Looks like relatively few Specialty-goers took refuge in theaters from the East Coast cold this weekend, though some politicos took time off from campaign-watching to check out the new Michael Moore film Where To Invade Next, which bowed in a few hundred theaters. It is the highest grossing documentary of the year and the second Moore title to gross seven (or more) figures in its opening week, though how far it will go remains to be seen. It certainly outshined the modest starts of its fellow openers. Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong bowed in 10 theaters, grossing just over $12K, while Roadside’s Touched With Fire edged a bit higher with nearly $17K in a half dozen theaters. Best Picture nominees Brooklyn, Spotlight and Room still showed luster — all playing in hundreds of locations cashing in on awards momentum during an otherwise slow Specialty weekend.
Dubbed by some as a ‘friendlier’ Michael Moore movie, Where To Invade Next is one of his highest debuts, landing in 308 theaters, grossing $933,240 for a $3,030 theater average and topping just over a million since opening earlier this week.
“The original release date was before Christmas, but then we didn’t think it would be good with Star Wars opening,” said Tom Quinn, the former RADiUS co-head who is spearheading the film’s release with fellow RADiUS principal Jason Janego and Drafthouse Films’ Tim League. “We saw some daylight in February being in the middle of Primary Season and opening on [President’s Day] weekend.” Quinn, Janego and League have not said what their label’s name is yet, but they reported their numbers Sunday as ‘Drafthouse Films,’ so there you go. Where To Invade Next is Moore’s first film since his 2009 feature Capitalism: A Love Story, which Overture Films opened in four theaters grossing just under $232K ($57,991 average). It went on to cume over $14.3 million.
“We’re releasing the film as an ‘aggressive documentary,’ but not on the [scale] of a Fahrenheit 9/11 or Sicko,” said Quinn this week. “It’s a great Michael Moore movie, it exists quite well in this election climate. It’s a movie that will be relevant all year long and will likely have a longer ancillary life than his last two movies. These movies will and should continue to exist theatrically.”
Kino Lorber’s Mountains May Depart, the Chinese 2015 Cannes title by Jia Zhangke, had the weekend’s highest PTA though it played a single location. The feature grossed $6,400. Roadside Attractions opened Katie Holmes Touched With Fire starring Holmes and Luke Kirby in six theaters Friday. The film had a slow start to the Presidents Day weekend, grossing just under $17K. Touched With Fire debuted at last year’s SXSW Film Festival under the title Mania Days and will add a couple dozen markets next weekend.
Among holdovers, The Orchard added 21 locations for Southbound. The Toronto and Fantastic Fest title also bowed on-demand February 9, grossing $205K. Theatrically it took in $14,200 for a two-week $23,665 cume. China Lion shed 5 runs for The Monkey King 2 in 3D in its second frame, but it still held decently. The film grossed $117K in 33 theaters, averaging $3,545. The Monkey King 2 opened in 38 locations last weekend grossing $175K ($4,605 average).
Best Picture nominees Brooklyn, Spotlight and Room all lost hundreds of theaters vs. the previous weekend, but they’re still the shining beacons of the current Specialty lineup. Fox Searchlight’s Brooklyn played 208 fewer theaters from last week, but still managed to gross seven figures. Starring Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan, the title grossed $1.12 million in 495 theaters, the widest release of the three films. It has cumed over $34.27 million in 15 weeks. Also an early November release, Open Road’s Spotlight played 455 theaters, down by 213 from the previous weekend. The feature grossed over $750K, averaging $1,649. It has the largest cume of the trio at over $37.25 million. Room starring Best Actress nominee Brie Larson is playing 316 theaters this weekend. In its 18th week of release, the title by Lenny Abrahmson grossed just over $412K, averaging $1,304 and has cumed almost $12M.
Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong (Eammon Films) NEW [10 Theaters] Weekend $12,125, Average $1,213
Mountains May Depart (Kino Lorber) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,400
Where To Invade Next (Drafthouse Films) NEW [308 Theaters] Weekend $933,240, Average $3,030, Cume $1,032,630
Touched With Fire (Roadside Attractions) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $16,955, Average $2,826
The Monkey King 2 In 3D (China Lion) Week 2 [33 Theaters] Weekend $117K, Average $3,545, Cume $428,434
Southbound (The Orchard) Week 2 [25 Theaters] Weekend $14,200, Average $568, Cume $23,665; VOD (2/9 start): $205,048
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
The Lady In The Van (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [130 Theaters] Weekend $548,604, Average $4,220, Cume $1,968,016
Anomalisa (Paramount) Week 7 [72 Theaters] Weekend $70K, Average $972, Cume $2,393,000
45 Years (Sundance Selects) Week 8 [237 Theaters] Weekend $485,850, Average $2,050, Cume $2,714,850
Son Of Saul (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9 [50 Theaters] Weekend $72,998, Average $1,460, Cume $986,016
The Danish Girl (Focus Features) Week 12 [88 Theaters] Weekend $85K, Average $966, Cume $10,778,199
Janis: Little Girl Blue (FilmRise) Week 12 [3 Theaters] Weekend $4K, Average $1,333, Cume $377,264
Carol (The Weinstein Company) Week 13 [141 Theaters] Weekend $169K, Average $1,199, Cume $12,104,994
Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight) Week 15 [495 Theaters] Weekend $1.12M, Average $2,263, Cume $34,271,253
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Submarine Deluxe) Week 15 [ Theaters] Weekend $, Average $, Cume $
Spotlight (Open Road Films) Week 15 [455 Theaters] Weekend $750,665, Average $1,649, Cume $37,256,577
Room (A24) Week 18 [316 Theaters] Weekend $412,064, Average $1,304, Cume $11,964,042