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Specialty B.O.: ‘Magic In The Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man’ Find A Little Magic In Debuts

Specialty B.O.: ‘Magic In The Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man’ Find A Little Magic In DebutsBold debuts from two of the weekend’s openers in a crowded specialty box office included yet another Woody Allen film as well as a last starring turn from the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight was another solid opener in a string of recent successes for the veteran writer-director, with a good per-screen average. That said, the numbers were less stratospheric than some of his recent summer films when comparing on a straight theater average, though this go-around did bow in substantially more locations.
Magic is Allen’s third consecutive summer release (and seventh if you count the ”shoulder” seasons).  The formula continues to be a lucrative one for Allen and his backers. In its opening weekend, Magic brought in nearly $426K in 17 theaters, for a solid $25K PTA. The film, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone, bowed with 11 more runs than last year’s box-office and award-winning behemoth Blue Jasmine (the best performer of Allen’s very long career), which debuted to a $102K PTA in 6 theaters. That film also had a $612K opening weekend and went on to cume over $33.4M.
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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:27pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Magic In The Moonlight’, ‘The Fluffy Movie’, ‘A Most Wanted Man’, ‘The Kill Team’, ‘Happy Christmas’Looming in the wake of Boyhood‘s hot box office roll out earlier this month, some heavy-hitters will enter the Specialty fray this weekend which should shape up to be rather interesting come Sunday box office time. Woody Allen blitzed theaters last July with a smashing roll out of Blue Jasmine and he’s back, courtesy once again of Sony Classics with his latest Magic In The Moonlight. The distributor, however, is taking a somewhat different release track this time around. Lionsgate/Roadside is opening Philip Seymour Hoffman starrer A Most Wanted Man after delaying the title’s bow in the wake of its star’s death. The film will have a sizable theater count as it heads out to the box office Friday. But the weekend’s biggest Specialty opener in terms of location tally is Open Road’s The Fluffy Movie, which will hit several hundred locations nationwide though the bulk of its marketing has been targeted to a particular audience. On the other end of the scale is Oscilloscope’s Tribeca-winner The Kill Team which will bow at a single exclusive showing in NYC, while Magnolia’s Happy Christmas will have its theatrical launch in several locations after launching via ultra-VOD in late June.

Magic In The MoonlightMagic in the moonlight 3
Director-writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Antonia Clarke, Natasha Andrews, Valérie Beaulieu, Jackie Weaver, Peter Wollasch
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

SPC has had a winning streak with Woody Allen summer releases and it’s sticking to that formula for the filmmaker’s latest. Last year’s Oscar winner Blue Jasmine launched as a Specialty behemoth July 26 in 6 theaters, with a dazzling $102K average, eventually grossing over $33.4 million domestically. To Rome With Love was a comparatively more “modest” release, with a $72,272 PTA in five theaters in June 2012 ($16.69M cume), while 2011′s Midnight In Paris rocketed a $99,834 launch weekend PTA with six runs — eventually grossing over $56.8 million. “His films really seem to work in summer time,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker whose company has released Allen’s most recent five movies (and others in the past). The only recent exception was 2010′s You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger which opened in September of that year ($3.24M gross).” Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second Week

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second WeekBoyhood continued to muscle into the Specialty Box Office in its second frame amid an expansion, even while the weekend’s newcomers showed mixed numbers. Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here and Mike Cahill‘s I Origins, second films from both writer/directors, bowed with averages in the low $7K range. IFC FilmsBoyhood opened last week with the year’s second highest PTA among limited-release titles and only compounded its star status in expansion. The Richard Linklater-directed feature added 29 locations, grossing nearly $1.2 million in 34 theaters, a stellar $35,230 per-screen average and a $1,848,050 two-week cume.
Boyhood’s mid- to long-term momentum appears assured with a 99-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and what IFC Films says is “word of mouth… through the roof, as reflected by eye-popping exit polls this weekend and minimal drop at last weekend’s opening theaters.” IFC, which financed the film throughout its 12-year gestation, said the title played solidly across all demographics, with top scores from teens and from “those in their 60s and beyond.” Boyhood will expand to the top 25 markets next weekend and will continue to widen in coming weeks.
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Specialty Preview: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Plus ‘I Origins,’ ‘Mood Indigo,’ ‘Alive Inside’

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 9:17pm PDT

Specialty Preview: Zach Braff’s ‘Wish I Was Here’ Plus ‘I Origins,’ ‘Mood Indigo,’ ‘Alive Inside’Last weekend Richard Linklater made a Specialty box office splash with the 2nd highest screen average of the year with Boyhood. This week, Focus will hope to grab some similarly outsized attention for Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here. His previous film, 2004′s Garden State, cumed more than $26.7 million at a time before crowd sourcing was an indie norm. Braff has since learned some new tricks, raising the seed money for his latest, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year. Fox Searchlight will open second-time feature filmmaker Mike Cahill‘s I Origins on both coasts, while Drafthouse will bow French filmmaker Michel Gondry‘s Mood Indigo in two locations in NYC and L.A. Bond/360 will open the weekend’s new doc, Alive Inside, in an initial exclusive New York run. The film won an audience prize at Sundance.
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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’ Spectacular Bow While ‘Begin Again’ Strong In Expansion

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 12:08pm PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’ Spectacular Bow While ‘Begin Again’ Strong In ExpansionBoyhood bowed spectacularly this weekend, piling audiences into five theaters for the initial run of Richard Linklater‘s tour de force that was 12 years in the making. As we mentioned earlier this morning, the IFC Films title is coming in with a $360 – 385K weekend estimate for a stratospheric $72K to 77K PTA, depending on how the dust settles Sunday. Friday and Saturday numbers were buoyed by Q&As in both New York and LA, but none are scheduled today. IFC Films was actually conservative reporting their numbers Sunday morning, with an initial $359K gross ($71,800 PTA) though others tracking the numbers had estimates land a bit higher. Whatever the number, the final tally points in one direction — this is a tremendous opening for the Berlin and Sundance festival title (and award winner at both) that had audiences swooning ahead of this weekend’s opening. Boyhood is easily the year’s second-best opener in terms of screen average behind Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened in several locations back in March with a record-breaking $202,792 PTA.  ”We are thrilled with the opening numbers for Boyhood this weekend,” IFC noted in reporting their numbers. “The opening numbers have surpassed our highest expectations for the weekend, as audiences flocked to theatrers for the critically acclaimed film.”
IFC Films financed the film by doling out small amounts each year over its 12-year process of creation. The AMC Networks division has a long-standing relationship with Linklater, having financed Waking Life and Tape. The Austin-based filmmaker and producer John Sloss had approached IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring about what was then dubbed the “12-year project” and, together with his boss Josh Sapan at AMC Networks, committed about $200,000 a year to the film’s editing and shooting. Said Sehring and Sapan: “Back in 2002, we thought Rick’s idea was an extraordinary notion and we believed him to be a great filmmaker.  Putting our creative and commercial fates in the hands of people who are brilliant has proven to be a terrific strategy for the company and we couldn’t’ be happier to have supported Rick’s creative vision. The result is a film for the ages and we can’t wait to bring Boyhood to the rest of the country in the weeks to come.”
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‘Boyhood’ The Big Man With Year’s Second-Best Specialty Box-Office Debut

By | Sunday July 13, 2014 @ 10:00am PDT

‘Boyhood’ The Big Man With Year’s Second-Best Specialty Box-Office DebutIFC FilmsBoyhood had momentum and expectations building as it headed into its opening weekend after a tremendous run of festival awards and word-of-mouth screenings. Opening in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, it proved to be a very big boy indeed, with one of the year’s biggest box-office debuts among Specialty releases, second behind only Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened March 7 with a nearly $203K PTA in four theaters.

Boyhood, directed and written by Richard Linklater and filmed over 12 years as its star Ellar Coltrane grew up, grossed $360K to $385K for a spectacular per-theater average of $72K to $77K, depending on how much box office drops Sunday. Given that  the title opened against Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes on turf typically ruled by studio mush, the numbers bode especially well for the film, which also stars Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater. Given its pre-launch buzz, the film has already been tipped as a strong contender when Awards Season grinds into into full gear this fall.

“I think we knew the movie would play,” IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring told me this morning. “(Fellow  producer) John Sloss and I were at screenings with audiences and we were more than gratified by the audience responses. There were dozens of sell outs [in Manhattan, Brooklyn and L.A.].  It was crazy. It wasn’t an old audience, not young, it was a mix of everyone.”

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Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Boyhood’, ‘Land Ho!’, ‘A Long Way Home’, ‘Closed Curtain’

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 8:04pm PDT

Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Boyhood’, ‘Land Ho!’, ‘A Long Way Home’, ‘Closed Curtain’It’s not every week that a major milestone in filmmaking opens in theaters, but this is one. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, a dozen years in the making, finally makes its ways to an initial handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The IFC Films release has a lot of momentum behind it, with word-of-mouth and buzz that should translate into a successful opening; word has it that advance sales are “strong”. It will be joined by a filmmaking milestone of a much different sort in Variance Films’ Closed Curtain, an acclaimed feature created by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who made the film discretely despite being banned from his craft at home and under the watchful eyes of authorities. Sony Classics’ Sundance title Land Ho! provides a comic twist to this week’s opening Specialties, as will Magnolia Pictures’ A Long Way Down.

boyhood-posterBoyhood
Director-writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Lorelei Linklater
Distributor: IFC Films

Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film had ridden a long wave of buzz even before its sneak preview at the Sundance Film Festival and its debut in Berlin this year. Twelve years in the making, the drama centers on the life of a boy, Mason (played by Ellar Coltrane throughout), between ages 5 and 18. The film began in 2002 when Linklater teamed with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette. Linklater also tapped his daughter Lorelei Linklater to play Mason’s sister. In Berlin, Linklater said they simply referred … Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Begin Again’ Continues Strongly, But Hard Rollout For ‘Hard Day’s Night’

By | Sunday July 6, 2014 @ 11:06am PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Begin Again’ Continues Strongly, But Hard Rollout For ‘Hard Day’s Night’Begin Again continued its strong beginning as it expansed and Snowpiercer did decent business in the second week of a truncated theatrical release as Weinstein-owned companies had solid box-office performances in the Specialty arena amid other titles’ tepid troubles on a rain-soaked holiday weekend. Newcomers, including a doc about Roger Ebert and the 50th-anniversary re-release of the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night, had mixed results at best

A Hard Day's Night movie poster vertical
Janus Films re-released A Hard Day’s Night, but this time the influential Richard Lester-directed quasi-doc/musical/proto-music video struggled to get the kind of reception that packed the London Pavilion back in 1964. The Beatles feature grossed $20K in its first week back in ’64 at the Pavilion. This week, it made eight times as much but needed 102 theaters to do it, grossing $160K for a $1,569 PTA. Janus said the film sold out shows “coast to coast” and acknowledged that the July 4th weekend is tricky to maneuver. Said Janus’ Peter Becker: “To rack up this kind of gross with a classic film on a busy holiday weekend is astounding, especially since two-thirds of these screens were special-event bookings with only one or two shows. After the strongest repertory opening of the year at New York’s Film Forum and the incredible word of mouth from all across the country, this is just the beginning. We expect to see excited crowds of all ages lining up for A Hard Day’s Night all summer long.” Janus will add 30 theaters in the next week with further expansions planned throughout the summer.

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Life Itself’, ‘Me And You’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘The Girl On The Train’

By | Wednesday July 2, 2014 @ 4:18pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Life Itself’, ‘Me And You’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘The Girl On The Train’Perhaps the most beloved film critic will get his starring spotlight on the big screen this holiday weekend. Filmmaker Steve James, one of many directors who was discovered in part because of Roger Ebert and his partner (and rival) Gene Siskel, looks at Ebert’s life in Life Itself, which opens July 4 in select cities via Magnolia Pictures. The doc will go up against a trio of studio blockbusters over the long weekend along with the latest from Oscar-winning director Bernardo Bertolucci, Me And You, which will open as the fourth Italian film under an initiative with Emerging Pictures. A re-release by Janus Films will be the weekend’s “largest” Specialty release. Acclaimed 1964 Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night will roll out into 100-plus theaters with more cities expected into July. And thriller The Girl On The Train will open with two runs from Monterey Media.

life itself posterLife Itself
Director: Steve James
Subjects: Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel, Ava DuVernay, Errol Morris, Ramin Bahrani, A.O. Scott, Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Filmmaker Steve James first met Roger Ebert at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994 where his doc Hoop Dreams debuted. Ebert and Gene Siskel championed the film, which went on to receive an Oscar nomination the following year. “Like many, I had a relationship with him though he didn’t with me. I watched the show when I first fell in love with movies,” said James, referring to Siskel and Ebert’s show At The Movies. “I had hoped to one day make them as well.” James had formed a professional relationship with Ebert and that status remained so up to his involvement with the big screen version of Life Itself, which is based on the 2011 memoir penned by the critic about his life. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Begin Again’ Begins On High Note; ‘America,’ ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘YSL’ Solid

By | Sunday June 29, 2014 @ 11:14am PDT

Specialty Box Office: ‘Begin Again’ Begins On High Note; ‘America,’ ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘YSL’ SolidIt’s no way a shock that Transformers: Age Of Extinction performed spectacularly this weekend, both in the U.S. and overseas, but there are still discerning audiences out there who don’t toe the big-studio line when it comes to their movie-viewing decisions. Begin Again, another tuneful tale from the writer-director of Once, found a sliver of music-minded moviegoers to play along, grabbing the weekend’s highest PTA among newcomers. Starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine, it grossed more than $148K for a respectable $29,665 average.
“I think that’s solid numbers. We view this exclusive opening as a preview for Wednesday’s [expansion],” said TWC’s Erik Lomis, president of theatrical distribution and home entertainment. The film drew a heavily female audience, with a 67-33 gender split, and a mix of art-house and commercial crowds. “I think it’s a date movie and will even out as it rolls across the country,”  Lomis said. “[Women] just loved the movie.” TWC will expand Begin Again to 175 theaters in the top 45 markets, then add 60 more markets and up to 500 theaters the following week. “We love (writer-director) John Carney and the cast. There’s no explosions or anything like that. It’s a nice movie and counter programming for the summer.”
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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Whitey: United States Of America v. James J. Bulger’, ‘Begin Again’, ‘Yves Saint Laurent’, ‘Siddharth’, ‘The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz’, ‘La Bare’, ‘The Breakup Guru’

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Whitey: United States Of America v. James J. Bulger’, ‘Begin Again’, ‘Yves Saint Laurent’, ‘Siddharth’, ‘The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz’, ‘La Bare’, ‘The Breakup Guru’Docs join this weekend’s new crop of Specialty releases, hoping to lure audiences in from the heat. Magnolia will open veteran filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s Sundance feature Whitey: United States Of America v. James J. Bulger in a case that shook the FBI and the criminal underworld while FilmBuff and Participant will team on fellow Sundance doc The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story Of Aaron Swartz. And Magic Mike actor Joe Manganiello returns to the male strip club world with his doc La Bare for Main Street Films. The Weinstein Company is rolling out two films Friday including Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine starrer Begin Againwhich it picked up out of Toronto and Yves Saint Laurent, the French-language film about the legendary and sometimes troubled designer. Zeitgeist Films is opening India-set Siddharth and China Lion will bow China’s The Breakup Guru in limited release. In addition to these films, Lionsgate will open America in three theaters before heading out to over 1,000 locations over the 4th of July weekend. And RADiUS-TWC opens Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s international sci-fi drama Snowpiercer stateside. Interestingly, the film had a unique event this past week in Austin where ticket buyers rode a train somewhat mirroring the film’s premise to a screening outside the city. The film also played BAMcinemaFest Wednesday night in addition to the Film Society of Lincoln Center Thursday night with Bong in attendance leading up to this weekend’s release.

whitey posterWhitey: United States Of America V. James J. Bulger
Director: Joe Berlinger
Subjects: Stephen Rakes, James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, Tommy Donahue, David Beori, Steve Davis, Dick Lehr, Shelley Murphy
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures, CNN Films (for broadcast)

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger has spent a significant portion of his filmmaking career on stories in which the criminal justice system and/or policing goes awry, most notably with the Paradise Lost doc trilogy. He said he had long been fascinated by James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, who spent a long time as Number 2 on America’s Most Wanted List after Osama Bin Laden. Bulger had terrorized Boston for years, seemingly with impunity, despite being connected to multiple murders as well as other offenses that permeated various levels of government. “I had been interested in the [Bulger case] for a long time, but didn’t think I had anything to add, but when he was arrested in Santa Monica, the trial promised to be the biggest legal proceeding in Massachusetts history,” said Berlinger. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus In Fur’ Tops Slow Weekend

By | Sunday June 22, 2014 @ 10:15am PDT

Specialty Box Office: Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus In Fur’ Tops Slow WeekendDefinitely not a weekend to remember, with newcomers and recent holdovers coming in mostly flat. Roman Polanski was the weekend’s star addition, though that wasn’t hard: Sundance Selects’ Venus In Fur grossed over $26K, averaging $13,100 per screen. The Cannes 2013 pic is kicking off a platform release, rolling out to the top 15 markets throughout July. Elsewhere in the specialty world, gastronomy die-hards can take some solace in Cohen Media Group’s Le Chef, which sliced off a morsel of attention in New York. The Berlinale 2012 comedy opened in one theater, grossing $10,894.

Image (1) boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150-1__140530221134.jpg for post 738358Sony Pictures Classics bowed Paul Haggis‘ Toronto feature Third Person in five locations. It grossed just over $42K, averaging $8,419. Haggis said at the pic’s NYC theatrical premiere at the Sunshine that the 2-hour-plus feature demands attention with its parallel stories set in three cities. He joked with the crowd to use the restroom before it began and to “watch carefully.” His previous film, The Next Three Days, was a completely different game back in November 2010 when it bowed stateside. The action-thriller opened in more than 2,500 theaters, grossing over $6.5 million and ranking No. 5 that week with a $2,552 PTA. It went on to gross $21.1M domestically. The weekend wasn’t that busy for the bigger releases either, as two Sony sequels topped the domestic box office at what’s looking like less than $30 million each, while indie-seeming Clint Eastwood-directed musical adaptation Jersey Boys hit a false note, opening in fourth. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Third Person’, ‘Coherence’, ‘Humshakals’, ‘A Summer’s Tale’, ‘The Last Sentence’

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 2:50pm PDT

Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Third Person’, ‘Coherence’, ‘Humshakals’, ‘A Summer’s Tale’, ‘The Last Sentence’Paul Haggis’ Toronto ’13 debut Third Person will be this weekend’s major counter-weight to the studios’ summer blitz. Starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde and James Franco, the film had its NYC debut earlier this week with a fashionable crowd at Manhattan’s Sunshine Theater courtesy of the Cinema Society. Haggis introduced some key cast members and warned everyone to “use the restroom” before the screening began and urged everyone to “watch carefully.” The feature is of course, one of a number of specialties opening this weekend. Among them is Oscilloscope’s Coherence which exploited its low budget roots and made a splash at last year’s Fantastic Fest. Music Box Films is opening Scandinavian discovery The Last Sentence and Big World will finally bow Eric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale stateside. The weekend’s largest roll out in terms of theater count among the limited release titles comes courtesy of Bollywood. Fox International Productions will bow comedy Humshakals across North America. Noteworthy this week is the upcoming Richard Linklater film Boyhood. The title, made over 12 years, had a boisterous premiere at the opening of BAMcinemafest in Brooklyn Wednesday night with a star-studded event that brought out Darren Aronofsky, Richard Linklater, Bennett Miller and more. Speculation among insiders at the party last night was that the July opener will be a box office powerhouse and a serious awards contender.

Third Person SONY-XXOS-01_OnesheetFINAL2Third Person
Director-writer: Paul Haggis
Cast: Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Kim Basinger, Maria Bello, Loan Chabanol
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

After Paul Haggis’ The Next Three Days (2010) was completed, he immediately dove into writing a script for what would be Third Person. Set in Rome, Paris and New York, the romantic drama is the story of three interlocking love stories involving three couples. It took me two-and-a-half years to write the script only because I allowed the characters to take me where they wanted to take me,” Paul Haggis said at the Sunshine Theater Tuesday night at the premiere of the film hosted by the Cinema Society and Revlon. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Robert Pattinson’s ‘The Rover’ Runs Strongly In Blah Weekend

By | Sunday June 15, 2014 @ 11:20am PDT

The Rover movie posterSpecialties generally had a blasé weekend with newcomers mostly flat at best. A24 has had a streak of chart-topping opening weekends of late with last week’s Obvious Child and, earlier in the spring, Under The Skin. The company continued its roll this weekend with The Rover, though with more modest results. The crime drama set in the Australian Outback starring Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy was nevertheless the weekend’s PTA-topper, grossing $70K in five New York and L.A. theaters, averaging a strong $14K per theater. A24 noted Sunday that the film “received strong reviews, particularly for Robert Pattinson’s breakthrough performance, and his fans responded, as the audience breakdown was close to a 50-50 split between men and women.” The Rover, directed by David Michôd, will expand nationwide next weekend.

Hellion movie posterIn other openers, IFC Films bowed its Sundance drama Hellion in an exclusive run at IFC Center in New York, grossing $9,000. It has measured momentum as it heads to Los Angeles next weekend and the top ten markets throughout the rest of June. Also bowing with tepid results is Focus FeaturesThe Signal though the title was by far the biggest roll out among the limited-release newbies. The feature grossed $146K in 120 theaters for a $1,217 PTA. Focus noted Sunday that … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘The Rover’, ‘Hellion’, ‘Ivory Tower’, ‘A Coffee In Berlin’, ‘Violette’, ‘I Am I’

By | Thursday June 12, 2014 @ 4:59pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Coming on the heels of last weekend’s robust opening of Obvious Child, A24 is opening the first Cannes 2014 title The Rover, boasting an A-list cast including Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson and Scoot McNairy. Sundance Selects will bow the Aaron Paul-Juliette Lewis starrer Hellion exclusively in New York, while Music Box will also take A Coffee In Berlin to NYC for its initial launch. Samuel Goldwyn Films is partnering with Participant for Sundance doc Ivory Tower which asks whether higher education is worth the trillions in debt in the U.S. Adopt Films is countering this weekend’s 22 Jump Street and How To Train Your Dragon 2 studio releases with French film Violette while Gravitas Ventures opens I Am I.

The RoverThe Rover
Director-writer: David Michôd
Writer: Joel Edgerton,
Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes, Gillian Jones
Distributor: A24

Producer Liz Watts produced filmmaker David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom through her company Porchlight Films and was lured to the current project after reading the screenplay for The Rover. The crime drama takes place 10 years after a global economic collapse in which a hardened ex-soldier tracks down the men who stole his only possession, traveling through the lawless Australian outback and taking a damaged young man as his accomplice. “I was keen to work with David again,” said Watts. “As a director and collaborator he is brilliant, but I also loved his screenplay for The Rover. I read it around the time we were traveling for Animal Kingdom’s release in January 2010.” Though the film is Australian in tone it has an international cast and backing. David Linde’s Lava Bear Films also produced as did FilmNation during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. “By the shoot we’d pre-sold around 75% of international territories,” said Watts. “A24 came on board in May 2013 for domestic.” Watts said that critically important was shooting in Australia meant the filmmakers were able to seek significant investment through Screen Australia, together with the Producer’s Offset, and with state bodies South Australian Film Corporation (for shooting in South Australia) and Screen NSW (for post-production in Sydney). Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Obvious Child’ Bows Big; ‘The Grand Seduction,’ ‘Chef’ Expansions Solid

By | Sunday June 8, 2014 @ 2:51pm PDT

Obvious ChildA24‘s Obvious Child opened to solid numbers in a crowded weekend some other distributors likely would rather forget. The abortion comedy, based on a 2009 short by filmmaker Gillian Robespierre, bowed with $81K in three theaters in NYC and LA for a robust $27K per-theater average. A24, which has had a nice winning streak of recent openers including Under The Skin (which opened in April with a $35K PTA in four theaters), was pleased with Obvious Child‘s results when reporting numbers Sunday:

“Sundance hit Obvious Child opened with the highest per screen (average) in the country this weekend and is now poised to become one of the breakout hits of summer. The hilarious and crowd-pleasing romantic comedy, featuring a star-making performance by actress/comedian Jenny Slate, received overwhelmingly positive reviews (over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes) and incredible word-of-mouth, including continual love throughout social media.  The ‘revolutionary’ film that MTV called “your next obsession” saw sell-out shows on both Friday and Saturday.” A24 will expand the film to top markets over the next three weeks and go nationwide June 27. Read More »

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Radius-TWC Touts Docu-Cred And Reveals VOD/Digital Numbers For Two Recent Docs

Radius-TWCEXCLUSIVE: Radius-TWC offered a rare look inside the VOD numbers today, providing nontheatrical earnings for its recent documentaries The Unknown Known and Oscar winner 20 Feet From Stardom. The company, which unveiled the Mike Myers-helmed Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon, opened Oscar winner Errol Morris’ 20 Feet From StardomUnknown Known in early April. It has cumed nearly $270K in its nine weeks in theaters, but VOD/digital platforms drew an additional $1 million. Meanwhile, 20 Feet From Stardom, has banked $1.3 million from VOD/digital, adding to its $4.945 million theatrical take in its 52 consecutive weeks of release since June 14, 2013. “We’re going to keep going until it hits $5 million,” said Quinn, Co-President of Radius along with Jason Janego.

Related: Specialty Box Office Preview

“There’s an interesting nexus of several things happening at once,” Quinn told Deadline. “I think it’s worth highlighting some of the nonfiction work that we’ve done. We did [Unknown Known] as day-and-date because we feel that the director Errol unknown_knownMorris has a heavy following on Twitter and even skews younger in some respects but also because of the notoriety of the subject, Don Rumsfeld. That collective gross gives a sense of how it fits into the marketplace. If it were a purely theatrical film, it would be the second-highest-grossing documentary of the year [so far].” The total would put Unknown Known roughly on par with IFC Films’ doc Finding Vivian Maier, which has cumed about $1.36 million theatrically. (That film also is available via on demand platforms, but IFC Films remains hush-hush about its nontheatrical grosses). Sony Classics’ Tim’s Vermeer, meanwhile, has grossed about  $1.67 million theatrically since its January release. “Errol absolutely loves this release pattern and likes the interaction that it allows for,” said Quinn. “I think he’d like to do this again, and we’d love to work with him again.” Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Sacrament’, ‘The Case Against 8′, ‘Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon’, ‘Obvious Child’, More

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The Edge Of Tomorrow and The Fault In Our Stars may reign supreme among new theatrical offerings this weekend, but a crowded pack of specialty newcomers will nip at their heels including documentaries, thrillers and more. Ti West’s The Sacrament will open, following up on 2011 feature The Innkeepers, while A24 bows its Sundance feature Obvious Child, Drafthouse Films opens Borgman and FilmBuff gets theatrical with Burt’s Buzz. Radius-TWC hopes to repeat its box office and award-winning triumph 20 Feet From Stardom with docu Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon. HBO Documentary will open its Sundance winner The Case Against 8 in theaters ahead of its small-screen debut later this month. Emerging Pictures is launching the weekend’s foreign-language newcomer Dormant Beauty and Well Go USA and MPI will bow Rigor Mortis and Willow Creek in limited runs beginning tomorrow.

The SacramentThe Sacrament
Director-writer: Ti West
Cast: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley, Amy Seimetz, Kate Lyn Sheil, Gene Jones, Shawn Parsons, Donna Biscoe
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Filmmaker Ti West was looking to do something different from his previous feature, The Innkeepers, which opened in 2011. The thriller follows a news team in pursuit of a man as he travels to an undisclosed location to find his missing sister. Upon entering Eden Parish and meeting the community’s leader, it becomes apparent to the newcomers that things are not quite as they appear. “I wanted to something much more confronting and horrific,” said West, speaking from New Mexico where he’s working on his next project, the Western A Valley Of Violence. “I wanted to use a real event as the framework of the story and media brand.” The real event West is referring to is Jonestown, the infamous People’s Temple in Guyana headed by Jim Jones in which more than 900 people committed mass suicide in 1978. “I think it’s misunderstood. People just think about the mass [deaths] at People’s Temple,” said West. “[But] I think the circumstances are relevant today, but we’re desensitized to the violence because of the media.” West put together financing quickly and went right to location in Georgia. “I got the movie made over a treatment really,” said West. “I wrote the script with people in mind and wrote it to their strengths. At the end of the day we didn’t do much improvisation, but we were making a movie that wasn’t easy.” West said the production had a lot of “moving parts” so collaboration on the 18-day shoot was prohibitive “[Producer Eli Roth] gave me final cut and the final decision on casting,” added West. The Sacrament premiered at Venice and Toronto and is the fifth title he’s released via Magnolia. “It’s cool to have a company I get along with very well,” he said. “I get the feeling sometimes that we’re in this together which is great to have as an independent filmmaker.” The company will open Sacrament at Cinema Village in New York and The Carlton in Toronto. It will head to Charlotte, NC on June 12 with cities including LA, Portland, OR, Denver, Atlanta and Cambridge, MA opening June 13, with additional markets added throughout the month. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ Strong; Docs ‘Korengal’ And ‘Elena’ Bow Decently; James McAvoy Opens ‘Filth’

By | Sunday June 1, 2014 @ 11:53am PDT

nightmovesThe first half of 2014 will not go down as memorable overall for specialties despite a weekend that boasted some star star power against Maleficent and the continuation of X-Men. Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves opened with single runs in NYC and L.A. this weekend matching up Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as eco-extremists in the Northwest. It came in with a decent $12,050 PTA ($24,100 gross) with sold-out showings from its bow at the Arclight. “We’re very happy with the strong opening this weekend. We anticipate continued critical acclaim and positive word of mouth fueling the expansion into both arthouses and select commercial venues across the country,” distributor Cinedigm noted Sunday. Night Moves will add theaters in Boston, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and Portland.

Related: Box Office: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Casts $68M+ To $69M+ Spell; ‘A Million Ways To Die In the West’ Flatlines; ‘X-Men’ Falls About 64%

filth-james-mcavoyMagnolia Pictures opened two films this weekend. James McAvoy starrer Filth and festival favorite We Are The Best! opened in limited runs with slow results. Filth bowed in a pair of theaters grossing $7,500 ($3,750 PTA) while Swedish feature We Are The Best! actually did better with a $21K gross ($7K average). Magnolia was refreshingly honest Sunday and found a silver-lining for Best: “We were disappointed in the opening day’s gross, but we always knew this was an underdog film and very difficult to market. We also knew audiences loved it and it’s gotten some of the best reviews we’ve received in our company’s history. We had an enormous 125% jump Friday over Saturday and we think that the word of mouth is going to keep this film rolling all through the summer.” Read More »

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