UPDATED at 11:20AM PT with more numbers and analysis. In a mixed weekend for specialty openers. the leading newcomer by far is American Animals. Backed by The Orchard and MoviePass Ventures, the film grossed $140,633, averaging $35,158, one of the best debuts of 2018. 

The Sundance debut was directed by Bart Layton and stars Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner and Jared Abrahamson. The strong launch offered MoviePass some positive news during an otherwise trying stretch for its parent company, Helios & Matheson as investors and industryites continue to question the viability of the MoviePass subscription model.

Other debuts were more sobering. IFC Films opened A Kid Like Jake, grossing $9,063 in an exclusive showing in New York. FilmRise bowed Australian-set Breath, also with one run, taking in $5,700. Cohen Media Group rolled out Jacques Doillon’s French-language feature, Rodin, in two theaters, grossing $6,551.

Well Go USA added showings of How Long Will I Love U in its second frame, grossing $170K in 32 theaters, while Magnolia expanded doc The Gospel According to André to 21 locations, taking in $82K.

A24’s First Reformed topped seven figures in its third weekend, grossing over $455K from 91 runs. RBG became the highest-grossing film in the 17-year history of Magnolia Pictures this weekend, reaching almost $7.9 million to overtake last year’s I Am Not Your Negro.

Most of the weekend’s box office conversation centered on American Animals, whose breakout was more surprising than some known entries this year from commercially tested directors and talent, like Isle of Dogs or The Death of Stalin. The true-story heist movie, shot in a kinetic style, impressed more than a few critics, posting an 84% positive score on Rotten Tomatoes and 63% on the more stern Metacritic. Audiences are fueling word of mouth, though, with the audience score on Rotten Tomatoes at a stellar 98% after the opening.

“Coming out of the weekend, we’re thrilled with audience reaction,” said Paul Davidson, EVP, Film and TV at The Orchard Sunday morning. “Social media is a buzz with people coming out of the film and people are saying it’s the indie hit of the summer. It’s great to see the enthusiasm and it gives [momentum] as we expand.”

According to The Orchard, American Animals was the top movie overall at The Landmark and Arclight Cinemas. Deadline’s Anthony D’Alessandro also reported this morning that the film ranked No. 2 at New York’s Regal Union Square and No. 3 at AMC’s Lincoln Square and noted that the top finish at the Arclight was impressive given that the complex does not accept MoviePass cards. Davidson praised the partnership with MoviePass, which acquired the film with The Orchard out of Sundance in what was reported at the time as a $3M deal.

“This has been an equal partnership, making the widest swath of people aware,” said Davidson. “We started early on the campaign and that was key, but it’s just the first weekend, so we have a long way to go.”

The debut tops other top-tier releases from The Orchard, including 2016 title Hunt For the Wilderpeople, which grossed $78,439 in five theaters in its opening weekend (a $15,688 average) and went on to cume $5.2M. The Overnight, a 2015 release starring Jason Schwartman, grossed $53K in three locations, averaging $17,674 and finishing with a cume of $1.11M.

American Animals will expand to 30 to 50 locations next week. The feature will reach about 500 theaters by June 22.

Last weekend’s top debut, How Long Will I Love U from Well Go USA, expanded to 32 runs this weekend, doing decently in its sophomore frame. The Chinese romance grossed $170,700 Friday to Sunday, averaging $5,334. The weekend before, How Long took in $210K, averaging $9,130. Its cume now stands at $501K.

Magnolia doc The Gospel According to André was on How Long Will I Love U’s heels last week and it followed in Week 2 as well. The doc about about fashion guru/tastemaker André Leon Talley grossed $82K in 21 locations, averaging $4,100. The film, directed by Kate Novack, played four locations in its launch over Memorial Day weekend, grossing $44,500 in the three-day, averaging $11,125. It has now cumed $166,841.

An even bigger story for Magnolia is fifth-weekend co-venture with Participant Media, RBG. The documentary about Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg grossed $1.1M for the weekend in 432 theaters, for a still-impressive $2,546 average, just an 8% drop from last weekend’s $2,771. The film has topped I Am Not Your Negro, which last year took in $7,123,919, to become the top all-time release by Magnolia.

Among other second-weekend holdovers, IFC Films’ Mary Shelley played seven additional runs, grossing $14,459 in nine theaters ($1,606 average). Faring a bit better was Oscilloscope’s Summer 1993, which collected $15,500 in five locations, averaging $3,100. FilmRise’s Who We Are Now had two more runs in its second weekend, grossing $5,500 in three theaters, averaging $1,833.

Bleecker Street expanded On Chesil Beach by 63 runs for its third weekend. The title grossed $142,400 in 89 locations ($1,600 average). It has cumed $345,606.

A24’s First Reformed grossed $455,435 in 91 theaters, averaging $5,005 and bringing its cume to $1,057,231.

Focus Features’ Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word passed the $1.5M mark. The doc by Wim Wenders grossed $150K in 273 locations.

Bleecker Street’s Disobedience went over $3M in its sixth frame. The title grossed $211,271 in 158 locations (down from 224 last week), averaging $1,337. Its cume is now $3,056,788.

Sony Classics added 117 runs for The Rider, which is in its second month in release. Directed by Chloé Zhao, the feature grossed another $243,055, averaging $1,085, to push its cume past $1.74M.

NEW RELEASES

American Animals (The Orchard/MoviePass Ventures) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $140,633, Average $35,158

A Kid Like Jake (IFC Films) [1 Theater] Weekend $9,063

Breath (FilmRise) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $5,700

Rodin (Cohen Media Group) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $6,551, Average $3,276

 

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

The Gospel According To André (Magnolia Pictures) Week 2 [21 Theaters] Weekend $82,000, Average $4,100, Cume $166,841

How Long Will I Love U (Well Go USA) Week 2 [32 Theaters] Weekend $170,700, Average $5,334, Cume $501,521

Les Parents Terribles (Cohen Media Group) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $1,416, Cume $8,545

Mary Shelley (IFC Films) Week 2 [9 Theaters] Weekend $14,459, Average $1,606, Cume $36,505

Summer 1993 (Oscilloscope) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $15,500, Average $3,100, Cume $50,186

Who We Are Now (FilmRise) Week 2 [3 Theater] Weekend $5,500, Average $1,833, Cume $12,221

 

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

On Chesil Beach (Bleecker Street) Week 3 [89 Theaters] Weekend $142,400, Average $1,600, Cume $345,606

First Reformed (A24) Week 3 [91 Theaters] Weekend $455,435, Average $5,005, Cume $1,057,231

Pope Francis – A Man Of His Word (Focus Features) Week 3 [273 Theaters] Weekend $150,000, Average $542, Cume $1,568,000

Always At the Carlyle (Good Deed Entertainment) Week 4 [23 Theaters] Weekend $18,212, Average $792, Cume $90,613

Beast (Roadside Attractions/30 West) Week 4 [92 Theaters] Weekend $87,610, Average $952, Cume $629,563

Mountain (Greenwich Entertainment) Week 4 [14 Theaters] Weekend $36,000, Average $2,571

The Seagull (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [52 Theaters] Weekend $130,573, Average $2,511, Cume $526,526

The Guardians (Music Box Films) Week 5 [7 Theaters] Weekend $4,766, Average $681, Cume $64,987

RBG (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media) Week 5 [432 Theaters] Weekend $1,100,000, Average $2,546, Cume $7,875,859

Disobedience (Bleecker Street) Week 6 [158 Theaters] Weekend $211,271, Average $1,337, Cume $3,056,788

Let The Sunshine In (Sundance Selects) Week 6 [68 Theaters] Weekend $80,068, Average $1,177, Cume $696,489

The Rider (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8 [224 Theaters] Weekend $243,055, Average $1,085, Cume $1,742,994

Isle Of Dogs (Fox Searchlight) Week 11 [129 Theaters] Weekend $135,000, Average $1,047, Cume $31,400,447

The Death of Stalin (IFC Films) Week 13 [27 Theaters] Weekend $29,102, Average $1,078, Cume $7,943,777