The weekend opening of Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk provided some box office zest in an awards season that has had its share of doldrums. Directed by Barry Jenkins, the film, which is his follow- up to the 2016 Oscar Best Picture winner Moonlight, did not roll out with the apex numbers of the latter’s opening frame. But Beale Street nevertheless showed solid zeal. If Beale Street Could Talk had a $219,173 take in four locations Friday to Sunday, averaging $54,793.
Other openers were comparatively modest. Sony Classics opened Cannes Jury Prize winner Capernaum in three locations, grossing $27,588. The numbers gave the title an estimated $9,196 per-theater average, which, given the fact it’s an Arabic language film and a title some have had difficulty pronouncing, may not be bad, given the difficulty of releasing non-English language films stateside, save for something like Roma, though, of course, those numbers are not fully known.
Lars von Trier’s latest, The House That Jack Built from IFC Films, had an even slower start in theaters, though the title is also available on-demand and it played more runs compared to other weekend debuts. Starring Matt Dillon, the title grossed $40,436 in 33 locations, averaging $1,225.
Focus Features jumped Mary Queen of Scots to 66 theaters in its second frame to a solid expansion. Starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, the historical drama grossed $700K, averaging $10,607, bringing its cume to $963K. The film’s second outing was a bright spot among the weekend’s small group of holdovers. Ben Is Back, starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges from LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate, expanded to 29 runs, grossing an estimated three-day $145,543, averaging $5,018. Neon’s Vox Lux with Natalie Portman fared dismally in its second weekend, bringing its location count to 325, taking in $244K for a $751 PTA. It has cumed $433,211.
Searchlight’s The Favourite, meanwhile, continues to be a standout. Starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, as well as Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as her aristocratic suitors, the title played 439 theaters Friday to Sunday, grossing $2.57M, averaging $5,854 in its fourth outing. The weekend total placed it 12th in the overall box office as of Sunday morning, though all of the titles above it were in far more theaters.
Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk opened to good numbers Friday, which was actually its strongest day. Overall, the title, based on the book by James Baldwin, grossed an estimated $145,543 in the three-day, averaging $54,793, the eighth-best PTA of the year, just above Amazon Studios’ Beautiful Boy, which averaged $54,722 in its opening frame.
“We always knew how incredibly special and wonderful Barry Jenkins’ Beale Street is, and are happy that audiences feel the same way,” commented Annapurna’s president of Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “We had great exits and a diverse audience that loved the performances and really responded to the love story, which is both timeless and timely. We are thrilled.”
Annapurna’s estimates had Beale Street grossing $81,575 Friday, while it fell 6% Saturday to $76,444. Beale Street’s launch gives the the film momentum as it expands in the coming weeks, though it’s tempered compared to the filmmaker’s previous film, Moonlight, which set a bar that’s a challenge to replicate. Released via A24, Moonlight grossed $402K in four theaters in its launch in four theaters, giving it a $100,519 PTA. It went on to cume $27.85M. Searchlight’s The Favourite is the only title to have a six-figure opening frame PTA this year.
Annapurna will expand If Beale Street Could Talk to the top 25 markets in between 65 and 70 theaters next weekend going into Christmas. The feature will then be in the top 75 markets January 4, followed by the top 150 by January 11. The feature will then go wide January 18.
Lebanon-born filmmaker Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum bowed in three theaters over the weekend, grossing $27,588, giving the Cannes Jury prize winner a $9,196 average. The PTA is a bit more than half that of the Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters’ opening average. That film, by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda, grossed over $89K when Magnolia opened it stateside in November, averaging $17,853 in five theaters.
Still, given the challenge non-English films currently face in the US, Capernaum’s numbers did show some silver lining. “It is more difficult than ever theatrically and also difficult on the small screen as well,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker earlier in the week ahead of Capernaum’s theatrical launch. “You just hope that a film like Capernaum has the ability to cross over. That does happen two or three times a year.”
The House That Jack Built by Danish director Lars von Trier was slower in the box office, though the title, which stars Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman and Riley Keough, was also available via digital/VOD. The dramedy/horror was also in 33 theaters in its opening frame. The House of Jack Built grossed $40,436, averaging $1,225.
Ahead of the weekend roll-out of The House That Jack Built, IFC Films gave a one-day slate of screenings of the director’s cut of the film November 28, prompting a verbal tussle with the MPAA over ratings, though it’s hard to believe parents might blindly take their kids to see a von Trier film.
IFC Films’ previous von Trier release, Antichrist with Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, grossed over $71K in its first outing in six theaters, averaging $11,900. It went on to cume $404K in theaters, though again, it presumably did much better on demand.
Also opening this weekend was GKIDS bio-doc Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki , which had a one night event showing in 377 locations Thursday while playing several regular runs Friday to Sunday. In all, the title grossed $67,416, with Thursday representing $59,371 of that total.
Focus Features added 62 runs for Mary Queen of Scots in its second weekend. Starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, the company reported a $700K estimated three-day gross, averaging $10,607. Mary Queen of Scots bowed in four locations the previous weekend, grossing nearly $195K, averaging $48,694.
“We did special Dolby ATMOS screenings with AMC last week, along with our regular sneak previews in new markets on Thursday, which bumped up our Friday number,” noted Focus Sunday when reporting its weekend numbers. “If you take those ATMOS shows out of Friday, we are up 51% from Friday to Saturday.” Focus added that it will expand Mary Queen of Scots to about 700 runs next weekend.
Ben Is Back and Vox Lux were lackluster, though Ben Is Back definitely had the better second frame of the two. Directed by Peter Hedges, Ben Is Back played 25 additional theaters from its opening bow, taking in $145,543, averaging $5,018. The title opened in four locations last weekend, grossing nearly $81K, averaging $20,184. It has cumed $246,867. Vox Lux from Brady Corbet slid down to a $751 PTA, though it played 319 additional theaters vs its opening frame. The Neon release grossed $244K in a total of 325 theaters, bringing its cume to $433,211.
The Favourite by Yorgos Lanthimos continues to be a specialty box office bright spot. Fox Searchlight added 348 runs for its fourth outing, grossing $2.57M in 439 locations, averaging $5,854. Last weekend, the feature grossed $1.5M in 91 theaters, averaging $16,523. Said Searchlight Sunday: “With great reviews and more and more awards recognition, the film is gathering strong momentum as we head into the holiday playtime. Next week, December 21, the film will go into its national release, as we expect to be playing the film in 750-800 theaters.”
Amazon Studios’ Beautiful Boy crossed $7.5M in its tenth weekend of release. The title, starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, grossed nearly $33K, averaging $374.
Doc Free Solo is closing in on $11M. Marking its third month in theaters, the National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment release by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi grossed $132K in 100 theaters, averaging $1,320. With its eight-figure cume of $10.79M, the title is firmly part of a quadrant of docs from the year to gross over $10M in theaters, though it still has some distance to climb before reaching the $12.32M cume of Neon’s Three Identical Strangers. The other big docs of the year, of course, include Magnolia’s RBG ($14M) and Focus’ Won’t You Be My Neighbor? ($22.6M).
Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $27,588, Average $9,196
The House That Jack Built (IFC Films) NEW [33 Theaters] Weekend $40,436, Average $1,225, Cume $210,549
If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $219,173, Average $54,793
Ben Is Back (LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) Week 2 [29 Theaters] Weekend $145,543, Average $5,018, Cume $246,867
Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features) Week 2 [66 Theaters] Weekend $700,000, Average $10,607, Cume $963,000
Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki (GKids) NEW [377 Theaters on Thursday; 4 Theaters Friday – Sunday] Weekend $67,416, Average $179 (This includes Thursday showings)
Tag Along: The Devil Fish (China Lion) Week 2 [ Theaters] Weekend $, Average $
Vox Lux (Neon) Week 2 [325 Theaters] Weekend $244,000, Average $751, Cume $433,211
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
Anna And The Apocalypse (Orion Pictures) Week 3 [138 Theaters] Weekend $135,988, Average $985, Cume $413,683
Becoming Astrid (Music Box Films) Week 4 [12 Theaters] Weekend $3,900, Average $325, Cume $64,793
The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [439 Theaters] Weekend $2,570,000, Average $5,854, Cume $6,739,903
Green Book (Universal) Week 5 [1,215 Theaters] Weekend $2,780,000, Average $2,288, Cume $24,660,366
At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) Week 5 [178 Theaters] Weekend $188,000, Average $1,056, Cume $1,446,358
Boy Erased (Focus Features) Week 7 [173 Theaters] Weekend $85,000, Average $491, Cume $6,600,000
Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [62 Theaters] Weekend $28,354, Average $457, Cume $1,139,545
A Private War (Aviron Pictures) Week 7 [50 Theaters] Weekend $14,000, Average $280, Cume $1,597,875
Border (Neon) Week 8 [31 Theaters] Weekend $16,358, Average $528, Cume $723,961
Suspiria (Amazon Studios) Week 8 [19 Theaters] Weekend $7,650, Average $403, Cume $2,471,771
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 [166 Theaters] Weekend $140,000, Average $843, Cume $7,264,860
Wildlife (IFC Films) Week 9 [24 Theaters] Weekend $7,641, Average $318, Cume $993,744
Beautiful Boy (Amazon Studios) Week 10 [88 Theaters] Weekend $32,896, Average $374, Cume $7,520,100
The Great Buster: A Celebration (Cohen Media Group) Week 11 [3 Theaters] Weekend $1,759, Average $586, Cume $144,199
Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 12 [100 Theaters] Weekend $132,020, Average $1,320, Cume $10,793,548
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 18 [67 Theaters] Weekend $21,928, Average $327, Cume $8,152,924