $114 gross and an $11,400 average in ten theaters. The film opened last week in a trio of locations, grossing over $71K for a $23,859 PTA. It will head to the top 20 markets Labor Day weekend. The distributor’s summer hit Boyhood continues to mature with gusto. It grossed $1,864,360 in 734 theaters, averaging $2,540 (after $2.15M, $2,789 PTA last week in 771 theaters). It has now cumed $16,526,408.
Fox Searchlight added 109 theaters for Calvary in its 4th weekend. The distributor reported a $540K gross, averaging $2,250.
“The film continues to do very well in Art houses and specialty venues across the country,” Searchlight said in a statement. “We are still expectant that we will reach a broader audience as we slowly continue to roll out Calvary. The reviews have been very good for this dark comedy — and thriller — and word of mouth has been excellent for this film, which was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh and stars Brendan Gleeson as a good priest who is being targeted by a killer.” Calvary will add more locations next weekend.
Love Is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics) [5 Theaters] Weekend $126,552 , Average $25,310
The One I Love (RADiUS-TWC) [8 Theaters] Weekend $55,126, Average $6,891
Night Lights (Indican Pictures) (1 Theater) Weekend $3,982, Average $3,982
The Olivia Experiment (Indican Pictures) (3 Theaters)$6,156, Average $2,052
Life After Beth (A24) Week 2 [20 Theaters] Weekend $13,500, Average $675, Cume $34,400
The Trip To Italy (IFC Films) Week 2 [10 Theaters] Weekend $114K, Average $11,400, Cume $221,280
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
What If (CBS Films) Week 3 [680 Theaters] Weekend $652K, Average $959, Cume $2,204,454
Calvary (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [240 Theaters] Weekend $540K, Average $2,250, Cume $1,627,513
Finding Fela (Kino Lorber Films) Week 4 [10 Theaters] Weekend $9K, Average $900, Cume $91,153
Rich Hill (The Orchard) Week 4 [28 Theaters] Weekend $30,297, Average $1,082, Cume $77,120
The Fluffy Movie (Open Road) Week 5 [30 Theaters] Weekend $15,610, Average $520, Cume $2,821,836
Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [787 Theaters] Weekend $1,331,613, Average $1,692, Cume $6,820,938
Alive Inside (Bond/360) Week 6 [16 Theaters] Weekend $21,734, Average $1,358, Cume $150,197
Boyhood (IFC Films) Week 7 [734 Theaters] Weekend $1,864,360, Average $2,540, Cume $16,562,408
Land Ho! (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [51 Theaters] Weekend $85,670, Average $1,680, Cume $362,091
America: Imagine The World Without Her (Lionsgate) Week 9 Weekend $23K, Average $319, Cume $14,413,042
Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC) Week 9 [28 Theaters] Weekend $26,978, Average $963, Cume $4,430,570
Le Chef (Cohen Media Group) Week 10 [6 Theaters] Weekend $5,466, Average $911, Cume $348,133
Obvious Child (A24) Week 12 [15 Theaters] Weekend $25,500, Average $1,700, Cume $3,050,024
Chef (Open Road) Week 16 [105 Theaters] Weekend $151,624, Average $1,444, Cume $29,527,428
Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC) Week 16 [2 Theaters] Weekend $286, Average $143, Cume $1,538,898