There were close to a thousand limited-release titles that opened in 2016 in North America. Assessing the specialty box office is not as tidy as with the studios. The area requires some subjectivity given when factoring in cast, release strategy and any other number of factors. From well north of 100 distributors, specialties — for the purpose of this article, titles that opened in limited release and spent most of their theatrical rollouts outside of wide release — grossed less than $550M in 2016, according to figures provided by comScore, which provided numbers for all titles assessed in this article.
Numbers from comScore quoted in this year-end assessment include theatrical grosses through Christmas weekend unless otherwise noted. While the service provided the raw data, its senior media analyst, Paul Dergarabedian, gave a shout-out to some titles for their prowess at the box office and beyond.
“While a mixed bag on the blockbuster side of the ledger, specialty distributors delivered some of the most compelling, diverse and best-quality films to grace the big screen in 2016, and the cumulative excellence of these films created a well-deserved aura of quality that surrounded this year’s auspicious crop,” Dergarabedian said. “Titles as diverse as Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Lion, Jackie and A Monster Calls drew accolades, and though they enjoyed varying degrees of box office success, these along with other notable films such as Eye in the Sky, Hell or High Water and Love & Friendship — and far too many other great specialty films to mention — generated a massive amount of goodwill and appreciation for the smaller scale films that the industry had to offer in 2016.”
Roadside Attractions landed atop the heap of exclusively specialty distribution outfits at the box office this year with a combined cume of around $70M among all of its releases. Like a half-dozen of its counterparts, the figure includes releases it did with Amazon Studios, which co-released its titles in partnership with established distributors. Roadside’s co-releases with the online giant include Manchester by the Sea and Love & Friendship, which have been giants among the specialties this year.
Many expected Amazon’s entry into the specialty space to upend conventional practice and some feared a takeover, though Amazon’s head of marketing and distribution, Bob Berney, has a decidedly sanguine outlook.
“It’s exciting to see our films perform along with everyone else’s,” he said. “There’s a growing audience for these kinds of films. … It is crowded, especially now in awards season, but [generally] I don’t think the total audience taps out. There isn’t a ceiling, though it’s tough when your film isn’t quite there and it’s crowded.”
Jack Foley, President of Theatrical Distribution at Bleecker Street: “There’s a lot of good adult films out there, particularly at the end of the year, so it’s a competitive niche. When you can come in at the $5 million-and-above range, you’re doing all right. … What A24 did with Moonlight is brilliant. They got in early, and they have a lot more to come. People played smart with that early-November edge. I think Manchester by the Sea is a tide that lifted all boats.”
Manchester by the Sea and Lionsgate’s La La Land likely will be the year’s top specialty draws before their theatrical lives are completed, but the current reigning title among limited releases is CBS Films and Lionsgate’s late-summer release Hell or High Water by David Mackenzie. The action-drama starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Dale Dickey has cumed $27M at the box office. (Update: Following New Year’s weekend, La La Land and Manchester by the Sea surpassed Hell or High Water to become the No. 1 and No. 2 top-grossing specialty releases of 2016 at $37M and $29.7M, respectively].
Damien Chazelle’s La La Land scored the best per-theater average debut of any title this year — and the 10th-best ever. The musical bowed December 9 in five locations, grossing more than $881K in its first weekend with an impressive $176,221 PTA. A24’s Moonlight had the second-highest opening PTA of the year at $100,519 when it bowed in October.
On the nonfiction side, Quality Flix’s Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, came in at $13M, while Imax’s A Beautiful Planet, featuring narration from Jennifer Lawrence, grossed nearly $7.9 million at the box office. Drafthouse Films’ Where to Invade Next by Michael Moore grossed $3.8 million, while Abramorama’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years grossed $2.9M.
Some studios took the specialty route for some releases this year. 20th Century Fox opened Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures on Christmas Day in 25 locations, and the drama has cumed about $1.46M. Paramount also had a few limited-release bows including Anomalisa ($3.75M) and its Christmas rollout Silence by Martin Scorsese ($227K). It also bowed Fences in mid-December in limited release, though it has since gone wide. Warner Bros released the sci-fi Midnight Special in March in just five locations. The film directed by Jeff Nichols grossed about $3.7M in theaters.
VOD numbers continue to be a closely guarded secret among most distributors, but it’s important to note that some companies such as Magnolia, IFC Films and others regularly release titles day-and-date.
Here is an in-depth look at the 2016 numbers and details for some key specialty distributors:
The online behemoth instantly became a crucial player in the specialty landscape when Deadline announced last January that veteran producer Ted Hope would top Amazon’s original movies creative development and vet distribution exec Bob Berney signed on to lead marketing and distribution at Amazon Studios. Some in the industry quietly (or not so quietly) shuddered that along with rival Netflix, the company would dominate the field. It certainly has made its presence felt, but Amazon Studios has also spread the wealth so to speak. The outfit has released 14 films in 2016 (including this week’s roll-out of Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson), but it has tapped the services of seven distributors to participate in the release of its titles.
Excluding Paterson, which opened Wednesday, Amazon’s 13 other titles have collectively cumed $54.3M, ranking it among the top tier of this year’s specialty companies.
With Roadside Attractions, Amazon released the year’s second-highest grosser as of Christmas weekend, Manchester By the Sea, by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler. Since opening in mid-November, the Oscar hopeful has cumed $21.1M at the box office. The film will likely find further gusto after Oscar nominations are announced this month.
Amazon also partnered with Roadside on its second-highest box office grosser, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny, taking in $14M. Cannes opening film Café Society by Woody Allen bowed via Lionsgate in July. Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart and Steve Carell, the title cumed over $11.1M in theaters, making it a mid-ranging number for Allen. His previous title, 2015’s Irrational Man grossed only $4M, while his 2014 release, Magic in the Moonlight cumed $10.5 million. His 2013 film Blue Jasmine, however, cumed over $33.4 million. Those three were Sony Pictures Classics releases.
Several other Amazon films scored seven-figures on the big screen including Elvis & Nixon ($1.06M, released by Bleecker Street), The Neon Demon ($1.33M, Broadgreen), The Dressmaker ($2.02M, Broadgreen) and The Handmaiden ($1.85M, released by Magnolia).
Amazon did have a slow start with its first theatrical release, Creative Control, which Magnolia opened in March, grossing only $63K. September documentary release, Author: The JT LeRoy Story (Magnolia), grossed about $86K, and August opener Complete Unknown with Erin Drake and Rachel Weisz cumed $175K (IFC Films) in theaters.
“In terms of our slate, it’s been exciting,” said Berney. “Whit Stillman had one of the longest [releases] of the summer. … In 2017, we’ll continue to release films with our partners. It’s an interesting way to do it.” He said Amazon works with its filmmakers in spearheading each title’s marketing and creative strategies and works with its partners to execute the plan, though it has final say. Added Berney: “We’ve found partners that get the model and we want to continue to do it this way.”
Roadside holds the title of the year’s highest-grossing distributor, coming in at just under $70M as of last weekend, according to numbers from comScore. The company touted recently that 2016 was its, “strongest performance in its 13 year history.” The company’s previous highest-grossing year was 2013, when it took in $44.8M. Last year, Roadside grossed nearly $37.4M.
Two films Roadside released with Amazon Studios, Manchester by the Sea ($21.1M) and Love & Friendship ($14M), represented about half of the distributor’s 2016 box office. The two ranked first and third, respectively, among the company’s slate of 11 releases including Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, which it opened in December 2015. The Sally Field comedy-romance Hello, My Name Is Doris placed second in Roadside’s slate with a total of $14.4M.
Manchester by the Sea, incidentally, will overtake Roadside’s former reigning top grosser, Mud by Jeff Nichols, which cumed $21.6M in 2013.
L.A.-based Roadside had six additional films grossing seven figures this year. Michelle and Barack Obama drama Southside With You landed at $6.3M, while April release A Hologram for the King grossed $4.21M. The others are Indignation ($3.4M), Our Kind of Traitor ($3.15M), Priceless ($1.4M) and Genius ($1.36M).
“We’re obviously thrilled,” said Roadside Co-president Howard Cohen. “You do see more feast or famine now generally, though. There are the movies that really work and a lot more that don’t. It tends to be a bit more binary than in the past.”
While praising its high-grossing titles, Cohen said the company will continue to pursue niche titles and foreign-language fare, even as it continues to open “bigger” specialties with star-wattage. “We want to do a mix,” he said. “We’re, of course, happy to do the $20 – 30 million movie, but we’re definitely going to still do smaller indie films.”
As of the Christmas holiday, A24’s overall 2016 theatrical take came to about $66M, a tidy uptick from last year’s roughly $55.5M total, which itself was an impressive number. This year’s total makes A24 the second-highest-grossing specialty distributor following Roadside Attractions — not bad for a company founded only four years ago.
Well over half its gross this year came from two films. February release The Witch zapped $25.13M in theaters, while as of last weekend, Barry Jenkins’ Oscar hopeful Moonlight, was hovering at about $12M. Now heading into its 11th weekend of release, Moonlight will get some extra attention at the box office should it land major Academy Award nominations.
A24 had several other releases gross over seven figures in theaters over the year. Cannes premiere The Lobster with Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz opened in May, grossing $8.7M, while Sundance acquisition Swiss Army Man with Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe came in at $4.2M. And Jeremy Saulnier’s thriller Green Room starring the late Anton Yelchin along with Imogen Poots grossed $3.2M.
Perhaps a disappointment given its festival and critical response was Andrea Arnold’s tour de force American Honey with Shia LaBeouf, Sasha Lane and Riley Keough, which showed promise with a $71,203 gross ($17,801 average) when it opened in late September, though it only amounted to about $663K at the box office. It should be noted that the film came in at more than 2 hours, 40 minutes, so showings were limited in its critical opening time frame.
Additionally, A24 had under a dozen other titles gross four to six figures on the big screen in 2016. Some key titles include Mat Whitecross’ docu Oasis: Supersonic ($242,867); Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow’s docu De Palma ($165,237); Chad Hartigan’s romance Morris from America ($91,151); Drake Doremus’ sci-fi Equals with Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart ($33,258); Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees with Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts ($20,444); Pamela Romanowsky’s thriller The Adderall Diaries with Amber Heard, James Franco and Christian Slater ($13,191); Zoe Kazan’s thriller The Monster ($12,544); and Patricia Rozema’s sci-fi Into the Forest with Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood and Max Minghella ($9,995).
The Weinstein Company
TWC had fewer straight-up wide releases vs. 2015, which included titles like Paddington and Southpaw. Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which actually was a Christmas 2015 rollout, debuted in limited release before going wide just five days later. The feature, which starred Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern and Zoe Bell, grossed $54.1M, with about $40.77M of that figure coming during 2016, making it the company’s highest grosser of the year.
In all, TWC took in $62M, which is actually higher than the company’s gross of about $44.1M it totaled solely from its specialty releases in 2015, though sizably lower than the company’s overall 2015 cume of nearly $293M, when factoring in its “blockbuster” releases from that year. Additionally, it’s now-defunct RADiUS label took in $17.5M in 2015.
Todd Haynes’ Carol, also a late-2015 release, placed second among TWC’s films ranked by gross. Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, it cumed $12.71M, with about $8.9M rolling in during 2016.
Weinstein had several other films gross seven-figures this year. It opened Hands of Stone in over 800 locations in August ahead of going to more than 2,000 theaters, eventually cuming just $4.71M. Its April release, Sing Street, might have been the kind of film that once charmed audiences that were lured to theaters to see the early-’90s hit The Commitments ($14.9M, Fox) or a Trainspotting ($16.49M, Miramax), but despite a slow rollout and later topping out at 525 locations at its widest, the film took in just $3.23M.
Its awards contender, Lion, stood at more than $2.5M as of the end of Christmas weekend, in its fifth weekend of release, and should continue to push up its cume in the coming weeks, especially if its several Golden Globe nominations portend Oscar noms next month.
TWC opened Jane Got a Gun starring Natalie Portman, Rodrigo Santoro, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich last January in more than 1,200 theaters, but its wide rollout didn’t translate. The Western only cumed $1.51M at the box office.
The company’s Dimension label didn’t significantly measure in the year’s final box office. Grosses for its titles — Regression, Clown, Wild Oats and Viral — came in at five figures each.
The company’s primary bread and butter is its wide releases like this year’s Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween ($73.M), The Divergent Series: Allegiant ($66.18M) and Now You See Me 2 ($65M) to name a few. For the purposes of this article, the spotlight will be on the distributor’s limited-release titles as well as those released under its Pantelion and Lionsgate Premiere Releasing labels. For more on Lionsgate’s overall releases, see Deadline’s look at the 2016 studio marketshare.
Subtracting Lionsgate’s wide releases, the company’s specialty titles represented about $47.2M of its overall year take of over $650M. The Western crime drama Hell or High Water leads Lionsgate’s limited-release slate at $27M, or about 57% of its specialty box office for the year. Hell or High Water, which the company released with CBS Films, was still the highest-grossing specialty title of the year as of the end of Christmas weekend, though Manchester by the Sea and its own release, La La Land, will likely surpass it in the coming weeks.
Directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land stood at $17.5M in just its third weekend of release over Christmas. One competitor gave praise to the film’s box office prowess, saying: “La La Land is flooding everything. It’s a zeitgeist film. It has no barriers. The only thing limiting it are the number of seats. I’m amazed by how it’s going.”
Lionsgate also partnered with Amazon Studios on the latter’s title, Café Society by Woody Allen, which took in over $11.1M. Check out more details about the release in Amazon’s section of this article.
Lionsgate’s Latino label, Pantelion, which is a joint venture with Televisa, released two titles this year coming in with seven figures and, perhaps coincidentally, directed by the same filmmaker. Enrique Begne’s Mexican romantic comedy Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer, grossed $1.74M, while his action-comedy Compadres — bowing two months later in April — came in at over $3.12M.
Lionsgate opened Patriots Day with CBS Films over Christmas weekend in seven theaters. As of this Thursday, the title starring Mark Wahlberg, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, J.K. Simmons and Michelle Monaghan has grossed $433K.
Additionally, a dozen-and-a-half titles opened in 2016 under label Lionsgate Premiere Releasing, including Man Down ($454K), Blood Father ($338K) and The 9th Life of Louis Drax ($135K). Together, the features released under the banner represented over $1.2M for the year.
The bulk of Focus’ 2016 releases were wide, though the Universal division’s pivot back to a specialty — well, focus — likely will mean the company’s 2017 roster will look something akin to the days when James Schamus and Andrew Karpen reigned. In all, Focus took in $195.4M in 2016, dominated by the likes of multiplex releases such as London Has Fallen ($62.5M), Kubo and the Two Strings ($48M) and The Forest ($26.5M).
Currently, Focus has three specialty titles in theaters, including Jeff Nichols’ awards hopeful Loving with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga ($7.3M), Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal ($9.8M) and J.A. Bayonne’s fantasy-drama A Monster Calls, which opened Christmas weekend in four theaters. The company reported Monday that the title grossed $42K in four days, averaging $10,542.
Fox Searchlight/Fox International Productions
Searchlight had fewer releases and no titles that reached the heights of its No. 1 film of 2015, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which had a fairly wide release in 1,500 theaters, eventually grossing $33M. Among its 2016 releases, Searchlight totaled nearly $49M vs. $117M in 2015, a drop of about 58%.
The company’s best grosser this year was a 2015 holdover, Oscar-nominated Brooklyn, which grossed $18.7M of its $38.3M cume in theaters this year. Searchlight’s next-highest grosser was its much ballyhooed — at the time — Sundance acquisition The Birth of a Nation, which it picked up for a stunning $17.5M. As anyone tracking the travails of the industry knows, bad news followed filmmaker Nate Parker in subsequent months, which began a well-known cascade of events that led up to its release in October in more than 2,100 theaters. The title’s opening weekend came to just over $7M ($3,327 average), eventually cuming $15.86M.
In summer, the label opened Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie in the U.S. grossing over $4.76M. The number is perhaps below pre-launch expectations, but it is worth noting that the comedy based on the popular ‘90s British television series did gross $32.55M abroad.
Crime drama A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes had a solid start in five theaters in May, grossing $114,419 ($22,884 average), but only went on to cume $2M, while April drama Demolition with Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper cumed just under $2M.
The company’s end-of-year momentum appears to have picked up with the release of Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, starring Natalie Portman as the iconic former First Lady. Jackie grossed $279K in its release earlier in December, averaging a robust $55,743. The film is still in limited release in more than 300 locations but has cumed $5M. Jackie no doubt will continue to lure audiences into 2017.
Fox International Productions opened a half-dozen Bollywood/Indian features in North America, grossing a combined $10.67M in 2016. Its top grossers were Ae Dil Hai Mushkil ($4.26M), Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921 ($2.6M) and M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story ($1.8M).
Also noteworthy is Hidden Figures, a 20th Century Fox release, which had a Christmas Day opening in 25 theaters. The feature with Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer was at $1.25M by midweek.
Broad Green Pictures
Wide releases Bad Santa 2 and The Infiltrator made the bulk of Broad Green’s overall 2016 take, grossing a combined $33M. Overall, the company totaled $37M, just above last year’s $35M. Two of its releases with Amazon Studios, The Dressmaker ($2.02M) and The Neon Demon ($1.33M), represented most of the rest, save for its March release Knight of Cups ($566K).
In all, Broad Green had seven titles in theaters over the year, roughly on par with last year’s half-dozen. The vast majority of Broad Green’s combined 2015 gross came from Ken Kwapis’ A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson, which took in $29.5M at the box office.
Mike Epps starrer Meet the Blacks opened in more than 1,100 theaters in April and dominated Freestyle’s box office for the year, taking in $9M. In all, Freestyle grossed a combined $11M for the year, with some rather slow midsized releases including family-friendly Believe at nearly $887K and Eddie Murphy drama Mr. Church at nearly $686K.
Last year, Freestyle had more than a dozen-and-a-half releases that took in a combined $7.2M.
IFC Films had several titles break into seven figures over the year among its nearly two-dozen releases. In all, the company took in nearly $13.6M at the box office, about 18% higher than its 2015 gross of nearly $11.19M from more than 30 titles in theaters. IFC Films is one of the architects of the on-demand model. As it has done for many years now, the company has opened many of its titles in day-and-date releases across its various labels including Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight as well as IFC Films. Those figures are not disclosed.
British filmmaker Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, starring Charlotte Rampling, held the year’s highest-grossing title. The company opened it over Christmas weekend in 2015. The title grossed $4.1M in 2016 and $4.2M overall. Its April release, The Man Who Knew Infinity, grossed $3.8M in theaters, while its Sundance documentary, Weiner, managed to capture the zeitgeist from the 24-hour news cycle and grossed $1.6M, one of the year’s best for a documentary. The company also opened fellow Sundance title Certain Women, by Kelly Reichardt and starring Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Rosanna Arquette and Laura Dern, in mid-October. It has a cume of over $1.06M.
Additionally, IFC Films co-released two Amazon Studios titles: Wiener-Dog ($454K) and Complete Unknown ($175K).
Sony Pictures Classics
Toronto 2015 debut The Lady in the Van starring Maggie Smith topped Sony Classics’ slate of more than a dozen releases this year, grossing about $10M at the box office, representing nearly one-third of the company’s combined total of nearly $32M.
In 2015, SPC’s total came to $61.6M, according to comScore, buoyed by Still Alice ($18.75M), the rollover of 2014 release Whiplash and Sundance 2015 title Grandma with Lily Tomlin ($6.89M). SPC also released 22 titles in 2015 vs. 15 in 2016.
April release The Meddler with Susan Sarandon, Rose Byrne and J.K. Simmons was SPC’s second-highest grosser of 2016, taking in over $4.26M. The company had seven additional titles break seven figures: Maggie’s Plan ($3.34M); Miles Ahead ($2.61M); docu The Eagle Huntress ($1.97M, still in release); Son of Saul, which opened in mid-December 2015 ($1.65M); I Saw the Light ($1.64M); Equity ($1.6M); and The Hollars ($1.016M).
“We always go after good movies that we think we can find an audience for,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker, explaining that the theatrical experience is still paramount to the company’s strategy. “We are really worried about film critics disappearing and not having the forum they deserve to guide audiences who are looking for guidance. That is hurting American independent film. It’s important to pay attention to critics who write with intelligence. They are more important than ever, and we need to focus on nurturing intelligent film criticism.”
While SPC so far has stayed clear of the day-and-date model, Barker said there might come a time when it will open a film simultaneously in theaters and on-demand. “I think there will be a time we’ll have a movie day and date, but I’ve also said this in the past.”
With nearly three dozen releases, Magnolia had one of the highest number of rollouts among the specialties in 2016. The company is one of the pioneers of the day-and-date model, and its plethora of titles over the year included SVOD, VOD and limited release windows in addition to traditional releases.
On the big screen, Magnolia Pictures took in $9.3M, so one might assume a larger portion of its revenue came through various on-demand platforms. In 2015, Magnolia grossed a combined $7.3M from 26 big screen rollouts.
The company released four titles in conjunction with Amazon Studios in 2016, including Korean thriller The Handmaiden, which placed as Magnolia’s second-best showing at the box office for the year at $1.8M. The others are Gimme Danger ($440K), Author: The JT LeRoy Story ($86K) and Creative Control ($63K).
Magnolia’s highest-grosser was its 2016 Oscar Shorts, the annual collection it opens in theaters featuring nominated short form films. 2016’s collection grossed $2.8M in theaters.
The New York-based distributor founded by former Focus Features co-chief Andrew Karpen in 2015 saw its overall numbers pick up over its launch year, spearheaded by the success of Gavin Hood’s drama thriller, Eye in the Sky, which alone grossed over $18.7M. The feature starring Helen Mirren, Barkhad Abdi and Alan Rickman opened in five theaters in March, grossing $113,803 ($22,761 average), eventually growing to more than 1,000 locations at its peak. The title remained the top theatrical specialty grosser until the fall, when Hell or High Water and, later, Manchester by the Sea as well as La La Land, overtook it in the box office.
“We feel good about the year that Bleecker Street experienced,” said Jack Foley, the company’s President of Distribution. “The biggest positive feeling we get is the success of Eye in the Sky. It was a big acquisition for us and makes a statement about how we can play in that market. … We can look back and say, ‘We did it right.’ It had the older core we always play to, but it also expanded to a younger audience.”
Bleecker Street also opened drama Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen right smack in the middle of summer blockbuster season, though the distributor managed to shave off its share of the box office for the title. Captain Fantastic opened in only four theaters in early July, grossing $93,824 for a $23,456 average. It went on to cume $5.87M in theaters, Bleecker Street’s second-best for 2016.
Added Foley about the release: “We had a protracted presence in a lot of markets with the film. Also a success is the recognition from the Golden Globes and SAGs for Viggo’s work on Captain Fantastic. That made the conclusion of the year extremely satisfying for us. This is the second time we’ve been in the awards competition, after last year’s nomination for Bryan Cranston [Trumbo].”
Along with its other releases including Denial ($4.07M) and Anthropoid ($2.96M), Bleecker Street released Amazon Studios’ drama Elvis & Nixon in April. That film grossed $1.05M.
In all, Bleecker Street came in at $33.6M as of Christmas weekend. Last year, the company totaled about $22.3M, led by Sundance 2015 acquisition, I’ll See You in My Dreams with $7.44M. The company released its second title with Amazon, Paterson by Jim Jarmusch, last week.
Comedy Masterminds was by far Relativity’s biggest cash cow in 2016. The title with Zach Galiflanakis, Owen Wilson and Kristen Wiig bowed in more than 3,000 theaters in September, eventually coming over $17.36M. The company’s other release, The Disappointments Room, also bowed in September, eventually totaling $2.41M, giving Relativity a 2016 cume of $19.77M.
The Indian/Bollywood label grossed $9.55M from its seven releases as of midweek, with about two-thirds of that total coming from recent release Dangal, starring Aamir Khan. The feature, which opened December 2, had cumed $6.53M as of December 28. It was the widest open for a Bollywood title in North America. The label, whose parent is Disney, had one other seven-figure title this year, Mohenjo Daro, which cumed $1.26M. In 2015, UTV had a combined gross of $9.7M from six releases.
The distributor can toast its wide release Bad Moms with Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristen Bell for pushing its 2016 gross into nine figures. The bawdy comedy opened in more than 3,200 theaters, eventually grossing $113.2M, about 81% of STX’s yearly total of over $195.5M. The company had three additional titles come in at eight figures with fellow wide releases The Boy ($35.8M), Free State of Jones ($20.8M) and The Edge of Seventeen ($14.3M).
Two other features scored seven figures this year, including first-person wide release Hardcore Henry ($9.25M) and Jonas Cuaron’s drama Desierto with Gael García Bernal, which has cumed $2 million-plus. The feature opened in October in 73 theaters, grossing over $514K, averaging $7,045.
Well Go USA
The company grossed nearly $8.5M from a dozen releases this year in addition to another carryover from 2015, topping Well Go USA’s cume of about $5.7M. Two films, Ip Man 3 and Train to Busan, grossed over half the year’s box office. China/Hong Kong’s Ip Man 3 took in over $2.67M, while Korea’s Train to Busan grossed $2.17M. Action-adventure Operation Mekong, also a Chinese-Hong Kong production, grossed $800K, while Korean-Japanese thriller-fantasy The Wailing took in just over $707K.
Theatrically, the Orchard took in $7.3M at the box office this year, more than doubling last year’s combined $3M gross. The company regularly opens titles on-demand, though it is comparatively more forthcoming about its VOD grosses. Numbers reported here are only from the big screen. New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s adventure-drama Hunt for the Wilderpeople grossed a cool $5.2M in theaters stateside, while the Orchard’s docu The Music of Strangers by Morgan Neville took in $1.16M. Both films represented about 87% of the distributor’s cume for the year.
The niche distributor which specializes in Chinese-focused fare in North America cumed $4.5M among its 13 releases in 2016 and two 2015 holdovers. Thriller Congqing Hot Pot topped the year’s roster at just under $780K, while romance I Belonged to You came in at over $744K. Action feature Mr. Six landed at almost $710K.
Michael Moore’s first 2016 release, Where to Invade Next, provided the bulk of the distributor’s 2016 gross. The documentary grossed over $3.72M, while Drafthouse maxed at just over $4.1M among all of its year’s releases. Its April thriller, The Invitation, took in over $230K in the box office.
Music Box Films
The distributor scored with Sweden’s Oscar-shortlisted film A Man Called Ove, which has cumed to represent about 58% of Music Box’s 2016 total of $5.3M from 13 releases. French-Polish drama The Innocents, meanwhile, cumed over $1.06M. Last year, Music Box cleared about $4.7M from a dozen releases, led by Sundance documentary Meru, which took in $2.33M.
The Film Arcade
Summer comedy Don’t Think Twice by Mike Birbiglia held the title of best per-theater average of the year when it opened in late July in a single location, grossing nearly $93K; it eventually was overtaken in the PTA race by Moonlight and La La Land. Don’t Think Twice went on to gross $4.41M at the box office, representing the vast majority of the Film Arcade’s 2016 box office of $4.44M. The company also released drama Goat starring Nick Jonas in late September, grossing $23K in theaters.
Documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years crooned in as Abramorama’s best showing of the year in the box office, coming in at over $2.7M, making it the fourth-highest-grossing nonfiction film of the year. The number also made up the majority of the distributor’s nearly $3.1M take from 10 titles including one 2015 holdover.
The company released two titles over the year in limited release, grossing a combined $3M-plus. Indian comedy-romance A..Aa grossed $2.55M, while fellow Indian romantic title Premam came in at over $755K.
Cohen Media Group
Turkish film Mustang, which Cohen Media released in November 2015, played into 2016 with grosses over the year amounting to the company’s highest single number of the past 12 months. The feature took in $678K in 2016 (grossing $845K overall). Meanwhile, French-Czech production Marguerite, which the company released in March, took in $473K. Five of Cohen Media Group’s dozen releases tracked in 2016 cumed six figures this year. In all, the distributor cumed just under $2M from its releases.
Multilingual Colombian/Venezuelan/Argentine adventure-drama Embrace of the Serpent singlehandedly provided the bulk of the company’s combined $1.9M gross from nearly a dozen titles released over the year. Embrace of the Serpent cumed $1.32M. Other top releases include The Fits ($161K) and November release The Love Witch, which stands at about $152K.
The New York-based distributor had one of the highest number of releases in 2016, with more than three dozen in theaters during the year when counting 2015 holdovers. Kino Lorber’s theatrical releases totaled over $1.3M over 2016, headlined by Guatemalan drama Ixcanul (Volcano) at about $290K. Kino Lorber champions foreign narrative and nonfiction fare, including Touched by the Devil, the Dutch documentary about Hieronymus Bosch, which cumed $171K. Its Japanese drama Sweet Bean took in about $115K.
Thirteen titles were tracked for FilmRise in 2016, including one holdover, docu Janis: Little Girl Blue, which opened in late November 2015 and played into this year. Current release Harry & Snowman is the company’s highest grosser, at about $547K. FilmRise’s total box office for the year is at $1.2M from its 13 releases, several of which cumed in the six figures.
The specialized animation distribution company had a half-dozen releases this past year, spearheaded by Japanese drama-romance Only Yesterday, which it opened stateside in February, grossing over $453K. The company opened French animated feature April and the Extraordinary World, featuring a character voiced by Marion Cotillard. The title was the company’s second-highest grosser of the year at nearly $296K. Gkids cumed $1.1M for the year.