Specialty newcomers had mostly decent starts in the first weekend of June. FilmRise’s doc The Witness technically had the weekend’s highest overall per theater average in its exclusive engagement, grossing $15K, while Oscilloscope’s feature The Fits, also in a single location, bowed with $11,300. Two foreign entries in their debuts really took the spotlight, though. India’s A…Aa and Korea’s The Wailing from BlueSky Cinemas and Well Go USA, respectively, opened at multiple theaters, attracting large audiences. Box office stars Love & Friendship from Amazon/Roadside Attractions and A24’s The Lobster continued strong with sizable expansions this weekend, closing out their first months in release. The Lobster edged over $4M this weekend, while Love & Friendship topped $7M.
Korean supernatural thriller The Wailing by Hong-Jin Na bowed in 32 theaters over the weekend to a solid start, extending its box office gusto to this side of the Pacific. The Well Go USA release grossed $224,700 over the weekend, which also includes the take from a Thursday preview screening, giving it a per-theater average of $7,022. The title had played another preview engagement at L.A.’s CGV Theaters late last month, grossing $77,892. Well Go noted that gross would have given it an initial $31,500 PTA. In all, its cume is $302,592.
The distributor noted that The Wailing had “sell-outs across the country in both arthouse theaters and venues that serve communities with heavy Korean-American concentrations. “It is sporting a lovely 100% on RT and a great amount of social media,” the company added.
“We do films for the diaspora audience, but for this, we’re doing something different,” said Well Go USA SVP Dylan Marchetti earlier this week. “For Korean films, we’ll target particular theaters with Korean concentrations, but once we saw this, we did a quick pivot. We still wanted [to target] the Korean audience, but we also thought this plays to the arthouse crowd.” The Wailing opened in South Korea just after Cannes, grossing $40 million so far, according to Well Go.
Well Go USA will expand The Wailing on Friday to additional arthouse theaters and will platform out through the summer with an additional 20-30 theaters planned over the next few weeks including such top key markets as Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, Portland, Austin, Philadelphia, Orlando and others.
Outshining though was BlueSky Cinemas’ romantic comedy A…Aa starring Nithiin, Samantha Ruth Prabhu and Nadia Moidu. The title, which was also released over the weekend in India, proved a lucrative lure, grossing $1.35M in 126 North American theaters, averaging a solid $10,714.
FilmRise’s The Witness, however, technically gets bragging rights for the weekend’s highest overall PTA. The doc, which details the notorious 1964 Kitty Genovese murder reputed to have been witnessed by dozens of Queens residents refusing to help, fittingly had an exclusive showing in New York, grossing $15K.
“This is one of the most dramatic and suspenseful films I’ve seen in a long time,” said FilmRise president Jack Fisher earlier this week. “This is about the love of a sibling to find out about his sister’s murder and to find justice for her. It contains one of the most beautiful and emotional scenes I’ve seen in my life.” FilmRise will add additional locations in the coming weeks.
Also attracting crowds in its exclusive showing was Oscilloscope’s The Fits, which had its debut at last year’s Venice Film Festival (which financed the film in a competition) and later at Sundance. Starring newcomer Royalty Hightower, the feature grossed $11,300 over the weekend at the Metrograph theater in New York. The film “sold out numerous shows,” according to the distributor Sunday. O-scope will open the title, directed by Anna Rose Holmer, in several Los Angeles-area runs next Friday with a national roll-out planned throughout June.
Cavu Pictures bowed bio-documentary Art Bastard, about New York artist Robert Cenedella, in two locations grossing $19,600, averaging a cool $9,800. Cavu will take the title to the Angelika in Washington, D.C. next weekend ahead of rolling it out at the Laemmle Monica June 17. It will continue into select cities nationwide throughout the summer. And Abramorama opened fellow doc Time To Choose by Oscar-winner Charles Ferguson in six locations. The title grossed $12K for a comparatively slower $2K PTA.
Last week’s newcomers were mostly absent in reporting opening numbers, and they mostly stayed away this weekend as well. One exception is WRA Prod. LLC’s Holy Hell, which grossed $2,500, averaging $1,250 bringing its two-week cume to $16,675.
Sony Classics added 15 runs for Maggie’s Plan in its third frame. In 34 theaters it grossed $153,811, averaging $4,524, only about an 19% drop from the previous weekend’s $5,547 PTA in 19 locations ($105,387 gross). Its three-week cume is now $406,729.
Sundance Selects took Sundance Film Festival-winning doc Weiner to 31 additional locations for the film’s third weekend. The title grossed $215,180 for a still solid $3,710 PTA. The distributor noted Sunday that the doc “continues to open strong in new markets, while creating strong word-of-mouth” for existing theaters. Weiner will head to the top 25 markets next weekend.
A24 gave The Lobster its biggest push to date, adding 444 runs for the film’s fourth weekend. In 560 theaters, the feature grossed $1,550,067, averaging $2,768, crossing just over $4 million.
Likewise, Love & Friendship by Amazon/Roadside Attractions had a sizable expansion a month into its release. The title grossed just over $2.16M in 819 theaters, averaging $2,627. The weekend gross pushed the film over $7M.
In its sixth week, IFC Films’ The Man Who Knew Infinity is just shy of $3M. The film grossed $283,680 over the weekend ($1,440 average) giving it a cume of $2,939,419.
SPC’s The Meddler appears to have peaked last weekend with 420 runs. In its seventh frame this week, the feature starring Susan Sarandon played 188 fewer locations, though it still showed momentum in its 232 remaining theaters, grossing nearly $258K, averaging $1,112. Its cume is now $3,648,033.
A…Aa (BlueSky Cinemas) NEW [126 Theaters] Weekend $1.35M, Average $10,714, Cume $1,850,000
Art Bastard (Cavu Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $19,600, Average $9,800
The Fits (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $11,300
Time To Choose (Abramorama) [6 Theaters] Weekend $12K, Average $2K
The Wailing (Well Go USA) NEW [32 Theaters] Weekend $224,700 (includes Thurs. preview screening), Average $7,022, Cume $302,592 (includes a special preview engagement)
The Witness (FilmRise) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $15K
Holy Hell (WRA Prod. LLC) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $2,500, Average $1,250, Cume $16,675
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Almost Holy (The Orchard) Week 3 [10 Theaters] Weekend $3,540, Average $354, Cume $11,842
Maggie’s Plan (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [34 Theaters] Weekend $153,811, Average $4,524, Cume $406,729
Weiner (Sundance Selects) Week 3 [58 Theaters] Weekend $215,180, Average $3,710, Cume $607,221
The Lobster (A24) Week 4 [560 Theaters] Weekend $1,550,067, Average $2,768, Cume $4,000,024
Jimmy Vestwood: Amerikan Hero (Oky Dody Prod.) Weekend $10,703, Average $1,784, Cume $168,108
Love & Friendship (Amazon/Roadside Attractions) Week 4 [819 Theaters] Weekend $2,160,120, Average $2,627, Cume $7,042,494
A Bigger Splash (Fox Searchlight) Week 5 [220 Theaters] Weekend $160K, Average $727, Cume $1,723,530
Dark Horse (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [26 Theaters] Weekend $45,434, Average $1,747, Cume $199,362
The Man Who Knew Infinity (IFC Films) Week 6 [197 Theaters] Weekend $,283,680 Average $1,440 Cume $2,939,419
A Hologram For The King (Roadside Attractions) Week 7 [26 Theaters] Weekend $13,490, Average $519, Cume $4,142,590
The Meddler (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [232 Theaters] Weekend $257,878, Average $1,112, Cume $3,648,033
Sing Street (The Weinstein Company) Week 8 [57 Theaters] Weekend $,46K Average $807, Cume $2,894,583
Louder Than Bombs (The Orchard) Week 9 [ Theaters] Weekend $525, Average $175, Cume $163,059
Eye In The Sky (Bleecker Street) Week 13 [43 Theaters] Weekend $28,821, Average $670, Cume $18,434,104
Hello, My Name Is Doris (Roadside Attractions/Stage 6 Films) Week 13 [68 Theaters] Weekend $48,650, Average $715, Cume $14,279,374