Focus Features’ awards hopeful Suffragette marched atop the Specialty Box Office’s sizable group of openers this weekend, just weeks after bowing at home in the U.K. The feature starring Carey Mulligan averaged over $19K in four theaters, giving the title the weekend’s highest PTA as of Sunday morning overall. Laurie Anderson’s personal essay doc Heart Of A Dog from Abramorama opened in a single theater grossing $14,750, while Broad Green Pictures’ Sarah Silverman starrer I Smile Back began its release in two locations, grossing just over $16K. A24’s Room, meanwhile, continues to sizzle in a second-week expansion, averaging just over $11K.
Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette starring Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep demonstrated some initial box office prowess over the weekend. The Focus title grossed $77K in four New York and Los Angeles, averaging $19,250, outpacing all other movies in terms of PTA. Suffragette’s London Film Festival premiere was met with protests on the red carpet ahead of its theatrical bow at home, where it has grossed over $4.5 million as of last week. Though the film had a solid start, its opening numbers are not hell-raising. Suffragette did see momentum, however, with its Saturday grosses jumping 39% from Friday.
“What helped us was that the tide was turning,” said Gavron this week, commenting on pulling the project together. “The world and industry were becoming more aware of feminism. There has been a lack of movies by women. Four or five years ago, this may have not happened.” Next week, Suffragette will head to nine additional cities in 22 theaters.
Abramorama opened performance artist/musician/director Laurie Anderson’s personal documentary Heart Of A Dog in an exclusive engagement at New York’s Film Forum Friday. The film, which won an award in Venice and played the recent New York Film Festival grossed $14,750 (the weekend’s second highest in terms of PTA) over the weekend, giving it a $19,388 combined gross since opening Wednesday. Near-universally strong reviews have buoyed the feature as it heads to the Nuart on November 6 along with an expansion in NYC. Abramorama will expand Heart Of A Dog across the country November 13. The company noted this week: “It’s booked everywhere and will be on screen well into 2016.”
Sarah Silverman’s I Smile Back began its run in two theaters Friday. The Awards hopeful opened in theaters, grossing just over $16K, giving it a comparatively soft $8K PTA. Broad Green Pictures told me this week that they had initially slated the title for a straight day and date release, but decided to put off I Smile Back’s on-demand component until November 6 after the company said Silverman’s acting chops gained attention. “The most important element is Sarah Silverman’s performance and we’re getting [that feedback from] critics and word of mouth screenings,” said Travis Reid, president of Theatrical Distribution at Broad Green Pictures earlier this week. “Press has said it’s worthy of Academy consideration [and] because we think it’s a contender, we wanted to figure out how to get the widest audience possible in this competitive [season].”
Broad Green opted for a collapsed theatrical window, opening the title at the Sundance Sunshine in L.A. and the Angelika in New York in order to up its prestige perception and to concentrate on potential Academy members and influencers ahead of its expansion and on-demand run. Reid said this week that the company had estimated a $4-5,000 PTA its opening weekend, so unless the distributor gave a low-end figure, the PTA is actually better than expected. “Our release theatrically is much less about the gross we get as it is about getting reviews etc.,” said Reid. “We’re looking to maximize viewership and revenue on VOD, and the theatrical drives that.”
Fox’s FIP label released Bollywood wedding feature Shaandaar in 136 North American theaters (in addition to 44 other countries). The title grossed $424K, averaging $3,118 on these shores. The feature opened in 132 theaters Thursday, before picking up several more locations the next day, giving it a $472,856 total gross. “The release is simultaneous across the world as we need to counter piracy and the audiences of Bollywood films prefer to watch the film the same weekend it releases in India,” said Rohit Sharma, Head of International Sales & Distribution Sales at Fox Star Studios India earlier this week.
In other openers, Truth Aid and Amplify opened Difret, executive produced by Angelina Jolie. The film, set in Ethiopia, grossed $7,100 at a single New York location. The film expands next week to Washington, D.C. with a rollout continuing through the end of the year. The Orchard launched Sebastián Silva’s Nasty Baby with Kristen Wiig in two theaters. The Sundance ’15 feature grossed just over $8K, giving it a slow $4K average and Kino Lorber bowed Patricio Guzman’s new documentary The Pearl Button at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center in New York. The title is another chapter in the director’s (Battle of Chile, Nostalghia For the Light) exploration of the “tragic histories of repression in his native Chile.”
A24’s added 19 runs and six markets for the second weekend of its Awards contender Room, starring Brie Larson. The film held solid, grossing $254,357 in 23 theaters, giving it an $11,059 average. The distributor noted the title’s 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and word-of-mouth for propelling the film as it expanded this weekend. Added A24: “Emma Donoghue’s award-winning book, which she adapted for the screen, is also back on the best-seller list as profile for the Oscar contender continues to grow.” Opening weekend, Room grossed $120K in four theaters ($30K PTA).
SPC added a dozen theaters for Truth’s second frame. The film, starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford grossed $117,616 in 18 theaters, averaging a so-so $6,534. Last weekend, it opened in 6 theaters, grossing $76,646 ($12,774 average). Truth played well this weekend at critic Peter Biskind’s Film Columbia festival in upstate New York, perhaps a sign it may have a long tail. For now though, it’s cume is $213,105.
Gravitas Ventures added several runs for its doc All Things Must Pass. The Colin Hanks-directed film grossed $30K over the weekend, averaging $3,750 in 8 theaters. It had opened in 2 locations last week, grossing $20K.
China Lion’s Goodbye Mr Loser continues to show momentum in its third weekend. The feature, which has been a blockbuster dazzler at home in China, grossed $130K in North America, averaging $3,823 in 34 theaters in its third frame. Loser is also the niche distributor’s highest grossing title ever at over $1.143 million. The company said it is continuing to roll out the title in additional markets.
And The Orchard is inching closer to $1 million on VOD with its documentary Oscar contender, Cartel Land. The Sundance feature by Matt Heineman has grossed just over $703K in 17 weeks theatrically and $965K in four weeks across various on-demand platforms.
Difret (Truth Aid/Amplify) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,100
Heart Of A Dog (Abramorama) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $14,750, Cume $19,388
Nasty Baby (The Orchard) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $8,023, Average $4,012
Schandaal (FIP) NEW [136 Theaters] Weekend $424K, Average $3,118, Cume $472,856 (Thursday Open)
Suffragette (Focus Features) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $77K, Average $19,250
I Smile Back (Broad Green Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $16,036, Average $8,018
The Pearl Button (Kino Lorber) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $6K, Average $3K
All Things Must Pass (Gravitas Ventures) Week 2 [8 Theaters] Weekend $30K, Average $3,750, Cume $55,444
Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (Reliance) Week 2 [28 Theaters] Weekend $38,614, Average $1,379, Cume $183,795
Room (A24) Week 2 [23 Theaters] Weekend $254,357, Average $11,059, Cume $409,251
Truth (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [18 Theaters] Weekend $117,616, Average $6,534, Cume $213,105
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Goodbye Mr Loser (China Lion) Week 3 [34 Theaters] Weekend $130K, Average $3,823, Cume $1,143,269
Ladrones (Lionsgate/Pantelion) Week 3 [221 Theaters] Weekend $220K, Average $995, Cume $2,810,754
Freeheld (Lionsgate) Week 4 [101 Theaters] Weekend $60K, Average $594, Cume $451,653
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (Kino Lorber) Week 4 [18 Theaters] Weekend $27K, Average $1,500, Cume $122,604
He Named Me Malala (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [140 Theaters] Weekend $158K, Average $1,129, Cume $1,971,918
Labyrinth Of Lies (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [65 Theaters] Weekend $92,715, Average $1,426, Cume $326,753
Talvar (Reliance) Week 4 [8 Theaters] Weekend $5,436, Average $679, Cume $340,434
Finders Keepers (The Orchard) Week 5 [3 Theaters] Weekend $410, Average $137, Cume $34,522; VOD 3 Week Cume: $85K
Goodnight Mommy (RADiUS) Week 7 [80 Theaters] Weekend $81K, Average $1,013, Cume $965,640
The Second Mother (Oscilloscope) Week 9 [4 Theaters] Weekend $2,500, Average $625, Cume $355,464
Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10 [102 Theaters] Weekend $92,148, Average $903, Cume $6,646,453
Cartel Land (The Orchard) Week 17 [1 Theater] Weekend $350, Cume $703,046; VOD 4 Week Cume: $965K