In another crowded box-office weekend, Focus Features‘ debuting biopic The Theory Of Everything lured relatively big crowds to its story about physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, easily reigning over the weekend’s many newcomers with one of the year’s biggest per-theater averages.
The feature, which stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, grossed $207K in five theaters, for a robust $41,400 PTA. That bodes very well for the title directed by James Marsh, whose doc Man On Wire took Best Documentary at the Oscars in 2009. The opening is also a sizable jump from Marsh’s previous narrative film, 2013’s Shadow Dancer, which opened in two theaters, grossing $10,672. The title went on to cume more than $100K domestically.
The Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman still have by far the year’s highest PTAs, at $202K and $106K respectively. Another of the year’s big indie films, Boyhood, averaged $77,524 in 5 theaters in July. Open Road’s Chef bowed with a comparatively smaller $34,160 PTA in 6 theaters last May, but went on to cume more than $31.4 million. The Theory Of Everything‘s debut certainly suggests the film also can look forward to a long theatrical run.
“We are very, very pleased,” said Focus’ head of distribution Jim Orr Sunday morning. “It’s resonating with audiences and the [exit] surveys we conducted showed that [the film] played very well across all demographics. It has outstanding performances with great direction by James Marsh. I believe the performances, the film itself and the director will be getting Academy attention.”
Orr said that this weekend’s audience skewed 62 percent female and younger audiences propped up the film’s late-night showings in New York and Los Angeles.
“‘Definite recommend’ scores were well above the norms across gender and age segments,” Focus said in a release. “The excellent ratings for the film were also double the norm across all segments.”
Focus will expand The Theory Of Everything to 40 theaters in 18 markets across North America next week and will maintain a measured expansion over the next couple of weeks before going fairly wide on the Thanksgiving weekend.
Veteran vérité filmmaker Frederick Wiseman opened his 39th documentary National Gallery exclusively at New York’s Film Forum on Wednesday, just ahead of his 85th birthday. It grossed $9,650 Friday to Sunday and has a five day $12,766 cume. The three-hour feature limited the number of daily screenings to only three per day in a 140-seat theater, Zipporah Films said in a release on Sunday.
“[The film] was met with universal critical acclaim, being designated a Critic’s Pick by the New York Times, a Critics’ Choice by Time Out NY and a recommended film by the Village Voice,” the company said in a release this morning. National Gallery will head to Boston and Washington DC next weekend, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago on Nov. 21 before rolling out to an additional 25 markets later in November and December as it heads out nationally.
In other openers, Hannover House had the weekend’s highest number of theaters among limited-release titles for On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter. The feature grossed $343,876 in 231 theaters for a $1,489 average. Revolver Films and Vitagraph’s Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain bowed in a single location grossing $6,150. Distrib Films’ Italian comedy Viva La Liberta opened in two NYC locations, grossing $6,300 ($3,150 PTA) while The Vladar Company’s Death Metal Angola grossed $2,500 in one theater.
Kino Lorber’s Jean-Luc Godard-directed 3D feature Goodbye To Language remained solid in its second weekend, remaining at the same two Manhattan locations where it opened last week. It grossed $21K for a strong $10,500 average. Language will add runs in the coming week, adding locations in Minneapolis, Toronto and San Rafael, CA. Noting the challenge for 3D screens in art houses, Kino Lorber said that negotiations continue for venues in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and other major markets, though the film’s holdover prowess in NYC should help.
The Orchard’s doc Point And Shoot held its exclusive run at New York’s Sunshine Theater, grossing $4,389. The company noted that the Tribeca Best Documentary winner continued to be the No. 1-grossing title at the theater for the second week. Point And Shoot will open at L.A.’s Nuart next week ahead of November debuts in Boston, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, St. Louis and Baltimore. It will be in the top 50 markets by Dec. 5.
RADiUS added two theaters for SXSW Film Festival best doc winner The Great Invisible, grossing $4,162 ($832 average). Last week the film opened with a $4,616 gross ($1,539 PTA) from three locations. Its two-week cume is $10,542. The distributor shed 81 theaters for Daniel Radcliffe-starrer Horns. The film grossed $7,928, averaging just $360. It had opened in 103 theaters last week, grossing over $104K ($1,013 average). Horns‘ slow theatrical performance hasn’t hurt its VOD reach, which RADiUS said had topped $1 million as of last weekend.
Citizenfour, RADiUS’ much-heralded documentary by Laura Poitras on NSA leaker Edward Snowden continues to expand and maintain in the box office. It added 22 locations in its third week, grossing almost $208K for a $3,523 PTA. Last weekend, the film, a likely awards-season frontrunner, grossed $210K in 37 theaters. Its three-week cume is now $667,293.
Fox Searchlight’s Birdman by Alejandro González Iñárritu had a sizable 231 theater expansion in its 4th weekend, maintaining an impressive pace. The film grossed $2.3 million, averaging almost $5K per theater. Birdman placed 11th in the overall box office and its overall cume is now just over $8 million.
“The hold is tremendous for the film and we are continuing to be encouraged by the reviews and the new regional openings,” Searchlight said in a release. “We are beginning to see some traction in theaters that are not traditionally known for their ability to play specialized product. Michael Keaton’s outstanding performance seems to be an attraction in many of these venues.” Birdman will be in 800 theaters by Nov. 14.
Bhopal: A Prayer For Rain (Revolver Films/Vitagraph Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,150
Death Metal Angola (The Vladar Company) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $2,500
National Gallery (Zipporah Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,650, Cume $12,766 (Wed. opening)
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter (Red Bull Media House) NEW [231 Theaters] Weekend $343,876, Average $1,489
The Theory Of Everything (Focus Features) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $207K, Average $41,400
Viva La Liberta (Distrib Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $6,300, Average $3,150
Before I Go To Sleep (Freestyle Releasing) Week 2 [820 Theaters] Weekend $360K, Average $439, Cume $2,991,304
Goodbye To Language 3D (Kino Lorber) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $21K, Average $10,500, Cume $83,827
The Great Invisible (RADiUS) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $4,162, Average $832, Cume $10,542
Horns (RADiUS) Week 2 [22 Theaters] Weekend $7,928, Average $360, Cume $164,146
Point And Shoot (The Orchard) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $4,389, Cume $12,205
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Citizenfour (RADiUS) Week 3 [59 Theaters] Weekend $207,834, Average $3,523, Cume $667,293
Laggies (A24) Week 3 [306 Theaters] Weekend $258,264, Average $844, Cume $461,018
Low Down (Oscilloscope) Week 3 [7 Theater] Weekend $8K, Average $1,143, Cume $28,190
Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me (Area23a) Week 3 [11 Theaters] Weekend $36,255, Average $3,296, Cume $186,805
Birdman (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [462 Theaters] Weekend $2.3M, Average $4,978, Cume $8,086,252
Dear White People (Roadside Attractions) Week 4 [175 Theaters] Weekend $388,485, Average $2,220, Cume $3,523,878
Awake: The Life Of Yogananda (Counterpoint) Week 5 [21 Theaters] Weekend $86,100, Average $4,100, Cume $447,442
Whiplash (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [88 Theaters] Weekend $346,732, Average $3,826, Cume $1,556,972
The Blue Room (Sundance Selects) Week 6 [17 Theaters] Weekend $5,525, Average $325, Cume $231,238
Keep On Keepin’ On (RADiUS) Week 7 [7 Theaters] Weekend $4,791, Average $684, Cume $129,494
Pride (CBS Films) Week 7 [53 Theaters] Weekend $50K, Average $943, Cume $1,373,008
Art And Craft (Oscilloscope) Week 8 [9 Theaters] Weekend $9K, Average $1K, Cume $200,608
My Old Lady (Cohen Media Group) Week 9 [46 Theaters] Weekend $55,526, Average $1,207, Cume $3,728,595
The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions) Week 9 [51 Theaters] Weekend $50,310, Average $986, Cume $5,164,172
Boyhood (IFC Films) Week 18 [20 Theaters] Weekend $17,400, Average $870, Cume $23,883,691