Netflix isn’t reporting weekend grosses for Alfonso Cuarón‘s Roma, but we’ve been hearing since Wednesday about sell-out shows at the Landmark’s Pico Blvd Los Angeles and W. 57th New York locations, and Manhattan’s IFC Center, and all in, Deadline industry sources say that the 5-day gross is an estimated $200K which works out to be $66,6K a screen.
That’s very good for a foreign film, and though apples-to-oranges in comparisons, that take is higher than the 3-day opening screen averages of such subtitled fare as Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution ($63,9K) and South Korea’s Battleship Island from CJ ($59,3K) (which both opened on one screen) and Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries ($53,2K average at three sites ) and Pedro Almodovar’s Talk to Her ($52,1K average at two), all of which are some of the best foreign film launches. In addition, the above estimate, isn’t a hard and fast dollar amount: Word is Netflix bought tickets and comped awards voting members.
Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite scored the best opening screen average of the year at $105K off four New York and Los Angeles theaters this weekend or $420K, and that figure includes early shows from Wednesday and Thursday.
Given how great the weekend result was for Roma, the mind boggles why Netflix just doesn’t report an official number: The National Association of Theater Owners recently flogged the streaming giant in the press for their decision to go with what they called “token releases”, and urged them to do more in regards to pushing more product on the big screen. Note, Netflix has been publicly bullish about the power of streaming over exhibition in the past, however, it’s proper to acknowledge that they’re trying to give some justice to an auteur’s theatrical release (even if it’s for Oscar-qualifying purposes) and providing an opportunity for the film to be seen on the big screen. Cuaron was seeking a theatrical release for Roma and Netflix gave him one in advance of the pic’s streaming date, in addition to other titles this awards season including Joel & Ethan Coen’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and the Sandra Bullock film Bird Box.
On Thursday, Roma will further expand to additional U.S. cities, Toronto and London with a further roll out on Dec. 5. The movie will be released globally on Netflix on Dec. 14 with an expanded theatrical release in the U.S. and international markets. In total, the film will be theatrically released in over 30 countries globally with 70mm presentations also being planned during the film’s theatrical release.
Prior to this awards season, Netflix would typically play its big streaming movies exclusively at the luxury iPic Theater chain. Back in October 2015, with the help of Bleecker Street, Netflix opened Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation at 31 theaters on the same day the pic was available on the streaming service. Beasts tanked at the B.O. with a $91K over two weeks. Netflix boss Ted Sarandos told Deadline that in the pic’s first 10-days of streaming, 3M people watched Beasts of No Nation.
Alfonso Cuarón recently lamented on Twitter about the small number of Mexican cinemas showing Roma, and that’s due to the country’s leading exhibitor Cinépolis having a beef with Netflix over the movie’s collapsed theatrical window. Roma is Mexico’s submission to the Oscar’s this year in the foreign film category. Roma is co-produced and financed by Participant Media.