It won’t be a holiday week to remember for the specialties, unfortunately. Q4 of 2018 has generally not mirrored last year’s burst of audience excitement, save for a few titles (at best), and this holiday week and weekend has not given much of a boost.

Focus Features/Participant’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg narrative, On The Basis of Sex, which came on the heels of the documentary box office champ, RBG from earlier this year, took the weekend’s best opening per-theater average at just $20,877, from a three-day estimate of $690K. The Focus Features release reported an estimated $1.5M gross Wednesday through Sunday. 

Destroyer from Annapurna Pictures and starring Nicole Kidman picked up $58,472 for a $19,491 per theater average Friday to Sunday. The Karyn Kusama-directed crime-drama had an Xmas bow and has cumed $116K.

Stan & Ollie
Sony Pictures Classics

Stan & Ollie from SPC, starring John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, followed with a three-day $79,674 gross in five theaters. The Laurel and Hardy bio-dramedy averaged just $15,935.

Amazon Features’ Cold War stayed in three locations in its second weekend. The title directed by Pawel Powlikowski grossed $42,534 in the three-day, averaging $14,178. The number suggests it is getting some word of mouth since it is only 22% below its opening frame $18,118 PTA.

Annapurna expanded Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk to 65 theaters in its third weekend giving some zest to the limited releasers. The title grossed just under $760K, averaging $11,686.

Among longer holdovers, the queens snapped the weekend’s best numbers. Focus Features’ Mary Queen of Scots grossed $2.65M in 841 locations in its fourth outing, while Searchlight’s The Favourite took $2.4M in its sixth weekend in sixth frame.

Directed by Mimi Leder and starring Felicity Jones as US Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before her high court appointment, On The Basis of Sex actually topped the documentary bow of RBG in May in its opening frame. On The Basis of Sex grossed $690K Friday to Sunday, averaging a solid $20,877 in 33 theaters. It is a holiday weekend, but that edged out the opening frame of RBG, which played 34 locations in its theatrical debut, grossing over $578K for a $17K PTA. The Magnolia release went on to cume over $14M in theaters and is short listed. It should be noted that it’s a good day when a doc can be the standard-bearer. 

On The Basis of Sex opened Christmas in 33 locations, taking $1.5M for the period, averaging $45,454. Focus reported Sunday that exits gave the film 94% in the top two boxes. Over the weekend, the distributor said the title, “went up 19% from Friday to Sunday” and played number one in “many of the theaters” it opened including The Landmark (LA), Cinema 1,2,3 (New York), AMC Village (New York), Palo Alto Square (San Francisco), Angelika Mosaic (Washington, D.C.), Arclight Bethesda (Washington, D.C.), Chez Artiste (Denver), Camelview (Phoenix). 

“Audiences across the country truly love the movie…clearly showing the film’s sheer entertainment power,” said Focus Features’ president of distribution, Lisa Bunnell, in a statement issued Sunday. “As a woman heading up a studio’s distribution team, a part of our industry that has traditionally been filled by men for decades, I can’t help but watch this film and know that Ruth’s work help make that possible.”

Annapurna’s If Beale Street Could Talk went from five theaters last weekend to 65 locations in its third frame, grossing an estimated $759,579 in the three-day, averaging $11,686. Last weekend, Beale Street grossed $109K in its five locations, averaging $21,853. The title did $56,119K in four theaters in its debut. Beale Street has cumed $1.95M.

Also in its third weekend, Sony Classics’ shortlisted Capernaum played two additional locations. The Lebanese title by Nadine Labaki took in $28,252, averaging $3,139, bringing its cume to just under $113K.

Ben Is Back, with Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, has been a slow show. But it has tapped some holiday gusto in its fourth weekend. The film from LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate dropped four theaters from the prior weekend, bringing its count to 158 runs, grossing $525,650 Friday to Sunday, averaging $3,326. The title has had commercial push. Last Friday to Sunday, Ben Is Back averaged $2,462 in 162 theaters. It has cumed $1.73M.

Focus Features added 46 theaters for Mary Queen of Scots in its fourth outing, bringing its runs to 841 for its fourth weekend of release. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, the title also had some holiday pick-up in the three-day, grossing $2.65M, averaging $3,155. Last weekend, the title grossed $2.27M in 795 theaters, averaging $2,865. Its one month cume just crossed $9M.

Fox Searchlight

Fast forward a bit over a century to Queen Anne of Great Britain (Olivia Colman) in The Favourite from Fox Searchlight. In its sixth weekend, the title by Yorgos Lanthimos has an estimated three-day $2.4M, averaging $2,976, bringing its cume to over $15.22M.

NEW RELEASES

Destroyer (Annapurna Pictures) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $58,472, Average $19,491, Cume $116,000 (6-day cume)

On The Basis Of Sex (Focus Features/Participant) NEW [33 Theaters] Weekend $690,000; $1,500,000 (5-day); Average $20,877; $45,454 (5-day)

Stan & Ollie (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $79,674, Average $15,935 

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Cold War (Amazon Studios) Week 2 [3 Theaters] Weekend $42,534, Average $14,178, Cume $141,749

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [9 Theaters] Weekend $28,252, Average $3,139, Cume $112,938

Annapurna Pictures

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures) Week 3 [65 Theaters] Weekend $759,579, up a huge 595%, the best surge in the top 25. Average $11,686, Cume $1,958,000. Check out Anthony’s analysis regarding the great exits. The pic is going to be around for a while. 

Ben Is Back (LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) Week 4 [158 Theaters] Weekend $525,650, Average $3,326, Cume $1,738,116

Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features) Week 4 [841 Theaters] Weekend $2,655,000, Average $3,155, Cume $9,006,000 (6-day)

Vox Lux (Neon) Week 4 [35 Theaters] Weekend $21,574, Average $616, Cume $700,058

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [809 Theaters] Weekend $2,400,000, Average $2,967, Cume $15,221,022

The World Before Your Feet (Greenwich Entertainment) Week 6 [8 Theaters] Weekend $12,049, Average $1,506, Cume $107,408

At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) Week 7 [50 Theaters] Weekend $68,000, Average $1,360, Cume $1,826,000

Boy Erased (Focus Features) Week 9 [34 Theaters] Weekend $19,000, Average $559, Cume $6,750,000

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9 [14 Theaters] Weekend $7,429, Average $531, Cume $1,213,687

Border (Neon) Week 10 [8 Theaters] Weekend $6,775, Average $847, Cume $763,218

Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 14 [59 Theaters] Weekend $98,053, Average $1,662, Cume $11,200,944

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 20 [4 Theaters] Weekend $2,319, Average $530, Cume $8,197,459