Sundance’s ‘Fighting With My Family’ Slugs A Winning Open; ‘2019 Oscar Shorts’ Strong: Specialty Box Office

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Just weeks after playing at last month’s Sundance Film Festival, bio-dramedy Fighting With My Family by director Stephen Merchant and starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is having a fighting round over the holiday weekend.

The MGM release won the weekend, coming in with over $131K in the three-day in four theaters, averaging nearly $33K. The title’s four-day estimate at over $163K brings its per theater average to $40,896. That was the weekend’s best per theater average and a solid overall open in limited release ahead of its wide expansion next weekend.

Fighting With My Family led a fairly busy pack of specialty newcomers.

Janus Films bowed a restored version of War And Peace (1966) exclusively at the Film Society of Lincoln Center for $22K.

Also with a single bow was Oscilloscope’s Catvideofest 2019, grossing $11,100 Friday to Sunday. It’s a robust gross given the film only played two showings.

The Orchard went for two locations for Birds Of Passage, which opened last year’s Directors Fortnight in Cannes with a three-day $24,249 take, averaging $12,125.

On the slower end, Cinema Guild opened Hotel By The River in a single theater, grossing $5,870, while Sony Classics launched Locarno Film Festival animated feature Ruben Brandt, Collector with two runs for $6,394 ($3,197 average). And ShortsTV/Magnolia Pictures added runs for its 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts. The distributors estimated a $775K gross Friday to Sunday, averaging $2,422 in 320 theaters.

MGM’s Fighting With My Family, starring The Rock and WWE’s Paige,  was a late addition to this year’s Sundance Film Festival lineup. But it’s one of the first titles from the fest to begin its theatrical run. 

Fighting With My Family’s 3-day is at $131,625 ($32,906 PTA) and is coming in at a 4-day 163,584 gross ($40,896 PTA), giving it one of the year’s best opening PTAs and certainly the weekend’s best per theater average.

“It threads the needle between an art film and a commercial film,” said Annapurna’s president of Distribution, Erik Lomis, who is spearheading the title’s run. “We wanted to start in New York and L.A. since it’s indie at its core and it really worked. We had people in tears [in theaters] last night. Paige has a huge fanbase and we had The Rock ‘Facetimed’ in Century City.”

Lomis said Fighting With My Family will break out quickly from its initial specialty outing, going to about 2,500 theaters next weekend. He added that its Sundance start boosted the feature’s momentum last month.

“We knew Sundance would play great. We tested it and it scored through the roof, and the reaction at Sundance was amazing. It’s not just for wrestling fans.”

The Orchard launched Cannes 2018 Directors Fortnight opener Birds Of Passage, which was Colombia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar consideration. The title, which was shortlisted, had a $24,249 three-day start ($12,125 average) and a four-day estimate of $31,180 ($15,590 average) in its two locations. 

Birds Of Passage opened exclusively at Film Forum in New York on Wednesday and then added the Royal in L.A. Friday. Its cume is estimated to be $40,738. Next weekend, the title will expand into additional L.A. and New York areas.

“We were thrilled with how Birds performed this weekend.  With consistently sold out shows in both NY and LA and stellar reviews across the board, this sets up the film for continued success as we expand to over 250-plus screens in the coming weeks,” said The Orchard’s Paul Davidson Sunday. “What we are finding is really resonating with audiences is the approach to storytelling here — not only is this a beautifully crafted film but it approaches a subject matter audiences are familiar with in a strikingly-unique way.”

Oscilloscope began its rollout of CatVideoFest 2019 this weekend, choosing to launch it at Chicago’s Music Box Theater, where it grossed a solid $11k after only two screenings. The company will add exclusive shows in New York and Los Angeles tomorrow. On Sunday, March 10, the program will expand to approximately 150 locations, many of which have already reported sold out screenings, according to Oscilloscope. CatVideoFest has partnered with — and will benefit— local animal shelters all across the country.  

The collection of 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts expanded its footprint to 320 theaters Presidents Day weekend from 270 in its opening frame. Magnolia Pictures said Sunday it had a “rough” three-day estimate of $775K. If that holds, the Friday to Sunday PTA will come in at $2,422. That PTA is on par with last year’s $2,502 PTA for the 2018 Oscar Nominated Shorts in its second weekend, which played 272 locations ($680K gross).

The company didn’t give an updated cume for the release which has all the Oscar-nominated shorts featured. As of Valentine’s Day, the 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts had a cume of over $1.34M, so the weekend’s gross should put its total to over $2M.

2019 Cannes Film Festival opener, Everybody Knows by Asghar

Farhadi and starring Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem played an additional 19 runs Friday to Sunday putting its location count at 23. Focus Features is estimating a three-day $191K gross ($8,302 PTA) and four-day $230K ($10K PTA), bringing its cume to $323K.

Bleecker Street expanded Arctic starring Mads Mikkelsen to 63 theaters in its third frame. Friday to Sunday, the feature has grossed an estimated $256,510 ($4,072 PTA) and in the four day, it is running an estimated $314,404 ($4,991 PTA). The four-day cume will bring the title just over a half million dollar cume.

SPC jumped Never Look Away from three to 31 locations in its fourth weekend outing. Never Look Awaygrossed $135,654 in the three-day, averaging $4,376 bringing its cume to just under $260K.

And Amazon Studios’ Cold War  by Best Director Oscar nominee Pawel Pawlikowski continues to be an audience draw after nine weekends in theaters. The title crossed $3.55M, which will likely make it one of the highest-grossing non-English language titles this year (though the year is young). In 247 theaters, Cold War grossed $404,350 in the three-day, averaging $1,637.

Amazon Studios said Sunday that Cold War is reaching “beyond its core art house” audience. “I think people are connecting to the love story,” said Amazon’s head of Distribution Bob Berney Sunday. “It’s hitting the mainstream. We’ve seen people in theaters who go out and then come right back in [to see it again]. Berney noted that audiences have said the film is unusual in that they wish it “was longer.” Added Berney: “It’s one of the best films I’ve worked on. And no matter what happens [at next weekends awards], it’ll play at this level at least for the next couple weeks.”

And Free Solo continues its climb. The Oscar-nominated title grossed $180K in 108 theaters in its 21st weekend outing. Free Solo by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin has cumed over $16.23M.

Birds Of Passage (The Orchard) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $24, 249; 4-day: $31,180, Average $12,125; 4-day: $15,590, Cume $40,738 (Wednesday open)

Catvideofest 2019 (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $11,100

Fighting With My Family (MGM) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $131,625; 4-day: $163,584, Average $32,906; 4-day: $40,896

Hotel By The River (Cinema Guild) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $5,870

Ruben Brandt, Collector (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $6,394, Average $3,197, Cume $7,737 (includes qualifying run)

War And Peace (Janus Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $22,000


2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts (ShortsTV/Magnolia Pictures) Week 2 [320 Theaters] Weekend $775,000, Average $2,422

Everybody Knows (Focus Features) Week 2 [23 Theaters] Weekend $191,000; 4-day: $230,000, Average $8,302; 4-day: $10,000, Cume $323,000

Lords Of Chaos (Gunpowder & Sky) Week 2 [25 Theaters] Weekend $53,654, Average $2,146, Cume $101,397

To Dust (Good Deed Entertainment) Week 2 [15 Theater] Weekend $29,100, Average $1,940, Cume $40,134


Arctic (Bleecker Street) Week 3 [63 Theaters] Weekend $256,510; 4-day: $314,404, Average $4,072; 4-day: $4,991, Cume $503,103

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (FIP) Week 3 [43 Theaters]  Weekend $47,000; 4-day: $55,000, Average $1,093; 4-day: $1,279, Cume $1,167,088

The Invisibles (Greenwich Entertainment) Week 4 [19 Theaters] Weekend $35,311, Average $1,858, Cume $171,772

Never Look Away (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [31 Theater] Weekend $135,654, Average $4,376, Cume $259,955

Replicas (Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures) Week 6 [12 Theaters] Weekend $3,000, Average $250, Cume $4,045,834

On The Basis Of Sex (Focus Features/Participant) Week 8 [186 Theaters] Weekend $241,000; 4-day: $298,000, Average $1,294; 4-day: $1,600, Cume $24,300,000

Stan & Ollie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8 [210 Theaters] Weekend $260,170, Average $1,239, Cume $4,749,419

Cold War (Amazon Studios) Week 9 [247 Theaters] Weekend $404,350, Average $1,637, Cume $3,550,915

Capernaum (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10 [136 Theaters] Weekend $193,301, Average $1,421, Cume $993,350

If Beale Street Could Talk (Annapurna Pictures) Week 11 [165 Theaters] Weekend $210,006; 4-day: $257,555, Average $1,273; 4-day: $1,561, Cume $14,172,000

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 13 [324 Theaters] Weekend $570,000; 4-day: $700,000, Average $1,759; $2,160, Cume $31,243,285

Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 21 [108 Theaters] Weekend $180,046, Average $1,667, Cume $16,238,727

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 27 [77 Theaters] Weekend $69,657, Average $905, Cume $9,211,223

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