With summer tentpoles in full thrust, specialty distributors are maintaining their seasonal role offering up alternative programming for moviegoers not dazzled by the latest studio blitz.
The final full weekend of June included at least a half dozen new limited titles, headlined by Sundance’s The King by Eugene Jarecki, which Oscilloscope opened in two Manhattan locations Friday. The documentary lorded over the pack of newcomers with a $29K gross for a solid $14,525 per theater average, easily the best among the specialties, and the third-best among all titles reporting grosses Sunday.
Magnolia Pictures took the Zellner brothers’ Damsel to three locations in its opening frame, grossing $21K. By far the ‘widest’ opener among among the group was IFC Films’ The Catcher Was a Spy, which bowed in 49 theaters, taking in $122,494 for a $2,520 PTA.
Sony Classics’ Boundaries played five locations in its first weekend, grossing $30,395, while China Lion’s Lobster Cop grossed $35K from a dozen runs and Cohen Media Group doc Spiral grossed $3,682 in its opener from two theaters.
Sundance Selects added several locations for Natalie Portman-narrated documentary Eating Animals in its second outing, grossing $23K. The Orchard/MoviePass Ventures expanded American Animals to 339 theaters in week three, grossing over $576K.
The most friendly number of the weekend, though, goes to Focus’ Sundance doc Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which went to 348 locations in its third weekend, grossing over $1.87M. And Sony Classics’ The Seagull crossed seven figures in its seventh weekend in theaters.
Oscilloscope picked up two-time Sundance Grand Jury prize-winner Eugene Jarecki’s doc The King ahead of its North American premiere at the festival in January. The company began its theatrical journey in downtown Manhattan at IFC Center and uptown at Landmark 57 West with momentum, grossing $29,050 for a $14,525 per theater average, the weekend standard bearer among limited release debuts and among the top tier for a non-fiction debut this year.
““We’re extremely pleased with these early numbers and believe the film will continue to build significant momentum via word-of-mouth as it expands nationally,” the company said Sunday. Jarecki participated in Q&As over the weekend, which will take him on another tour with the film. In the feature, the two-time Sundance Grand Jury prize-winning filmmaker takes Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls-Royce on a musical road trip across America. From Memphis to New York, Las Vegas, and beyond, the journey traces the rise and fall of Elvis as a metaphor for the country he left behind.
Noted Oscilloscope’s Andrew Carlin this week: “Eugene has also been incredibly involved and supportive throughout the process. He’ll be making in-person appearances all across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Memphis, Nashville, Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C.”
The King opens in Los Angeles next weekend at Landmark’s Nuart Theater, with Bay Area expansion to follow July 6. In the coming weeks the title will expand to the top 50 markets and beyond.
IFC Films’ war drama The Catcher Was a Spy with Paul Rudd set out with 49 runs in its initial frame, not surprisingly giving the Sundance debut, the highest absolute gross vs. the weekend’s other specialty debuts. Directed by Ben Lewin, the title took in $122,494, averaging $2,520. The company said the film is a draw for older audiences and picked up momentum going into the weekend. “The word of mouth is strong, evidenced by our overall Saturday gross doubling Friday’s,” an IFC Films exec said Sunday. The feature will open into the rest of the top 50 markets next weekend.
David and Nathan Zellner’s offbeat Sundance Western Damsel starring Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska opened in three New York and L.A. theaters Friday. Released by Magnolia Pictures along with Great Point Media, the film grossed $21K for a $7K PTA. Magnolia said this week it has been directly marketing the title to fans of the talent in the film and the genre as well as arthouse film-goers generally through what the company says is a “robust push on digital media.”
More locations will be added in both cities with additional markets opening June 29 and a further expansion July 6.
Sony Classics road trip dramedy Boundaries with Vera Farmiga and Christopher Plummer had a moderate launch in five New York and L.A. theaters. Directed by Shana Feste, the SXSW ’18 world premiere grossed $30,395, averaging $6,079. The title had some unwanted attention last week following a controversial tweet by Peter Fonda who appears in the film, prompting an official condemnation from SPC ahead of the title’s planned launch and confirmation the feature would open theaters. The title is slated to expand to other major markets the following week including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C. before going to other cities.
Sundance Selects added four runs for Christopher Quinn documentary Eating Animals in its second three-day frame, grossing just over $23K in six theaters ($3,843 average). The Telluride title, which explores the consequences of factory farming, had a strong start in two locations the weekend prior, grossing over $35K for an average of $17,607.
Vertical Entertainment’s Gotti with John Travolta shed 37 locations in its second weekend, still leaving the title in 466 theaters. Gotti grossed $812K, averaging $1,742, down about 47% from its opening $3,320 average. Gotti has cumed over $3.25M.
Doc filmmaker Morgan Neville’s latest, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? continues to expand and draw audiences and box office, already in its third weekend making the Sundance title a major non-fiction contender for the year. The Focus Features release actually added 265 theaters in its third frame vs. last weekend, grossing $1.875M in 348 locations, giving the feature a $5,385 PTA. The weekend prior, the title took in $985K, averaging $10,253. It has cumed $4,131,000.
Gunpowder & Sky added 21 theaters for weekend three of Hearts Beat Loud, grossing $319,349 in a total of 104 locations ($3,070 average), which bodes well for the Brett Haley-directed music-drama starring Nick Offerman and Kiersey Clemons, since this weekend’s per theater average is an uptick from last weekend’s figure at just under $3K. Hearts Beat Loud has cumed $795K.
The Orchard/MoviePass Ventures’ American Animals widened to 339 runs Friday to Sunday from 72 last weekend. The heist-drama by Bart Layton grossed $576,215, averaging $1,700. The title took in over $216K in the previous three-day, averaging just over $3K. This weekend’s gross put into seven figures, bringing its come to over $1.46M.
Also hitting seven figures this weekend was Sony Classics’ The Seagull, which grossed $97,071 in 145 theaters in its seventh outing ($669 average), enough to bring its cume to $1,057,421.
A24’s First Reformed is flirting with $3M. In its sixth weekend, the title grossed $228K in 151 locations ($1,510 average) bringing its cume to over $2.85M.
And the year’s highest-grossing documentary, Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media’s RBG is still holding strong in its ninth weekend. The feature grossed $425K in 209 locations, averaging $2,033 bringing its theatrical cumulative gross to within striking distance of $11M, landing at $10.86M as of Sunday morning.
Boundaries (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $30,395, Average $6,079
The Catcher Was a Spy (IFC Films) NEW [49 Theaters] Weekend $122,494, Average $2,520
Damsel (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $21,000, Average $7,000
The King (Oscilloscope) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $29,050, Average $14,525
Lobster Cop (China Lion) NEW [12 Theaters] Weekend $35,000, Average $2,917
Spiral (Cohen Media Group) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $3,682, Average $1,841
Gotti (Vertical Entertainment) Week 2 [466 Theaters] Weekend $812,000, Average $1,742, Cume $3,253,691
Eating Animals (Sundance Selects) Week 2 [6 Theaters] Weekend $23,056, Average $3,843, Cume $62,390
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Half The Picture (Gravitas Ventures) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,091, Cume $20,924
Hearts Beat Loud (Gunpowder & Sky) Week 3 [104 Theaters] Weekend $319,349, Average $3,070, Cume $795,020
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features) Wee 3 [348 Theaters] Weekend $1,875,000, Average $5,385, Cume $4,131,000
American Animals (The Orchard/MoviePass Ventures) Week 4 [339 Theaters] Weekend $576,215, Average $1,700, Cume $1,461,639
Breath (FilmRise) Week 4 [2 Theaters] Weekend $950, Average $475, Cume $30,970
Rodin (Cohen Media Group) Week 4 [4 Theaters] Weekend $6,432, Average $1,608, Cume $24,108
Summer 1993 (Oscilloscope) Week 5 [17 Theaters] Weekend $22,500, Average $1,324, Cume $133,226
On Chesil Beach (Bleecker Street) Week 6 [22 Theaters] Weekend $12,353, Average $562, Cume $714,671
First Reformed (A24) Week 6 [151 Theaters] Weekend $228,000, Average $1,510, Cume $2,857,677
Beast (Roadside Attractions/30 West) Week 7 [9 Theaters] Weekend $8,135, Average $903, Cume $772,658
The Seagull (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [145 Theaters] Weekend $97,071, Average $669, Cume $1,057,421
The Guardians (Music Box Films) Week 8 [6 Theaters] Weekend $13,582, Average $2,264, Cume $103,761
Disobedience (Bleecker Street) Week 9 [24 Theaters] Weekend $21,811, Average $909, Cume $3,417,444
RBG (Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media) Week 9 [209 Theaters] Weekend $425,000, Average $2,033, Cume $10,863,730
The Rider (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11 [54 Theaters] Weekend $41,646, Average $771, Cume $2,204,280