Sundance: How Was Friday Night? And How Did Last Year’s Festival Films Do In Theaters?

Friday night, the first one loaded with the big acquisition titles that forced distributors to scatter their teams to cover all the screenings, gave buyers buyers a lot to think about this morning. I haven’t heard of much action so far (outside of Sundance Selects’ closing a deal for The Summit, the Nick Ryan-directed pic about the attempt by 24 climbers to scale K2, with half of them dying. Just walking up Main Street here makes that an understandable outcome). Everybody’s itching for these deals to start rolling, but sellers are not being hasty. It is hard to land big buck upfront deals, and so they are being extra cautious to extract commitments from potential distributors to make sure these films get a chance to play, with all the platforms available to turn a buck. I saw Don Jon’s Addiction, the writing/directing debut of rising star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who with this film adds another dimension to what is becoming a most unpredictable and intriguing career path. For one thing, his aerobicized frame and onscreen bedroom prowess here has to put him on the short list for the lead role in Fifty Shades of Grey, if that is something he’s even interested in. Don Jon’s Addiction is funny, but Gordon-Levitt plays a buff computer porn addict who gets more gratification from logging on than from his prolific boozy bedroom encounters. Let’s just say a sponsorship from a facial tissue company seems a natural. Buyers liked the film, and the performances from Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore and Tony Danza. But the sellers want a theatrical run and distributors will need an R rating to get any serious theatrical penetration, er, I mean, bang for their buck. Aargh. You get the idea. Still waiting to get a sense of other Friday premieres like The Spectacular Now, Emanuel And The Truth About Fishes, Two Mothers, Kill Your Darlings, and Austenland.

Related: 2013 Sundance Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers

In the meantime, here is our annual look back at how the films of Sundance 2012 fared at the box office. These don’t include VOD revenue, so keep that in mind because it certainly gooses up the value of films like Arbitrage and Bachelorette, films that did $12 million and $8 million respectively from their multi-platform VOD runs.

2012 Sundance Domestic Box Office Scorecard

Film Distributor Domestic Gross
The Words CBS Films $11,494,838
Beasts of the Southern Wild Fox Searchlight $11,249,128
Arbitrage Roadside Attractions $7,918,283
Sessions, The (aka The Surrogate) Fox Searchlight $5,721,194
Safety Not Guaranteed FilmDistrict $4,010,957
Robot & Frank Samuel Goldwyn $3,317,468
Searching for Sugar Man Sony Pictures Classics $3,095,075
Celeste & Jesse Forever Sony Pictures Classics $3,089,507
Queen of VersaillesSleepwalk With Me Magnolia PicturesIFC $2,401,999$2,266,067
For a Good Time, Call… Focus Features $1,251,749
2 Days in New York Magnolia Pictures $633,210
Bachelorette Radius-TWC $447,954
Liberal Arts IFC $327,345
Compliance Magnolia Pictures $319,285
Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap Indomina Media $288,312
Middle of Nowhere AFFRM $236,806
How To Survive a Plague IFC $132,055
V/H/S Magnolia Pictures $100,345
5 Broken Cameras Kino Lorber $75,607
Red Lights Millennium Entertainment $52,624
The Comedy Tribeca Film $41,113
Nobody Walks Magnolia Pictures $25,342
Lay The Favorite Radius-TWC $20,998
Black Rock LD Entertainment NA
Shadow Dancer ATO Pictures NA
Simon Killer IFC NA
Wish You Were Here eOne NA

This article was printed from