Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Marquee specialty newcomers were at a minimum this weekend, continuing a pattern that began with the New Year. Among the limited release debuts reporting Sunday, both Happy People: A Year In The Taiga from Werner Herzog and Israeli director Eytan Fox’s Yossi reported fair openings, while Magnolia Pictures’ John Dies At The End showed more momentum in its LA debut at one location with $13,500 making it the top opener among the specialties. Music Box Films’ Happy People opened at IFC Center in New York, grossing $9,882, while Strand Releasing’s Yossi bowed in two cinemas, taking in $13,208 for a $6,604 average. Among holdovers, Indomina’s LUV subtracted 24 theaters in the film’s second weekend, grossing $18K for a slight $857 average. Oscar hopeful Amour meanwhile held solid in another expansion and TWC’s Quartet also held robust numbers after adding 131 theaters. IFC Films’ Knife Fight, starring Rob Lowe as a poltical strategist, split $1,200 for the weekend between two theaters in LA and New York.
Siberian-set documentary Happy People: A Year In The Taiga bowed at NYC’s IFC Center with a so-so $9,882 that single location. Werner Herzog is a giant among documentary filmmakers, but the film, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2010, opened theatrically over the weekend in the shadow of the Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s 2011 release Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, which opened with an average of $27,820 in five theaters, though his Into The Abyss – also a 2011 release — only totaled $223,880 domestically. Music Box Films will add six markets including Los Angeles on February 15th and will expand to Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and San Diego on February 22.