Arthouse Weathers Storm As ‘Clean,’ ‘Sundown’ Join ‘Belfast,’ ‘Drive My Car’; Distribs See Scramble For Screens After Oscar Nods – Specialty Box Office

Adrien Brody in 'Clean' IFC Films

Cinemas from Philly to New York State and Boston (Coolidge Corner Theatre, you were missed) shuttered all or part of Sat., rattling but not routing the specialty box office. And a shout-out to theaters in NYC proper where all stayed open – sparse by day but picking up in the evening thanks to “younger people not afraid to trudge in the show,” said one distributor.

A separate weather pattern disrupted part of the Midwest. Storms “are the nature of the beast this time of year,” noted Variance Film president Dylan Marchetti, who reps Sideshow Janus/Films Drive My Car. Japan’s acclaimed Oscar entry shortlisted for best international feature reports an est. weekend gross of $103,488 on 114 screens (up by 18) for a PSA of $908 and a new cume of $807,010 in week 10. Marchetti said it’s the film’s best weekend to date despite the weather.

Special event flash first: Disney and IMAX said an exclusive one-day, single-show IMAX screening of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back – The Rooftop Concert grossed an estimated $500,000 at 68 locations today, with over 65% of locations sold out.

Noteworthy openers include gritty crime drama Clean, a passion project produced by and starring Adrien Brody, directed by Paul Solet. From IFC Films, it grossed an estimated $165k on 258 screens, a PSA of $640. (IFC said Clean hit the top spot on iTunes’ Independent and Drama charts over the weekend, and cracked the top 5 overall.)

GameStop: Rise Of The Players, the meme-stock documentary from SuperLTD/Neon, debuted at $80,011 on 267 screens, a PSA of $300. (Friday – $35,462; Sat. $24,549; Sun. $20,000)

Bleecker Street said Sundown by Michel Franco will gross $24,069 in six theaters for a weekend PSA of $4,011.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Compartment No. 6 opened to $9,353 on 3 screens for a PSA of $3,118 and cume of $15,133. Finland’s Oscar entry shortlisted for Best International Feature, directed by Juho Kuosmanen, was co-winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes.

SPC has also expanded Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers in week 6 with a gross of $312,930 on 684 screens (up from 111 last week), for a per screen average of 458 and a cume that passed $1 million. The distributor’s Jockey grossed $13,009 in week 5 on 21 screens (up from 12 last week), a PSA of $619 and a cume of $36,981.

Returning: Kenneth Branagh’s long-running Belfast from Focus Features, which had mostly eased out of theaters, grossed $120k at 200 locations, up by 137, in week 12. And Searchlight Pictures put Guillermo Del Toro’s black-and-white version of Nightmare Alley in 1,100 theatres, with 300 locations continuing to play the color version released Dec. 17. Searchlight said estimated grosses of circa $535,000 are up 150% from last week.

Licorice Pizza from United Artists Releasing grossed $691k, holding steady on 772 screens for a PSA of $895 and a cume of $11.8M.

The countdown is on to Oscar nods Feb. 8 when the specialty market gets more crowded and confusing with locations increasingly hard to book, noted a handful of distributors. “Then, we will start scrambling for limited screens,” said one.

“Some films that only had qualifying runs last year won’t come out until after nominations. Then, there is always new stuff, at least a few a week. And some of the larger distributors are definitely focused on when is the best time to go back in. Nominations will give you a boost, but not a huge boost if you are not a top nominee. Awards can give you more. But everything is on VOD faster. So it’s like the Wild West.”

Also this weekend, Oscilloscope opened the new 4K restoration of John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 cult classic Shortbus at the IFC Center to a debut of $12,205.

And Gravitas Ventures said The King’s Daughter became the first independently distributed film of 2022 to cross the $1M mark at the box office. It grossed $435k in week 2 at 1,932 locations for a PSA of $225.

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