Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Specialty alternatives to Gravity and Captain Phillips failed to attract significant numbers this weekend as newcomers including Relativity’s Romeo & Juliet release turned in poor-to-adequate numbers. Producers Distribution Agency, which has released a half dozen titles including 2010’s Banksy hit Exit Through The Gift Shop, opened Escape From Tomorrow from first time feature filmmaker Randy Moore in 30 theaters to a so-so $66K ($2,204 PSA). More importantly: Entertainment lawyer/sales agent John Sloss has vowed that this film will be a template in transparency. Sloss told me last week and again this morning that Escape‘s VOD/digital numbers will be reported and he hopes this will encourage others to do the same. VOD numbers have remained a mystery in box office reporting, though it’s widely accepted that they are a huge chunk if not the bulk of many specialty films’ overall gross. I told a rival distributor at the closing night of the New York Film Festival that Sloss/PDA said they would disclose VOD/digital numbers and that person conveyed sympathy for filmmakers, agents etc. for wanting or needing to know the numbers. He also thinks it could be a disservice because the “general public” naturally gravitates to what is popular in terms of numbers and they’ll be exposed to “spin” by the media…
When the VOD/digital numbers for Escape From Tomorrow emerge (Sloss said some should be available this week), they’ll be included in subsequent week’s box office reports or in the Specialty B.O. Preview published Thursdays on Deadline. In the meantime, Sloss said that on the theatrical side, he was “pleased” with the numbers for Escape From Tomorrow, pointing out that most of the film’s weekend runs were midnight showings. “We played for cult status and there are obvious limitations for day and date,” said Sloss Sunday. He shared a quote he had heard over the weekend referencing the film’s Disney connection: “Like our friend Mickey, we’re looking at a long tail there.”
Relativity was keen to distance itself from the Hailee Steinfeld-starring Romeo & Juliet, which opened in 461 theaters to an anemic $1,104 average. Behind the scenes the distributor emphasized the fact that the Shakespeare adaptation was a for-pay release through its new “rent-a-system” program. The pic’s producers fronted all P&A on Romeo & Juliet, which Relativity isn’t claiming as one of their own.
Variance’s God Loves Uganda had a pretty solid bow grossing $7,300 in one New York City location. The doc turns the spotlight on the African nation where it says U.S. evangelicals have campaigned to infuse its social agenda in legislation to an extreme, including proposals to execute gays. “We’re taking it pretty slow and it’s a crowded season,” Variance’s Dylan Marchetti said. “It’s going to L.A. on 18th, D.C. on 25th and San Francisco on the 1st of November. We have bookings coming up through the end of January. We want to get local communities organized in each market. We want people to know where their money is going when they put it in their collection plate.”
FilmBuff banked on Green Day fans to come out for Broadway Idiot, the screen version of the stage version of the band’s hugely popular American Idiot album. FilmBuff reported one location for this film this weekend grossing $6,469. The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete opened in 147 theaters and grossed $260K for a slight $1,769 PSA. The Film Arcade’s Ghost Team One and Archstone’s Cassadaga floundered with the latter averaging $572 in three theaters, while the former did slightly lower with a $564 PSA in 15 locations.
Film Arcade showed more gusto with A.C.O.D., expanding the title into 15 additional theaters in its second weekend. The film grossed just over $36K, averaging $2K in 18 runs. Ketchup took its doc Linsanity into 7 additional runs in its second frame, growing $51,500 and a $3,219 PSA. That’s down from its initial $11,444 PSA in 9 theaters last weekend, but some of this weekend’s newcomers would look at that number with envy. And just in time for the federal government’s implosion, RADiUS-TWC expanded its doc Inequality For All, moving the title into 80 theaters (41 last week) in its third weekend. The film, which spotlights former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich’s campaign to expose the growing income disparity in America, grossed $152,598, averaging $1,907.
Fox Searchlight’s Enough Said continued its run as the top Specialty release of the pack. It placed 11th in the overall box office this weekend, grossing $1.935M, averaging a solid $3,193 in 606 theaters (up from 437 last week). Noted Searchlight Sunday: “[Enough Said continues] to hold extremely well in Art and Specialty houses nationwide, and has started to find a broader audience as evidenced by the very good numbers in many mainstream and upscale multiplexes. The film will expand once again next weekend, adding between 100-125 theatres as we enter our 5th weekend in release.”
As I Lay Dying (Millennium) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,001
Broadway Idiot (FilmBuff) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,496
Cassadaga (Archstone Distribution) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $1,716, Average $572
Escape From Tomorrow (Producers Distribution Agency) NEW [30 Theaters] Weekend $66,112, Average $2,204
The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete (Codeblack/Lionsgate) NEW [147 Theaters] Weekend $260K, Average $1,769
Ghost Team One (The Film Arcade) NEW [15 Theaters] Weekend $8,458, Average $564
God Loves Uganda (Variance Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,300
Romeo & Juliet (Relativity) NEW [461 Theaters] Weekend $509K, Average $1,104
Returning / 2nd Weekend
A.C.O.D. (The Film Arcade) Week 2 [18 Theaters] Weekend $36,066, Average $2,003, Cume $62,505
Grace Unplugged (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) Week 2 [502 Theaters] Weekend $524,400, Average $1,044, Cume $1,748,508
Linsanity (Ketchup Entertainment) Week 2 [16 Theater] Weekend $51,500, Average $3,219, Cume $184,444
A Touch Of Sin (Kino Lorber) Week 2 [6 Theaters] Weekend $19K, Average $3,167, Cume $50,241
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [600 Theaters] Weekend $1.9M, Average $3,100, Cume $8.1M
Inequality For All (RADiUS-TWC) Week 3 [80 Theaters] Weekend $152,598, Average $1,907, Cume $558,369
Generation Iron (Vladar) Week 4 [34 Theaters] Weekend $75,770, Average $2,228, Cume $631,400
We Are What We Are (Entertainment One) Week 3 [13 Theeaters] Weekend $15,823, Average $1,217, Cume $47,061
Wadjda (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [47 Theaters] Weekend $108,569, Average $2,310, Cume $619,255
Austenland (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9 [52 Theaters] Weekend $48,010, Average $923, Cume $1,907,176
In A World (Roadside Attractions) Week 10 [53 Theaters] Weekend $48,300, Average $811, Cume $2,784,016
The Spectacular Now (A24) Week 11 [33 Theaters] Weekend $20,135, Average $610, Cume $6,778,701
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11 [190 Theaters] Weekend $220,736, Average $1,162, Cume $31,663,118
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