Over the holidays Greta Gerwig’s feature directorial debut Lady Bird became A24’s highest grossing pic ever in the company’s six year run outstripping their best picture Oscar winner Moonlight ($27.9M). And the movie’s traction at the domestic box office is far from over.
The pic is nominated for four Golden Globes this Sunday including best comedy, best screenplay by Gerwig, comedy lead actress Saoirse Ronan and best supporting actress Laurie Metcalf, and whatever the outcome the pic will likely climb to $40M-plus around the time Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23. When it comes to sizing up what the highest independent film was last year at the box office, there are many ways to strip the cat. Lionsgate’s Wonder ($122.5M) and Amazon’s Sundance-acquired The Big Sick ($42.8M) were titles that respectively went quite wide at 3,500 and 2,500-plus theaters and whose P&A was backed by corporations that are publically traded. Lady Bird comes from a private Gotham-based indie film distributor and made its bread in no more than 1,557 locations at its widest point; which makes the film an anomaly on the specialty circuit this year. When Lady Bird exceeds $40M, it will surpass Ronan’s previous titles, the Oscar-nominated Brooklyn ($38M) and Hanna ($40.2M).
Tonight Gerwig and Ronan will respectively pick up best film and actress awards at the New York Film Critics Circle dinner. Gerwig also won best director from National Board of Review becoming the second woman with this honor. Gerwig has also been nominated over 20 times for best director and original screenplay during awards season.
In our most recent Crew Call podcast, we talk to Gerwig , her editor Nick Houy (who won a Primetime Emmy for HBO’s The Night Of last year and was nominated for an ACE Eddie for his work on Lady Bird this morning) and DP Sam Levy (who shot such Gerwig headliner titles as Frances Ha, Mistress America and Maggie’s Plan) about creating a comedy inspired by the filmmaker’s Catholic high school life in Sacramento, CA. The trio discuss their cinematic inspirations, comedic timing, as well as how Sacramento –aside from being Gerwig’s home town — was a required location given its mythology in regards to Lady Bird as a protagonist.
Lady Bird began its awards season journey with a world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival followed by an opening night in the Special Presentations section at TIFF. There was a global deal out of Toronto for all foreign territories with the pic opening overseas in mid-February. The pic opened on four screens on Nov. 3 with a theater average of $91K making it the biggest limited opening ever for a film written & directed by a woman, and the second best PTA of the year behind Call Me By Your Name.