Menemsha Films’ Russian-English language drama Natasha, Kino Lorber’s New York Times doc Obit and Well Go USA’s existential Buster’s Mal Heart starring Rami Malek topped a somewhat quiet Specialty box office weekend. The exception was Bollywood title Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, which is reporting over $10.1M in box office from over four hundred locations – see Deadline’s studio box office report for more on that title. Action sci-fi title Sleight opened with 565 runs grossing $1.69M, but the otherwise highest-grossing Specialty release of the weekend went to Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street’s The Lost City of Z in its third frame at over $1.7M. IFC Films’ Citizen Jane expanded in its second weekend with fairly solid results, while newcomer Neon’s first release, Colossal, crossed $2M. Also crossing a threshold was Oscilloscope’s popular feline doc Kedi, which now stands at over $2.5M.
BH Tilt’s sixth release Sleight had the weekend’s highest grossing first-weekend roll-out among the Specialties (minus Baahubali 2, which cracked the top 10). The genre title, directed by J.D. Dillard, grossed $1.69M in 565 theaters, giving it a $2,991 per theater average. The distributor said Sunday that its opening gross fell “in the expected range of $1.5 – $2M for the three-day period.” The film’s production budget was $250K. The feature, which stars Jacob Latimore, Dule Hill, Seychelle Gabriel and Storm Reid, had a 57% male, 43% female breakdown, with 72% of the audience in the 18 – 34 age range. It was also 45% African American, 27% Caucasian and 22% Latino according to the company.
“[The marketing campaign], which was created and overseen by BH Tilt and funded by independent parties, was digitally heavy and cost just single digit millions,” the company said Sunday. BH Tilt said it was forging a middle-ground with the Sundance pick-up, noting that films of this genre typically open wide or go “straight to VOD,” explaining: “BH Tilt wanted to see if there could be an efficient middle ground for select movies that are aimed squarely and exclusively at the dedicated horror audience.”
Aside from Baahubali 2 and Sleight, most of the newcomers this weekend opened in theaters numbering in the single digits. Menemsha Films’ English and Russian-language drama Natasha grossed $9K from its exclusive run at New York’s Lincoln Plaza Friday to Sunday. The company said it is planning to go “very slow with this film,” adding that it will hold off expanding next weekend, but will go shortly “city by city throughout the country” beginning with L.A., followed by Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, which have the largest Russian-speaking audiences as well as the key art house crowds. Added Menemsha: “The film is more than 50% in Russian language and geared towards fans of prize winning author David Bezmozgis and Russian American immigrant audience.”
Kino Lorber Films opened documentary Obit in two locations in New York Friday. The title grossed $17,407, averaging $8,703. “We’re very happy with the New York grosses and know that the word of mouth is spreading fast,” said the company Sunday. “Audiences are also enjoying the multiple Q&As we have scheduled at Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza, as this is a rare opportunity to interact the talented team at The New York Times…” Kino Lorber will head to the Nuart in L.A. next Friday followed by San Francisco and Washington, D.C. May 12 with additional markets slated for May 19.
Straight out of sold-out screenings this past week at the Tribeca Film Festival, Well Go USA opened Sarah Adina Smith’s cross-genre Buster’s Mal Heart, starring Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek exclusively at the Angelika in New York Friday. The film grossed $7,800 Friday to Sunday. Malek and Smith took part in Q&As (disclosure, I moderated one Saturday night) to enthusiastic packed crowds. Buster’s Mal Heart will head to other cities in the coming weeks.
Abramorama bowed music doc Bang! The Bert Berns Story last Wednesday at IFC Center. Over the weekend, it grossed $4,227. Abramorama’s Richard Abramowitz noted Sunday the title had a “very successful festival run and now fans are starting to discover Bert Berns, one of the most successful songwriters of the ‘60s.” It will open in Los Angeles next week, with another 25 dates already set for May and more following in June and into the summer.
Oscilloscope launched One Day A Week in exclusive engagements in New York and L.A., grossing $9,500 in three locations ($3,167 PTA). The company said Sunday the early figures were, “perhaps more modest than we had hoped” but still thinks it will “find its audience as it expands across the country.” One Week And a Day will add locations in South Florida, San Fransisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Next weekend, the film will begin its expansion with runs in Los Angeles, Boston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Washington DC and Seattle, on its way to over 50 engagements in May.
China Lion’s Battle of Memories was the only other Specialty opener to report grosses in dozens of locations Sunday. The feature bowed in 42 theaters, taking in $210K, giving it a $5K average.
A24 shed 253 runs for Free Fire in its second frame. The title grossed nearly $288K in 817 theaters, averaging just $351. Last weekend, it took in over $1.03M in 1,070 locations, averaging $972. Free Fire’s two-week cume is $1,700,850.
IFC Films added four runs for doc Citizen Jane: Battle For the City in its second weekend. In six locations, it grossed $30,120, averaging $5,020. The title took in nearly $34K last weekend in two theaters, averaging $16,880. Its two-week cume is just over $79K. The Orchard, meanwhile, added 14 locations for its non-fiction title Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent also in its second frame. Jeremiah Tower grossed $36,258 in 16 theaters, averaging $2,266. In its bow last week, it grossed just over $24K, averaging right above $12K. It has cumed $56,526.
Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street’s The Lost City of Z jumped its runs by 252 in its third weekend of release. Z grossed a solid $1.73M in 866 theaters, averaging $2K (-43%). Last weekend it grossed over $2.14M in 614 theaters, averaging $3,497. The film has cumed over $4.83M.
Sony Classics added 29 runs for Richard Gere starrer Norman: The Moderate Rise & Tragic Fall Of a New York Fixer in its third weekend of release. The title grossed $235,627 in 47 locations, averaging $5,013. Last weekend it took in nearly $137K in 18 theaters ($7,601 average). Norman has cumed $540,585.
Music Box Films played A Quiet Passion with Cynthia Nixon in an additional 27 runs also in its third outing. The feature grossed $86,683 in 40 locations, averaging $2,167. The film grossed $78K in 13 theaters last weekend, averaging $6K. It has cumed $267,141.
Neon’s Colossal with Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis crossed $2M in its fourth weekend of release. In 326 theaters, it grossed over $502K, averaging $1,540. Last weekend it played 224 theaters, grossing over $584K ($2,609 average).
Focus Features’ The Zookeeper’s Wife with Jessica Chastain is closing in on $15M. The film grossed over $997K Friday to Sunday in 997 locations ($1K average). Last weekend, it grossed over $1.47M in 1,033 theaters, averaging $1,425. It has cumed $14,813,420.
Oscilloscope’s Turkish cat documentary Kedi continues to be a draw, now in its third month of theatrical release stateside. Kedi purred over the $2.5M box office threshold this weekend from a $31K three-day gross in 39 locations, averaging $795, brining its 12 week-total to $2,521,698.
And TWC’s Lion was the only title of the year’s big specialty Oscar heavyweights to give weekend numbers. Lion has been in theaters 23 weeks, though obviously on its final stages. It grossed $32K in 65 theaters Friday to Sunday, averaging $492 for a cume of $51,678,498.
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (Great India Films) NEW [425 Theaters] Weekend $10,138,189 (from 420 theaters reporting), Average $31,281
Bang! The Bert Berns Story (Abramorama) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4,227
Battle Of Memories (China Lion) NEW [42 Theaters] Weekend $210,000, Average $5,000
Buster’s Mal Heart (Well Go USA) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,800
Natasha (Menemsha Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,000
Obit (Kino Lorber Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $17,407, Average $8,703
One Week And A Day (Oscilloscope) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $9,500, Average $3,167
Sleight (BH Tilt) NEW [565 Theaters] Weekend $1,690,000, Average $2,991
Citizen Jane: Battle For the City (IFC Films) Week 2 [6 Theaters] Weekend $30,120, Average $5,020, Cume $79,120
Free Fire (A24) Week 2 [817 Theaters] Weekend $287,818, Average $352, Cume $1,700,850
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent (The Orchard) Week 2 [16 Theaters] Weekend $36,258, Average $2,266, Cume $56,526
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (Abramorama) Week 3 [16 Theater] Weekend $30,907, Average $1,932, Cume $94,164
Finding Oscar (FilmRise Releasing) Week 3 [16 Theater] Weekend $5,500, Average $344, Cume $14,635
I Called Him Morgan (Submarine Deluxe/FilmRise Films) Week 6 [8 Theaters] Weekend $4,264, Average $533, Cume $109,998
The Lost City of Z (Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street) Week 3 [866 Theaters] Weekend $1,732,559, Average $2,000, Cume $4,833,385
Norman: The Moderate Rise & Tragic Fall Of a New York Fixer (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [47 Theaters] Weekend $235,627, Average $5,013, Cume $540,585
A Quiet Passion (Music Box Films) Week 3 [40 Theaters] Weekend $86,683, Average $2,167, Cume $267,141
Tommy’s Honour (Roadside Attractions) Week 3 [60 Theaters] Weekend $40,500, Average $670, Cume $491,756
All These Sleepless Nights (The Orchard) Week 4 [3 Theaters] Weekend $846, Average $282, Cume $17,423
Colossal (Neon) Week 4 [326 Theaters] Weekend $502,130, Average $1,540, Cume $2,071,714
Their Finest (EuropaCorp Films/STXfilms) Week 4 [330 Theaters] Weekend $460,000, Average $1,403, Cume $1,780,000
Truman (FilmRise Releasing) Week 4 [22 Theaters] Weekend $25,000, Average $1,136, Cume $141,392
The Zookeeper’s Wife (Focus Features) Week 5 [997 Theaters] Weekend $997,225, Average $1,000, Cume $14,813,420
The Belko Experiment (OTL Releasing) Week 7 [83 Theaters] Weekend $40,970, Average $494, Cume $9,693,915
Frantz (Music Box Films) Week 7 [43 Theaters] Weekend $34,589, Average $804, Cume $798,474
Donald Cried (The Orchard) Week 9 [1 Theaters] Weekend $117, Cume $60,586
Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 12 [39 Theaters] Weekend $31,000, Average $795, Cume $2,521,698
Neruda (The Orchard) Week 20 [3 Theaters] Weekend $2,318, Average $773, Cume $934,748
Lion (The Weinstein Company) Week 23 [65 Theaters], Weekend $32,000, Average $492, Cume $51,678,498