Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’, ‘That Demon Within’, ‘Tasting Menu’, ‘Small Time’

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 6:05pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)After making a mega-splash at the box office last year, Woody Allen gets some time in front of the camera with John Turturro‘s comedy Fading Gigolo, which he also stars in along with Sharon Stone. Millennium Entertainment will open the title in limited release. Two docs are among this weekend’s crop of new Specialty releases, including Sundance title Cesar’s Last Fast as well as penis documentary The Final Member from Drafthouse Films. China Lion is opening action-crime feature That Demon Within, which co-stars Nick Cheung who recently won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in Unbeatable. Magnolia is rolling out Tasting Menu, hoping to re-create a recipe of lofty box office returns from its previously released food-oriented fare. And Anchor Bay will open Small Time from first time filmmaker Joel Surnow in just over a dozen locations.

Fading Gigologigolo
Director-writer: John Turturro
Cast: John Turturro, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber
Distributor: Millennium Entertainment

John Turturro directed Woody Allen’s one-act play Honeymoon Hotel in 2011. “I was thinking it would be interested to do something with Woody, but I didn’t know if we’d have chemistry,” said Turturro about the beginnings of what would become Fading Gigolo. The comedy centers on Fioravante who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend, Murray. The pair wind up in the sex business. “I didn’t know how I’d approach it but we exchanged notes,” said Turturro. “I did research on living that kind of life and on the Hasidic community. I wanted to make a human comedy and [Woody Allen] encouraged me to take that route.” Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Leads Newcomers; Nic Cage’s ‘Joe’ Opens Weak; ‘Railway Man’ Too Disturbing?

By | Sunday April 13, 2014 @ 10:22am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeOnly Lovers Left Alive held sway among Specialty newcomers this weekend, scoring the weekend’s highest average in a fairly crowded box office. The film starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston grossed nearly $97K in four theaters, averaging $24,244. Crowds packed the 268-seat Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center Friday night where director Jim Jarmusch took part in a Q&A for the 7pm screening of the film (he gave a rather interesting theory on William Shakespeare not being the author of his work).Only Lovers Left Alive The weekend results for Lovers outperformed Jarmusch’s previous 2009 feature The Limits Of Control, which averaged $18,607 in three theaters when it opened in May of that year. It went on to cume over $426K domestically. Broken Flowers which starred Bill Murray, Sharon Stone and Julie Delpy had a slightly higher PTA launch, averaging $28,904 in 27 theaters when it opened in August 2005. The Focus Features release went on to total over $13.744M in the U.S.

“It’s a great start, people really seemed to love the film,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker Sunday. SPC will open Only Lovers Left Alive in New York and L.A. this weekend, expanding to San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C. the following week before heading to the top 50 markets through spring.

railwaymanTWC opened The Railway Man in several locations, grossing $64,506 for an so-so $16,127 average. “We’re off to a respectable start on Railway Man,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “Our exit information confirmed [what we thought]. It was a mostly an older audience. There’s some images that are disturbing, but it’s very relevant today with current events in Fort Hood. What we learned from the U.K. and Australia was that the midweek grosses were about as good as the weekends. So we’re just going to let it roll. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Railway Man’, ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’, ‘Joe’, ‘Hateship Loveship,’ ‘Cuban Fury’, ‘Dancing In Jaffa’, ‘A Fragile Trust’

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The likes of Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, Nicolas Cage, Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce and more have films joining the Specialties in theaters this weekend in what could possibly be a big draw at the box … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Scarlett Johansson Reigns With Sci-Fier ‘Under The Skin’

By | Sunday April 6, 2014 @ 9:51am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeUPDATED: Boasting a bankable Hollywood star in a decidedly unconventional narrative, Jonathan Glazer’s stunning Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson (who also stars in this weekend’s fellow opener Captain America 2) proved a winning mix in the Specialty Box Office for distributor A24 in its opening weekend. The film, Glazer’s first in 10 years, grossed a robust $140K in four L.A. and NYC theaters. That comes in at a $35K screen average, easily the biggest since the The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s bombshell $202K PTA when it opened March 9. Scarlett Johansson Under the SkinUnder The Skin‘s initial numbers also bode well for A24, which opened in 2012 and had a streak of box office successes over last year, including Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which had an $87,667 PTA when it opened last March ($14.1M cume), The Spectacular Now ($49,354 PTA in 4 theaters last August and a $6.85M cume), The Bling Ring ($42,879 PTA in 5 theaters last June and a $5.8M cume) and Ginger & Rosa ($14,279 PTA in 3 theaters in March 2012, $1M cume).

Said A24 this weekend: “[Under The Skin] opened to rave reviews and sold out shows in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. This unique cinematic event is second only to The Grand Budapest Hotel as the highest limited specialized film opening of the year. Scarlett Johannson, who stars in both Under The Skin and the Captain America sequel, was a box office star this weekend dominating the box office with Captain America and Under The Skin having the highest per screen average in the country.”

A24 noted that the title, which it acquired out of Toronto last year, is “an art movie that people are embracing.” A spokesperson told me Sunday that they “couldn’t sell more tickets” at its showing in New York’s Union Square. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. II’, ‘The Unknown Known’, ‘The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden’, ‘Afflicted’, ‘Alan Partridge’, ‘Ilo Ilo’, ‘Frankie & Alice’

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)This is a jam-packed weekend of new releases, many hoping to be the perfect counter-programming pick against Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Magnolia is opening Nymphomaniac: Vol II just weeks after releasing Vol. I in theaters. The film is the continuation of the much talked about Lars von Trier two-parter that has fascinated fans of the Danish filmmaker for well over a year. Documentaries are also on tap this weekend, including Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known and Zeitgeist’s The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came To Eden. CBS Films is bowing Afflicted, a title it became involved with early on, while Magnolia will open comedy Alan Partridge. Cannes Camera d’Or winner Ilo Ilo from Singapore is opening in limited release, while Codeblack/Lionsgate will launch Frankie & Alice in over 150 theaters. Other titles not profiled in depth but also among this weekend’s packed list of theatrical openers include Searchlight’s Dom Hemingway, Anchor Bay’s In The Blood and TWC’s On The Other Side Of The Tracks. And A24 will open Jonathan Glazer’s experimental sci-fi Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson in limited release.

Nymphomaniac: Vol. IIhr_Nymphomaniac-_Volume_II_2
Director-writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Shia LaBeouf, Stacy Martin, Jamie Bell, Mia Goth
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia opened the first part of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac duo theatrically March 21 (it was available via digital/VOD beginning March 6) and is now following up with the second part of the film, which follows the saga of sex addict Joe (she prefers the term ‘nymphomaniac,’ however). Charlotte Gainsbourg is featured more prominently in Vol. II, depicting the older Joe in the final installment of the film, following up Vol. I in which Stacy Martin is seen primarily as the younger Joe (porn stars are used for Joe’s sex scenes). Though both parts are currently available via digital/VOD (Vol. II launched on demand March 20), there will be some theaters that will screen both films for audiences preferring to see both parts back to back. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Raid 2′, ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ Start Solid, ‘Cesar Chavez’ Posts Middling Results

By | Sunday March 30, 2014 @ 10:13am PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The Raid 2 and documentary Finding Vivian Maier found solid footing in their opens this weekend, while Cesar Chavez had a mixed start as holdover juggernaut The Grand Budapest Hotel continued to hold sway as March makes its exit. Sony Classics ventured into the action-thriller genre with The Raid 2 and scored a solid open. The feature by Gareth Evans, a follow-up to his 2012 pic The Raid: Redemption, grossed nearly $177K in just seven locations, by far taking the highest per-theater average of this weekend’s reporting newcomers with a solid $25,272. the-raid-2Raid: Redemption grossed nearly $214K when it opened in March 2012, averaging $15,270. It went on to cume over $4.1M domestically. “There’s a loyal following to the first film, but the word-of-mouth from all the screenings we’ve had have been great,” SPC co-president Michael Barker told me this week. “It was a triumph at Sundance and at SXSW. All these factors foreshadow a good run.” It will head into about 30 theaters in five or six cities this week before heading wide into 1,200 locations.

Related: Box Office: ‘Noah’ Rises, ‘God’s Not Dead’ Surprises As Schwarzenegger Brought To Knees

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Raid 2′, ‘Breathe In’, ‘Finding Vivian Maier’, ‘Mistaken For Strangers’

By | Thursday March 27, 2014 @ 5:38pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Several newcomers make their way to the Specialty box office this coming weekend, though it is more than certain holdovers will entrench their reign with audiences. Searchlight’s tour de force The Grand Budapest Hotel has been shattering sales numbers and will move into upwards of 675 additional theaters heading into Friday. Last weekend Budapest had a stunning $22,204 PTA in 304 theaters. Also grabbing screens in the last weekend of March will be Focus Features’ Bad Words, three weeks after its launch. The Jason Bateman directorial debut will add over 650 locations. Last weekend it averaged $5,747 from 178 runs. On Friday, Sony Classics will follow up its 2012 The Raid: Redemption release with The Raid 2 in limited runs. Cohen Media Group will bow director Drake Doremus’ fourth feature Breathe In with Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones in well over a dozen locations, while Sundance Selects will head out with Finding Vivian Maier, an enigmatic figure in the photography world that has turned into a titan in death. And Abramorama will open Mistaken For Strangers, a music documentary centered on the relationship of two brothers.

The Raid 2theraid2
Director-writer: Gareth Evans
Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Julie Estelle, Donny Alamsyah, Oka Antara
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

The Raid 2 by Gareth Evans follows his 2012 first installment, The Raid: Redemption. The latest feature follows a short time after the first raid, in which Rama goes undercover with the thugs of Jakarta and plans to bring down the syndicate and uncover the corruption within his own police force. “From the beginning we wanted to be a part of Raid 2,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “We became involved with [this feature] even before they shot this one, which was still in the script stage at the time.” The project, which SPC worked on with Sony Worldwide Acquisition Group, is building on the momentum of the first Raid, according to Barker. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest’ Extends Reign In Expansion; ‘Nymphomaniac’ Bows So-So Theatrically

Specialty Box OfficeThe Grand Budapest Hotel maintained its box office magic over in its third weekend following an expansion, even as a slew of newcomers bowed with mixed results.

Lars von Trier’s much ballyhooed and anticipated Nymphomaniac: Vol. I culminated with a 25 theater bow this weekend, grossing a so-so $175K for a $7K theater average. Magnolia noted the film, the first part of two Nymphomaniac films (the next opens in theaters April 4) has already been available via VOD and digital platforms, so conceivably a sizable portion of audiences may have wanted to experience the romp in the privacy of home.

On a straight theatrical comparison, Magnolia opened LVT’s previous film Melancholia in 19 theaters, grossing over $257K for a $13,535 PTA in November 2011. nymphomaniacMelancholia went on to cume just over $3.03M domestically. Still, his 2009 release Antichrist opened in just 6 theaters in October 2009, averaging $11,900 ($404,122 domestic cume). Magnolia noted Sunday reporting its Nymphomaniac numbers: “The first volume of Nymphomaniac finally opened after months of buildup and anticipation – from audiences and from us. It did well across the country and lived up to our expectations for it. Combined with a really great VOD take so far, it’s a winner. We’re excited about Volume II, which is on VOD now and in theaters April 4.” On the other end of the spectrum, Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead blitzed the box office with $8.9M in 780 theaters; read more on that in Anita Busch’s mainstream b.o. report. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Nymphomaniac: Vol. I’, ‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’, ‘Blood Ties’, ‘The French Minister’, ‘Anita’, ‘Rob The Mob’

By | Thursday March 20, 2014 @ 5:41pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Nymphomaniac has finally come. After months of trailers, teasers and speculation, Lars von Trier‘s first installment centering on a sex addict opens theatrically in the U.S., courtesy of Magnolia. Not to be daunted, there are other newcomers in the Specialty market as well. Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard and Mila Kunis star in Roadside’s Blood Ties, while Michael Pitt, Nina Arianda, Andy Garcia and Ray Romano star in Millennium’s Rob The Mob. Sony Classics opens Jodorowsky’s Dune this weekend, which even one competitor told me was a “must see” for cinephiles. IFC Films will open French political comedy The French Minister. And Samuel Goldwyn Films will bow Anita, a personal look at Anita Hill and the firestorm she found herself in during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court confirmation hearings back in 1991.

Nymphomaniac: Vol. Inympho
Director-writer: Lars von Trier
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stacy Martin, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Uma Thurman, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Connie Nielsen
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures

Much has been said, rumored and obsessed over since Lars von Trier first quipped at an ill-fated press conference in Cannes 2011 for his previous film Melancholia that he was “going to next do a porn movie” and appeared to reference Charlotte Gainsbourg and fellow Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst as its stars. The news was the first time Gainsbourg had heard of the project — she even thought he was kidding at the time. As it developed, she joined and model turned aspiring actress Stacy Martin did as well. They both play “Joe,” a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Lofty $55K PTA In Expansion; Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’ Solid

By | Sunday March 16, 2014 @ 11:11am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeThe Grand Budapest Hotel continued to charm audiences as it expanded, cashing in. The Fox Searchlight powerhouse moved into 66 theaters in its second weekend, grossing a cool $3.64M for a still dazzling $55,152 per-theater average. The Wes Anderson film shattered a slew of records last weekend when it opened in four theaters with a $200K screen average. It is still a must-see in its second round and even surpassed Anderson’s last film Moonrise Kingdom in the b.o. in its second week. That film played in 16 theaters in its second weekend after a record-breaking opener $130K-plus average back in May 2012. In its second weekend, Moonrise averaged $53,043 and went on to cume over $45.5M.

Related: Box Office: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Looks To Take No. 1 Spot; ‘Need For Speed’ Stalling; Tyler Perry’s ‘Mom’s Club’ Lackluster, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Exceptional … Again

grand-budapest_2813768bBudapest placed 8th in the overall box office. Noted Searchlight Sunday reporting the numbers: “The film is reaching a wide audience beyond the core Wes Anderson fans. While moviegoers have been visiting Art houses and Specialty venues in record breaking fashion this weekend, there have also been great results in the few mainstream multiplexes that we opened as well. It appears that the film has as opportunity to cross over to an audience who may not have seen his films before, but are now ready to check into The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Searchlight will take Budapest to an additional 40 markets next week and will expand in existing cities, taking the feature to 275 – 325 theaters. And it will expand further later in the month and into April. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Enemy’, ‘Bad Words’, ‘Le Week-end’, ‘On My Way’, ‘Teenage’, ‘Big Men’, ‘Dark House’, ‘Shirin In Love’

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 6:38pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The shadow of the Oscar season and last weekend’s record shattering theatrical debut of Fox Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel hang over the coming weekend’s releases. Some competitors hailed its success and said they hoped to ride in its wake as they head to theaters this Friday and beyond. A24 will roll out Jake Gyllenhaal starrer Enemy by Denis Velleneuve who has had success in both the studio and indie space. Jason Bateman takes the director’s chair for the first time with TIFF and SXSW feature Bad Words for Focus. Music Box Films will open U.K.’s Le Week-end after delaying its roll out post awards-season. France’s On My Way starring Catherine Deneuve opens in theaters following its premiere at an annual French film series in NYC via Cohen Media Group. Abramorama is opening doc Big Men with the support of Brad Pitt who executive produced. Jason Schwartzman also exec produced a doc opening this weekend, the hybrid Teenage from Oscilloscope. And Paladin and Cinedigm are teaming on indie thriller Dark House, while Shirin In Love takes a bilingual approach as it heads to theaters in the Specialty space this weekend.

Enemyenemy2
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writers: Javier Gullón, José Saramago (novel)
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini, Joshua Peace
Distributor: A24

Québécois filmmaker Denis Villeneuve won acclaim and an Oscar nomination for his 2011 feature Incendies, which Sony Classics released with a cast unknown in the States, taking in $2 million-plus domestically. His next feature was crime-thriller Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, a studio film that grossed over $61 million domestically. Gyllenhaal returns with Enemy, a mystery-thriller about a man who seeks out his exact look-alike after spotting him in a movie. A24, which had multiple box office hits in the Specialty arena in its first year, including Spring Breakers, The Bling Ring and The Spectacular Now, first caught Enemy at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Newcomers Overshadowed By ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Opener

By | Sunday March 9, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)After spending most of 2014 gushing over the Oscar nominees and relatively few others, the specialty box office biz got a massive jolt this weekend with the arrival of Wes Anderson‘s Berlin opener The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Fox Searchlight film broke records for a live-action opener, grossing a massive $800K in four theaters (the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, the Landmark in West LA, the Regal Union Square in NY, and the AMC Lincoln Square in NY) for a stunning $200K per-theater average. Other openers braved opening alongside Budapest this weekend with various results.

Related: Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Record Debut

Three of the bigger openings this weekend had not reported numbers as of this afternoon. Magnolia Pictures opened the Elijah Wood-starring thriller Grand Piano in one theater each in New York, L.A. and Austin. The distrib’s genre label Magnet Releasing is behind the North American rollout of China blockbuster Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, which grossed $205 million in its home territory alone last year. It opened Friday in 10 markets ahead of a broader U.S. rollout. Another pic, the Italian drama Miele (Honey), opened in a single NY theater before expanding to LA next week. We’ll update with those numbers when they arrive.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Grand Piano’, ‘Journey To The West, More

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Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Record Per-Screen Average

grand-budapest_2813768bWes Anderson topped himself with another record-breaker this weekend. After premieres at the Berlin Film Festival and last week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far the year’s biggest screen average debut and the biggest-ever opening for a live-action film. Fox Searchlight opened Budapest in four New York and Los Angeles theaters, grossing $800K for a stunning $200K screen average between Friday and Sunday. The number easily surpasses another record holder, The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, which starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman. That film opened in September 2012 with five runs, grossing over $736K for a $142,262 PTA. This weekend’s Budapest numbers also top Anderson’s previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, which grossed nearly $523K in four theaters when it opened following its Cannes debut in May 2012. A Focus Features release, it averaged $130,749 and went on to cume more than $45.5 million in the U.S.

Related: Box Office: ‘300: Rise Of An Empire’ Commands $45M; ‘Budapest’ Per Screen Stuns

Last year, animated feature Frozen opened with a $243,490 PTA, but this weekend’s Budapest numbers outgross another 2013 box office juggernaut, American Hustle, which opened in six theaters in December, grossing more than $740K for a $123,409 PTA. It has grossed $148.43M to date. Budapest also debuted this weekend in the UK, Germany and Belgium. The film’s profile is sky-high in Germany and elsewhere in Europe after its world premiere as opening-night film last month in Berlin.

Related: Specialty Box Office: Newcomers Overshadowed By ‘Budapest’ Opener

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Grand Piano’, ‘Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons’, ‘Miele’, ‘Particle Fever’, ‘Bethlehem’

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Wes Anderson dazzled the specialty box office in 2012 when Focus Features opened Moonrise Kingdom with one of the year’s highest per-screen averages. Now Fox Searchlight takes the Anderson mantle with The Grand Budapest Hotel, which bowed in Berlin and took the Siver Bear Grand Jury Prize. Also this frame, Elijah Wood goes indie with the thriller Grand Piano courtesy of Magnolia, while the distributor’s genre label will bow China box office behemoth Journey To The West. Emerging Pictures will oversee an Italian initiative to bring targeted films from the country “nationwide” in the U.S., starting with veteran actress-turned-director Valeria Golino’s Miele (Honey). Abramorama and BOND360 are collaborating on Sheffield documentary Particle Fever and Adopt Films will open Israeli thriller Bethlehem in more than two dozen theaters Friday.

Grand Budapest Hotel.jpgThe Grand Budapest Hotel
Director-writer: Wes Anderson
Writer: Hugo Guinness
Cast: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Jude Law, Jeff Goldblum, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Saoirse Ronan, Tony Revolori
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Anderson’s latest film opens nearly two years after his last film, Moonrise Kingdom. That proved to be an opening-weekend powerhouse, smashing the screen average when Focus Features bowed the title in four theaters at the end of May 2012, grossing a whopping $523K for a dazzling $130,749 average. It went on to gross more than $45.5 million in the U.S. (Anderson’s The Royal Tennenbaums remains his biggest box office grosser to date in theaters, taking in more than $52.3M domestically in 2001. Budapest, the Berlin Film Festival opener, reunites some cast from Moonrise including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Edward Norton. It centers on the adventures of Gustav H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous Eastern European hotel between the wars, and Zero, a lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. Budapest has already launched to strong numbers in France where it grossed nearly $2.8M its opening weekend in 172 theaters for a strong $16,220 average, becoming his biggest opening ever in the country.

Related: Berlin: Wes Anderson & Cast Talk ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’
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Specialty Box Office: SPC’s ‘The Lunchbox’ Solid Newcomer As Oscar Hopefuls Continue Their Reign

By | Sunday March 2, 2014 @ 11:40am PST

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)All attention is on the Oscars (and Spirits) this weekend, but a couple new specialty releases managed to gain some sparkle as they rolled out in limited release. Sony Pictures Classics’ Cannes debut The Lunchbox from India reigned over a half-dozen newcomers that rolled out Friday. e LunchboxThe feature from the subcontinent (and not a “usual Bollywood” film) found traction to the tune of $51K-plus in an NYC & LA platform release for a solid $17,108 average, while Cinedigm’s Bag Man also bowed decently, grossing over $28K for a $14,245 average.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Non-Stop,’ And Powerful ‘Son Of God’ Fly Past ‘Lego’ On Wings And A Prayer; ‘Lego’ Passes $200M, ‘Frozen’ To Pass $1 Billion

“It’s one of those engaging foreign films that has a potential to cross over [audiences],” SPC’s Michael Barker said about the film this week. “It’s culturally Indian, however the story crosses all borders.” Barker said the film will head to up to a dozen markets the following week, eventually playing the top 50 markets within five weeks of this weekend’s initial rollout.

Related: OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Absolute FINAL Predictions In Every Category In One Of The Most Competitive Races Ever

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Bag Man’, ‘Repentance’, ‘Stalingrad’, ‘The Lunchbox’, ‘Fatal Assistance’

By | Thursday February 27, 2014 @ 6:00pm PST

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Big Sony is opening Russian epic Stalingrad in a record number of IMAX theaters this weekend. The roll out may be a watershed for Russian filmmaking in the U.S. and it marks another blending of “specialty” and “Hollywood” though that isn’t really new as the grey areas have mounted for years. Hollywood’s biggest stars have long had indies intervals between studio cash cows. Cinedigm will open The Bag Man with Robert De Niro and John Cusack theatrically, while the Universal acquisition will remain with the studio’s non-theatrical lineup. Lionsgate/Codeblack will bow Repentance with Anthony Mackie and Forest Whitaker in over 150 theaters, targeting its primarily African-American audience. On the traditional end, Sony Classics will platform Cannes debut The Lunchbox this weekend, while Velvet Films will open an exclusive engagement at Film Society of Lincoln Center for Raoul Peck’s Fatal Assistance.

The Bag Manthe-bag-man-movie-poster
Director-writer: David Grovic
Writers: Paul Conway, James Russo, Marie-Louise von Franz (inspired by her short story, The Cat)
Cast: John Cusack, Rebecca Da Costa, Robert De Niro, Crispin Glover, Dominic Purcell
Distributor: Cinedigm

First-time feature filmmaker David Grovic landed quite a cast for his crime thriller The Bag Man. Starring John Cusack, Rebecca Da Costa and Robert De Niro, the title centers on a criminal who bides his time at a seedy motel, waiting for his boss after killing several men and making away with a mystery bag. “We were incredibly fortunate to get essentially first choices in all the roles,” said Grovic. “Unless you’re a studio paying huge money, I think the only way you can get this quality of cast is by making it a passion project.” Grovic said that the cast responded to the script’s non-stereotypical traits including De Niro’s hair and eccentric dialog as well as Da Costa’s wonder woman outfit for starters. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Elaine Stritch’ & Oscar Contender ‘Omar’ Bow OK; ‘Beijing Love Story’ Continues To Seduce

By | Sunday February 23, 2014 @ 11:27am PST

Specialty Box OfficeElaine Stritch‘s new docu opened in a pair of New York theaters this weekend to a decent crowd. The Tribeca ’13 doc opened at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center grossing $30K. Now in a wheelchair and frail, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress/performer nevertheless made headlines last weekend when she delivered the F-bomb on The Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, giving the film a round of publicity in the lead up to its weekend opening. elaine stritch shoot meElaine Stritch: Shoot Me got off to a fantastic start as the film will roll out to the top twenty markets throughout March. “Audiences came out to see the well reviewed documentary about the legendary Emmy and Tony award winner,” noted IFC Films Sunday. It will also be available via VOD soon.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Is Lord Of Business, Costner’s ’3 Days To Kill’ No. 2 Buries ‘Pompeii’

Adopt Films opened its Foreign-Language Oscar nominee Omar in a fairly wide 51 theaters. The Palestinian feature by Hany Abu-Assad won festival accolades from Cannes, London, NYFF and AFI Fest had by far the widest opening among its fellow Oscar contenders that have opened Stateside. Tribeca Film’s Broken Circle Breakdown opened in one theater grossing $7,100 ($158 cume), while Magnolia’s The Hunt bowed in 10 theaters last July, growing $43K ($613 cume). Janus Films’ The Great Beauty is by far the box office winner among the pack, passing the $2 million cume threshold this week. It opened in one location in November, grossing $23,442. Strand’s The Missing Picture from Cambodia will open next month. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Omar’, ‘Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me’, ‘Barefoot,’ ‘In Secret,’ ‘The Standbys’, ‘Black Out’

By | Thursday February 20, 2014 @ 7:57pm PST

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)A new Oscar nominee is finally making its theatrical outing this weekend. Foreign-language contender Omar will open in over a few dozen locations, giving the director of this Palestinian feature his largest bow Stateside via Adopt Films. IFC Films will open Tribeca debut Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me in New York, capitalizing on the Tony and Emmy Award-winner’s long-time home before her recent move. Roadside Attractions will launch a pair of films, Barefoot and In Secret, though the two will have much different theatrical trajectories. Diginext will open doc The Standbys in NYC, capitalizing on its Broadway base, while Music Box Films’ genre label Doppelgänger Releasing will open Black Out in limited runs.

Omaromar
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani, Essam Abu Aabed, Baher Agbariya
Distributor: Adopt Films

Combining elements of a thriller, intrigue and a love story, Oscar-nominated film (Foreign Language category) Omar had its premiere in Cannes and later screened in Toronto and at NYFF. The feature revolves around a young Palestinian fighter who agrees to work as an informant after he’s tricked into an admission of guilt by association after the killing of an Israeli soldier. “Omar showcases the human limitations of an occupied people where the collective paranoia invades the daily life of both the Israelis and Palestinians,” said Tim Grady, president of Distribution at Adopt Films, which also distributed Israeli film Bethlehem, also filmed in the West Bank. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Beijing Love Story’ Solid Niche Opening In Quiet Holiday Weekend

By | Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 12:12pm PST

beijinglovestoryThe Presidents Day weekend was rather quiet for the Specialty Box Office in a holiday otherwise dominated by Legos. Only one newcomer bothered to report 3-day numbers Sunday, though they were decently solid. China Lion’s Valentine’s offering Beijing Love Story brought out its niche following of audiences who gravitate to China’s big screen features. The film grossed $128K for a $14,222 PTA. “We’re in our core communities and pushing our grassroots outreach there,” China Lion’s Robert Lundberg said this week.

Specialty Box OfficeAs of early afternoon EST, other Specialty openers including Girl On A Bicycle (Monterey Media), Lucky Bastard (Cavu Pictures) and Jimmy P. (IFC Films) hadn’t reported their numbers. Here’s hoping IFC Films will back Jimmy P., a film that premiered in competition in Cannes and later debuted Stateside at the New York Film Festival. It has had decent reviews, so hopefully it is not simply being dumped by the distributor. Stay tuned…

Related: Box Office: ‘Lego’ Blocks ’80s Remakes In Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend

Among second weekend holdovers, Kino Lorber continued to reap decent numbers for its doc Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, which continued its exclusive engagement at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Read More »

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