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.
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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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.
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 »