More than a dozen new specialty films crowded the box office this weekend, including films from Terry Gilliam, Kevin Smith and singer Nick Cave. Perhaps not surprisingly, overwhelmed audiences hit a saturation point, leaving several new titles with, at best, only decent debut numbers. Despite the competition, Roadside/Lionsgate’s The Skeleton Twins held strong in its second weekend with a sizable expansion, and Snowpiercer continued to release strong VOD grosses alongside its waning theatrical returns.
The Skeleton TwinsOn a straight per-theater average, it was Cave’s 20,000 Days on Earth that easily came out on top. Drafthouse Films is distributing the Sundance 2014 documentary, which centers on writer and musician Cave as he reaches that 20,000th day in his life. The film had one of the  year’s biggest non-fiction debuts, with a $26,873 gross at New York’s Film Forum.
Numbers for 20,000 Days were buoyed by a offsite special event at Town Hall that included a Q&A, screening and performance by Nick Cave.
We are so excited to partner with Drafthouse on this film, having the screening and event at the Town Hall as an off-site venue, along with our opening weekend  Q & A screenings was a perfect way to kick off our exclusive run,” said Film Forum programmer Mike Maggiore.
Rocky Mountain Pictures bowed There’s No Place Like Utopia in July also at a single location, grossing $30,710, though it only went on to cume $45K. By far the year’s highest-grossing doc, America: Imagine The World Without Her, opened with a 12,869 PTA in three theaters on 4th of July weekend, then amassed more than $14.4 million in a two-month run in theaters. Given the legion of Nick Cave fans, 20,000 Days On Earth should have many more days in theaters than did Utopia.
“We are so thrilled that audiences have embraced the film as much as we hoped they would when we saw it at Sundance this past year,” said Drafthouse COO James Emanuel Shapiro. The film will open in five more markets Sept. 26 and expand to another dozen by Oct. 3.
Image (1) tusk__140123190128.png for post 669987Smith’s latest, Tusk, opened in 602 locations this weekend with mixed results after a debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. The feature, released by A24, grossed $886,144 for a $1,472 PTA. Most of Smith’s films released in the 2000s have been wide rollouts, other than 2011’s Red State, which he notoriously had planned to auction off at the Sundance Film Festival but instead essentially self-released the title. Red State grossed just over $204K its first week with a domestic box office come that topped $1.1 million.
Amplify opened Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem theatrically in a rather hefty 63 locations Friday following a pre-theatrical VOD release. In theaters, the film grossed $82K for a slow $1,302 average, though the company indicated it expected its average to be lower because of its non-theatrical window.
“We’re particularly delighted for this gross as the film went out pre-theatrically on VOD,” Amplify said in a release. “Because of that, we weren’t playing the per-screen-average game on this one…Rather than tossing the film in 10 random screens to qualify it for a premium slot on VOD, the film had an honest-to-goodness theatrical release. That kind of thing is better for films, it’s better for our partners at the theater and platform level, and especially for audiences.” The film expands next weekend and remains available on major VOD platforms.
Submarine DeluxePump documentary poster opened fossil-fuel doc Pump in three locations, picking up fairly good momentum. The film grossed $42,177, with $14,059 PTA.
“We are quite happy with this weekend’s outcome,” the company said in releasing its numbers. “Group sales were a primary factor and we look forward to continued growth and awareness as we expand in the coming weeks.” Pump expands to seven theaters next weekend.
Relativity’s Hector And The Search For Happiness bowed in 4 theaters in NYC and L.A., grossing $46K for an $11,500 PTA. The film, which the company acquired for $1 million, had its North American premiere at Toronto and based on the best-selling book of the same name. The company calls it a “quirky, uplifting, feel-good movie that has tested strongly with adults.” Relativity will expand the title to select cities Sept. 26.
Also coming in with an $11,500 PTA in its debut is Oscilloscope’s Art And Craft. The title opened in two locations and will open L.A. next weekend followed by a national expansion in subsequent weeks. Starz Media, meanwhile opened Not Cool in a single location. The company said it is estimating a gross between $14K and $15K this weekend.
In other openers, TWC opened John Curran‘s Tracks with Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver with 4 runs, grossing $21,554 for a $5,389 PTA. Curran’s previous feature Stone opened in 2010, grossing $1.8 million and his 2006  release The Painted Veil grossed just over $8 million.
Keep On Keepin' OnRADiUS opened music doc Keep On Keepin’ On in two exclusive runs in L.A. Friday, grossing $12,195 ($6,098 PTA). RADiUS said it expects the numbers to pick up once the title heads to New York next weekend.
Once again the company is alone in reporting VOD numbers, in this case for The One I Love and Snowpiercer. In its seventh week, the quirky rom-com The One I Love has grossed over $870K, bringing its release tally to $1.35 million when combined with five weeks of theatrical gross.
Snowpiercer, meanwhile, has passed the $7 million mark on VOD in its tenth week, giving the title more than $11.55 million combined VOD and theatrical gross.
Finally, among the week’s debuts, Big World Pictures debuted its narrative-documentary hybrid Stop The Pounding Heart. The feature grossed a slow $2,450 at its single NYC location this weekend.
Roadside/Lionsgate added 34 runs for family dramedy The Skeleton Twins, featuring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. In its second weekend, the Sundance title grossed $447K in 49 theaters for a strong $9,132 PTA. The feature grossed $410K in 15 theaters in its debut last week. Roadside said Twins was No. 1 or 2 in “many of its premium theaters.” Next weekend, Twins will expand to the top 75 markets with around 375 runs.
The biggest second-weekend expansion in terms of locations was Cohen Media Group’s My Old Lady. The title added 159 locations, grossing nearly $486K and a solid $2,859 PTA. The film grossed over $133K in its initial 11 runs last week, averaging $12,145.
eleanor-rigbyTWC also gave its holdover The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them, a fairly big Week 2 push, adding 132 theaters. The title grossed $169,700 for a $1,248 PTA ($259,590 cume). Music Box added 10 locations for The Green Prince‘s second frame, grossing $42,636, averaging just over $3K. The film had a $9,500 PTA in four theaters last week. IFC Films kept Bird People in a single location, grossing $4,100.
Fox Searchlight moved The Drop, featuring one of James Gandolfini‘s last performances, into a truly wide release after opening in over 800 locations last week. It grossed over $2 million in 1,192 theaters ($1,720 PTA). For more details about The Drop, please see my colleague Anita Busch’s story.
Love is StrangeSPC added 10 runs for the fifth week of Love Is Strange‘s theatrical run. The film grossed $231,249 for a $2,065 PTA and a $1,584,603 cume. Pantelion/Lionsgate’s Cantinflas passed the $6 million mark in its 4th weekend as the distributor shed locations for the Spanish-language bio-drama. Cantinflas grossed $250K in 252 theaters.
IFC Films added 45 theaters for the The Trip To Italy in its sixth weekend, grossing $300K in 200 theaters ($1,500 PTA). The feature averaged $3,100 last weekend in 155 theaters. And in its 11th week, the distributor’s powerhouse growing-up tale Boyhood is still showing gusto, grossing$412,050 in 335 theaters ($1,230 PTA). Its cume is now $22.5 million.
NEW
20,000 Days On Earth (Drafthouse Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $26,873, Cume $29,963 (Wed. open)
Art And Craft (Oscilloscope) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $23K, Average $11,500
The Guest (Picturehouse) NEW [19 Theaters] Weekend $82,126, Average $4,322, Cume $111,703 (Wed. open)
Hector And The Search For Happiness (Relativity) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $46K, Average $11,500
Keep On Keepin’ On (RADiUS) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $12,195, Average $6,098
Not Cool (Starz Media) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $14 – 15K (estimated)
Pump (Submarine Deluxe) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $42,177, Average $14,059
Stop The Pounding Heart (Big World Pictures) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $2,450
Tracks (The Weinstein Company) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $21,554, Average $5,389
Tusk (A24) NEW [602 Theaters] Weekend $886,144, Average $1,472
The Zero Theorem (Amplify) NEW [63 Theaters] Weekend $82K, Average $1,302
RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND 
Bird People (IFC Films) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $4,100, Cume $14,200
The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby (The Weinstein Company) Week 2 [136 Theaters] Weekend $169,700, Average $1,248, Cume $259,590
The Drop (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [1,192 Theaters] Weekend $2.05M, Average $1,720, Cume $7,689,701
The Green Prince (Music Box Films) Week 2 [14 Theaters] Weekend $42,636, Average $3,045, Cume $90,023
My Old Lady (Cohen Media Group) Week 2 [170 Theaters] Weekend $485,988, Average $2,859, Cume $683,348
The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) Week 2 [49 Theaters] Weekend $447,500, Average $9,132, Cume $950,497
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
But Always (China Lion) Week 3 [16 Theaters] Weekend $35K, Average $2,187 Cume $388,738
Last Days In Vietnam (American Experience/PBS Films) Week 3 [4 Theaters] Weekend $22,380, Average $5,595, Cume $94,614
No No: A Dockumentary (The Orchard) Week 3 [7 Theaters] Weekend $2,874, Average $411, Cume $37,525
Cantinflas (Pantelion/Lionsgate) Week 4 [252 Theaters] Weekend $250K, Average $992, Cume $6,074,372
Love Is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [112 Theaters] Weekend $231,249, Average $2,065, Cume $1,584,603
The One I Love (RADiUS-TWC) Week 5 [35 Theaters] Weekend $18,623, Average $532, Cume $481,547; VOD Week 7, Cume 870,170
The Trip To Italy (IFC Films) Week 6 [200 Theaters] Weekend $300K, Average $1,500, Cume $2,153,874
Calvary (Fox Searchlight) Week 8 [99 Theaters] Weekend $54K, Average $545, Cume $3,480,446
Rich Hill (The Orchard) Week 8 [6 Theaters] Weekend $3,196, Average $533, Cume $114,024
Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9 [203 Theaters] Weekend $,154,805 Average $763, Cume $10,198,386
A Most Wanted Man (Roadside Attractions) Week 9 [193 Theaters] Weekend $142,250, Average $737, Cume $16,926,697
Boyhood (IFC Films) Week 11 [335 Theaters] Weekend $412,050, Average $1,230, Cume $22,560,966
Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC) Week 13 [17 Theaters] Weekend $7,318, Average $430, Cume $4,542,859; VOD Week 10, Cume $7,015,817