James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D, a doc sponsored by National Geographic that features box-office king of the world Cameron diving to the deepest spot in the ocean, ran aground on the shoals of audience indifference in its debut in this weekend’s specialty box office.
Deepsea, directed by John Bruno with Ray Quint, opened in more than 300 locations Friday, a relatively big opening debut for a specialty release. But getting people into those 300+ theaters proved a challenge, as it opened with a soft gross just under $151K, for a per-theater average of just $496. The slow opening is a big contrast with Cameron’s previous diving doc, Ghosts Of The Abyss (which he directed). That doc opened in April 2003 in 97 theaters with a $14,520 PTA, and went on to cume just over $17 million.
But in a weekend where the big films had extremely good box office results, no other Specialty newcomer dazzled this weekend either. That said, other reporting openers did much better on a per-theater average than the challenged Deepsea Challenge. Drafthouse Films opened Toronto ’13 doc The Dog in a pair of theaters, grossing just under $11K ($5,469 theater average). What If from CBS Films, a rom-com featuring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, had the highest PTA among the three debuts, opening in 20 locations and grossing $130K for a $6,500 average.
“The approximately twenty screen comps that we’re working from (include) Promised Land (25 screens, $6,957 PSA), Jane Austen Book Club (25 screens, $5,942 PSA) and The Young Victoria (20 screens, $8,003 PSA), so we’re solidly in that expected range,” CBS said. What If had a slight 3% decline from Friday to Sunday. The company said the title grossed $49,380 Friday vs. $48,106 Saturday. Added CBS: “Based on the CinemaScore and very positive conversation among fans on Twitter we expect great word of mouth as the film continues to expand next weekend.”
Fox Searchlight added 37 runs for the second frame of Calvary, holding onto OK numbers. The feature by John Michael McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd grossed $235K for a $5,732 PTA. Last week, the film averaged $18K from a $72K gross in four locations. It has now cumed $340,650.
The Orchard added three runs for its Sundance documentary winner Rich Hill. It grossed $15K in four theaters, averaging $3,750 ($25,630 cume). Kino Lorber added 3 theaters for the second weekend of Finding Fela. It averaged $2K from a $12K gross ($34,725 cume).
Sony Classics added 105 theaters for Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight, grossing nearly $804K for a $4,729 PTA. The title is actually in 53 more theaters than Blue Jasmine, Allen’s all-time box-office champ, was at this point last year in its release, though that film had already cumed over $7.1M after three weekends. Magic is performing more like Allen’s 2009 Whatever Works, which had cumed $2.42M by its third weekend, though that film was actually in 353 theaters by that point, so Magic may have a bit more momentum. Whatever Works cumed over $5.3M domestically.
Lionsgate/Roadside continues to do solidly with A Most Wanted Man, one of the last performances by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and based on a John Le Carre espionage novel, as it added 79 runs in its third weekend. The cerebral thriller grossed $2,229,225 from 808 theaters, averaging $2,759. A Most Wanted Man also passed the 8-figure cume mark, totaling $10.44 million. Last weekend, the film averaged $4,560 in 729 theaters, from a $3.32M weekend gross.
The Weinstein Company’s summer Specialty stalwart Begin Again handily passed the $14 million cume mark in its 7th outing theatrically. The title is winding down its run, losing 482 theaters from the prior weekend. It grossed $185K, averaging $755. It averaged $957 last week from a $696K gross in 727 theaters. In its 7th weekend, the year’s documentary box office star America: Imagine The World Without Her has a slightly higher $14,318,065 as it shed 357 theaters from a week ago. It grossed $64K for a $529 average. Director Dinesh D’Souza‘s previous doc, 2016: Obama’s America cumed over $33.4 million back in 2012.
Finally, Boyhood expanded to 500 locations in its fifth week (after last week’s 311 theaters), grossing the Richard Linklater-directed feature more than $2 million. Distributor IFC Films said the title starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke held “well at art house and multiplexes.” The distributor continues to support the feature with TV ads and social media. The weekend gross pushes Boyhood into the 8-figure family with a weekend cume above $10.65 million. Boyhood will again expand next week into new markets.
James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge 3D (DisruptiveLA) New [304 Theaters] Weekend $150,939, Average $496
The Dog (Drafthouse Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,938, Average $5,469
What If (CBS Films) NEW [20 Theaters] Weekend $130K, Average $6,500
Calvary (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [41 Theaters] Weekend $235K, Average $5,732, Cume $340,650
Finding Fela (Kino Lorber Films) Week 2 [6 Theater] Weekend $12K, Average $2K, Cume $34,725
Rich Hill (The Orchard) Week 2 [4 Theater] Weekend $15K, Average $3,750, Cume $25,630
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [170 Theaters] Weekend $803,922, Average $4,729, Cume $2,438,140
I Origins (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [101 Theaters] Weekend $40K, Average $396, Cume $314,759
Persecuted (Millennium Films) Week 4 [10 Theaters] Weekend $4,533, Average $453, Cume $1,557,574
Boyhood (IFC Films) Week 5 [507 Theaters] Weekend $2,088,840, Average $4,120, Cume $10,652,220
Begin Again (The Weinstein Company) Week 7 [245 Theaters] Weekend $185K, Average $755, Cume $14,284,600
Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC) Week 7 [71 Theaters] Weekend $65,347, Average $920, Cume $4,278,684
Le Chef (Cohen Media Group) Week 8 [13 Theaters] Weekend $10,740, Average $826, Cume $329,289
Obvious Child (A24) Week 10 [35 Theaters] Weekend $36,765, Average $1,050, Cume $2,970,070
Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon (RADiUS-TWC) Week 10 [3 Theaters] Weekend $609, Average $203, Cume $211,750
Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC) Week 14 [2 Theaters] Weekend $289, Average $144, Cume $1,535,019