Two new Specialty debuts managed decent bows in a weekend dominated by studio releases. Sundance Selects opened German director Christian Petzold’s Phoenix in a pair of locations Friday, while Broad Green Pictures did the same for its third release, Samba by French filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, the duo behind the2012 international box office hit The Intouchables. Pantelion/Lionsgate, meanwhile, opened thriller The Vatican Tapes with over several hundred runs in a soft start. Sony Pictures Classics added 23 theaters for Woody Allen’s latest, Irrational Man, in its second weekend, holding solid results, while Roadside Attractions/Miramax nearly doubled the number of theaters for Mr. Holmes, which landed at No. 9 in the overall box office.
Broad Green Pictures opened its third release, Samba, over the weekend. The feature by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano grossed $24,101 at The Landmark in L.A. and the Paris Theatre in New York, averaging a decent $12,050. Samba, which stars Charlotte Gainsbourg and Omar Sy, is the follow-up to Nakache and Toledano’s wildly successful 2012 release, The Intouchables (which also featured Sy). The Weinstein Company opened Intouchables in May 2012 in four theaters, grossing over $103K ($25,877 average), going on to cume $10.2M domestically. The title grossed blockbuster proportions globally, totaling in the mid 8-figures. Samba, which takes on the topic of immigration, is identifiable across cultures, but will likely not have the same kind of pick-up.
“The Intouchables was the second-highest-grossing French film ever, though this is a very different film,” said Broad Green President of Theatrical Distribution Travis Reid earlier this week. “We think it’s a great film that was also a breakout hit [in Toronto].” Broad Green will expand Samba in the New York and L.A. areas and will take the title to the top 25 markets around August 7.
Sundance Selects debuted Christian Petzold’s Phoenix in two locations Friday, grossing over $28K, averaging $14,105. Phoenix, which stars Nina Hoss, is Petzold’s follow-up to his 2012 Berlinale winner, Barbara, which opened in December of that year with only a $63,410 gross in 15 theaters ($4,227 average), but went on to pick up sizzle and ultimately gross over $1M stateside. “The plan has always been for it to be a traditional art house release,” said IFC Films and Sundance Selects President Jonathan Sehring earlier this week. “It screened at [Brooklyn Academy of Music] recently and the reviews and response have been great.” Sundance Selects will expand the feature in both New York and L.A. and will continue to roll out the title slowly throughout the summer.
The weekend’s biggest Specialty debut was Pantelion/Lionsgate’s thriller, The Vatican Tapes, starring Djimon Hounsou and Michael Peña. The feature grossed $850K in 427 theaters, giving it a somewhat slow $1,991 screen average.
The Film Arcade did not report numbers for its weekend debut, Unexpected, by Kris Swanberg as of early afternoon Sunday. Additionally, Magnolia and Samuel Goldwyn did not report figures for their respective releases Tangerine and Lila & Eve.
Sony Classics added 23 theaters for Irrational Man’s second weekend. The Woody Allen-directed title grossed nearly $261K in 28 theaters, averaging $9,318. That places it slightly behind last year’s Magic In The Moonlight, which grossed close to $741K in 65 theaters last year, averaging $11,396 in its second weekend. Moonlight went on to come over $10.5 million. SPC will take Irrational Man wide August 7.
IFC Films added 13 runs for The Stanford Prison Experiment’s second frame. The title, starring Billy Crudup and Ezra Miller, grossed $58,890, averaging $3,926, a significant drop from its $20,162 average when it opened in two theaters last weekend. The film, which will expand to the top twenty markets next weekend, has cumed over $116K.
2015’s most successful box office doc, Amy, maintained momentum, though it shed 65 runs from the previous weekend. The title grossed another $700K in 370 theaters, averaging $1,892. Last weekend the title grossed nearly $1.1M in 435 theaters, averaging $2,524. Noted A24 Sunday: “Amy continues to be one of the indie breakout hits of the summer, passing previous Oscar winner 20 Feet From Stardom ($4.94M cume) this weekend, as it continues to climb the rankings of highest grossing documentaries in recent years.” Amy’s one-month cume is now over $5.5M.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s Brian Wilson feature Love & Mercy crossed $12M. The title grossed over $135K in 126 theaters in its 8th weekend, averaging $1,074. Roadside noted the cume threshold put it “in the range of last year’s Oscar contenders Foxcatcher ($12M) and Whiplash ($13M) — and in position for an awards campaign this fall.”
And Bleecker Street’s I’ll See You In My Dreams crossed the $7M mark over the weekend. The title grossed $110,643 in 103 theaters, averaging $1,074.