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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 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: 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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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Lucky Them’, ‘Night Moves’, ‘The Grand Seduction’, ‘Filth’, ‘We Are The Best!’, ‘Before You Know It’, ‘Emoticon ;)’

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 4:35pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)The likes of Maleficent, A Million Ways To Die In The West or X-Men haven’t completely scared away the Specialties hoping to slice a bit of box office cash from those who go against the grain. Some of this week’s slew of newcomers even have a number of stars to boost their chances. Toni Collette and Thomas Haden Church star in IFC Films’ Lucky Them, while Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard are in Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves via Cinedigm. Taylor Kitsch goes indie in eOne’s The Grand Seduction and James McAvoy front’s Filth from Magnolia. The distributor is also rolling out Swedish director Lukas Moodysson’s festival favorite We Are The Best! and Indican is bowing Emoticon ;). And the doc of the weekend goes to PJ Raval’s Before You Know It spotlighting LGBT senior citizens with release partner The Film Collaborative.

Lucky Themluckythem
Director: Megan Griffiths
Writers: Huck Botko, Caroline Sherman (original idea), Emily Wachtel
Cast: Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt, Ryan Eggold, Nina Arianda, Ahna O’Reilly, Lynn Shelton, Johnny Depp
Distributor: IFC Films

Writer and producer Emily Wachtel had worked on the script for what would be Lucky Them for over a decade. Fellow producer Amy Hobby joined the project several years ago for the story that originally was destined to shoot in New York with a different director. The project changed coasts, added Megan Griffiths at the helm and scored a name cast with persistence paying off in the end on one star. The drama centers on a rock journalist who is assigned to explore her own past. “We met Megan [Griffiths] in Seattle and realized it felt better to shoot there,” said Amy Hobby. “Once she was on board a bit of money came in. Plus in winter you can get the best crew.” Emily Wachtel suggested Toni Collette as a lead and Thomas Haden Church’s role as Charlie was written for him specifically. Read More »

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UPDATED: Specialty Box Office: ‘Dance Of Reality’ Sashays In Solidly; IFC Debuts ‘Cold In July’, ‘Gore Vidal’

UPDATED WITH MONDAY RESULTS: Jodorowsky's Dance of RealityThe Dance Of Reality glided into a pair of theaters Memorial weekend and has managed to slice out a decent crowd even as the masses headed to X-Men. The ABKCO release is holding OK in a holiday weekend in which the studios hold the reins. Other openers are faring so-so. Directed by Chile-born filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, The Dance Of Reality has grossed nearly $25K through Sunday for a $12,485 PTA. The drama-fantasy was an NYT “Critic Pick,” opening at The Sunshine in New York and the Nuart in Los Angeles. ABKCO released Jodorowsky’s El Topo (2006, $80,302 cume) and Holy Mountain (2007, $61K cume) and is on track to top his previous theatrical numbers.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘X-Men’ On Track To Top Five Memorial Day Openers

“We’re very excited for Alejandro and the reaction to the film,” said Michael Gochanour, Abkco’s Senior Director of Film. “The reviews have been very positive. “We’re very proud and honored to present the film.” The distributor picked up rights to the feature ahead of last year’s Cannes Film Festival and tapped audiences with special presentations at MoMA and elsewhere. “People in their 20s and ‘Williamsburg kids’ identify with his voice,” added Gochanour Sunday. “We focused our attention to reaching them. Reality played this year’s SXSW and will expand to other major markets in the coming weeks including Boston, Chicago and Seattle.

coldinjulyIFC Films bowed two films Friday, including doc Gore Vidal: United States Of Amnesia as well as Jim Mickle’s ’80s-set thriller Cold In July. The latter opened in a half-dozen locations, grossing $40,800 ($6,800 PTA) while Gore Vidal had a slightly higher $7K average in just two theaters. “IFC Films didn’t get involved until the beginning if this year, but once they did, they pushed to [release] it early. It has a theatrical release which is what I always wanted,” Gore Vidal director Nicholas Wrathall told me this week. Both will add theaters in the coming weeks. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Cold In July’, ‘Gore Vidal: United States Of Amnesia’, ‘The Love Punch’, ‘Words And Pictures’, ‘Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors’

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 4:39pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Films starring Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Michael C. Hall, Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson usher in this week’s Specialty newcomers. IFC Films has two of the weekend’s openers, including Cold In July which took years to complete. The late author/satirist Gore Vidal takes the spotlight in the distributor’s doc Gore Vidal: United States Of Amnesia which is chalk-full of the subject’s views on right vs left (the right has apparently won). Two films, The Love Punch from Ketchup Entertainment and Words And Pictures from Roadside Attractions will target older audiences providing counter-programming on this X-Men: Days Of Future Past holiday weekend. And New York is at the center of a story about an autistic boy in Oscilloscope’s Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors.

Cold In Julycoldinjuly
Director-writer: Jim Mickle
Writer: Nick Damici, Joe R. Lansdale (novel)
Cast: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw, Wyatt Russell, Kristin Griffith
Distributor: IFC Films

A half-dozen years in the making, Cold In July‘s big screen turn began when filmmaker Jim Mickle read the novel in 2007. “We had to re-option the book three times. I think we even got to the point where we were optioning it month to month and I think the author was losing faith,” said director Jim Mickle. “And there was a moment at Sundance when I thought it was dead. The financing wasn’t there and the script was far off from where we wanted it to be. I was looking at it like it was a bad relationship with a girlfriend and thought it should go away.” But obviously a reconciliation did occur. Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Chef’ Sweetens The Pot As Marion Cotillard-Led ‘Immigrant’ Lands Stateside

By | Sunday May 18, 2014 @ 11:21am PDT

The Immigrant cotillardNewcomers bowed with muted to mixed results this weekend, while some holdovers including Jon Favreau‘s Chef held some sway in a box office stomped by Godzilla. The Weinstein Company opened James Gray’s Cannes 2013 debut The Immigrant with Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix in a trio of theaters in New York and L.A. Friday, grossing $45,430 for a $15,143 average. That theatrical result bests Gray’s previous opener, Two Lovers (also starring Phoenix as well as Gwyneth Paltrow), though only slightly in terms of PTA. Magnolia Pictures opened Lovers in 7 runs in February 2009, grossing almost $95K for a $13,569 PTA. It went on to cume nearly $3.15M in the U.S. Gray’s highest grossing pic remains the studio release We Own The Night in 2007 via Sony/Columbia. That feature racked up over $28.56 million in the U.S.

“We’re fairly pleased with The Immigrant [opening],” said TWC’s president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis Sunday. “There’s a dedicated art house crowd which it appeals to. There were sell-outs at the Royal in L.A. and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York (a venue that has limited capacity). We’re not Godzilla, this is for a sophisticated audience and we expect that that [crowd] will discover the film as it [continues to head out].” The Immigrant will head out to the top 50 markets in the coming weeks. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Immigrant’, ‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’, ‘Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case’, ‘The Discoverers’, ‘Chinese Puzzle’

By | Friday May 16, 2014 @ 6:26am PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Nearly a year after its premiere in Cannes, James Gray’s The Immigrant is headed for its theatrical release via TWC. Starring Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard and Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix, the New York-set feature is the highest profile Specialty feature to hit theaters this weekend. A bit under the radar, but still boasting named talent, Half Of A Yellow Sun will bow in theaters in the U.S. from Monterey Media. The film, set in Nigeria, has been effectively banned in the West African country after receiving an initial thumbs up. International Film Circuit’s doc Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case comes on the heels of another doc on the famed Chinese artist this weekend, while Cohen Media Group’s Chinese Puzzle completes a trilogy by Cédric Klapisch and stars Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou. And Justin Schwarz’s The Discoverers will bow in limited locations. The road trip movie, starring Griffin Dunne, raised P&A via Kickstarter for its DIY release.

The Immigrantthe-immigrant-2013-darius-khondji-dp
Director-writer: James Gray
Writer: Ric Menello
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Dagmara Dominczyk, Jicky Schnee, Elena Solovey, Angela Sarafyan
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Filmmaker James Gray had an uncle that died in 2010. The event would lay the seeds for The Immigrant. After he passed away, he left behind a treasure-trove of family history that Gray had previously never seen. “There was paperwork from my grandparents going through Ellis Island, which I was fascinated by,” said Gray at a recent event at Film Society of Lincoln Center, which will be among the first locations that will open The Immigrant this weekend. “My grandfather basically sat [my brother and me down] and begrudgingly told us the family history — much of which ended up in the movie.” Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Auds Savor ‘Chef’ Over Mother’s Day Weekend; Gia Coppola’s ‘Palo Alto’ Seduces

By | Sunday May 11, 2014 @ 8:38am PDT

chef2014 SXSW Film Festival opener Chef by writer-director-star Jon Favreau had audiences salivating this weekend in limited release. It cooked up a good showing in 6 theaters with a solid $204K opening and landing in the top tier of this year’s releases in terms of theater average. The feature, also starring Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, and Dustin Hoffman no less,Specialty Box Office came in just over $34K in its PTA. Only a few other titles landed higher in their openings in the averages game. Grand Budapest Hotel is way out in front — and likely will be for sometime — with a $202K average, while Fading Gigolo opened in April with a $39,860 average in an initial five runs. Under The Skin (which incidentally also featured Johansson) came in with a $35K PTA in four theaters.

“We’re excited, Chef played great this weekend,” said Open Road’s Jason Cassidy. “Exit polls are stellar and we think the film has a nice long life ahead of it. Kudos go to Favreau for making a great, very playable movie and his work in promotion.” Cassidy said that the audience leaned female “as expected.” It will hit the top 10 markets next week and will expand beyond that based on performance.

Related: DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: ‘Neighbors’ A Raucous No. 1 As ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Hits A Wall; ‘The Other Woman’ On Strong Legs

After a premiere long ago in Telluride, Venice and Toronto (and recently at the San Francisco and Montclair film festivals), another Coppola enters the box office with her debut feature. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Chef’, ‘Palo Alto’, ‘God’s Pocket’, ‘The Double’, ‘Queen Margot’

By | Thursday May 8, 2014 @ 6:01pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)Specialties boasting stars are certainly in abundance among this weekend’s crop of newcomers. SXSW Film Festival opener Chef  by and starring Jon Favreau along with Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson and even Dustin Hoffman begins its run Friday in limited release via Open Road Films. Another Coppola will see a film hit a theatrical run as well. Gia Coppola’s directorial debut Palo Alto, based on short stories written by James Franco (who also stars) also bows courtesy of Tribeca Film. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in IFC Films’ God’s Pocket by Mad Men director (and actor) John Slattery, while Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in Richard Ayoade’s The Double for Magnolia Pictures. And Cohen Media Group will open the re-release of French filmmaker Patrice Chéreau’s 1994 feature Queen Margot in New York before heading to other U.S. locations.

Chefchef
Director-writer: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris
Distributor: Open Road Films

Open Road cooked up its acquisition of Chef while it was still in the script stage, though it did not produce the film. The 2014 SXSW Film Festival opening-night comedy revolves around a chef who loses his restaurant job and starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while putting back together his estranged family.Favreau had tapped on the talents of Food Truck guru Roy Choi to make sure authenticity was in tact.”He’s back to his indie roots and you can feel the passion,” said Open Road’s president of marketing Jason Cassidy. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Belle’ Is A Potent Lady; ‘Ida’ Shows Traction; ‘Walk Of Shame’ Tiptoes Into Limited Release

By | Sunday May 4, 2014 @ 10:21am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeFox Searchlight had another solid debut this weekend with its initial limited opening of Belle in four New York and L.A. theaters, while foreign-language feature Ida showed some traction in a trio of locations despite the Spider-Man 2 juggernaut. While certainly nowhere near the stratospheric numbers of its fellow Searchlight roll out The Grand Budapest Hotel earlier this year, British-set period drama Belle nevertheless managed a regal bow, grossing over $104K, giving the film a $26,123 theater average. Searchlight said the feature outgrossed Spidey at the Landmark in West LA and was the second highest grosser at the Arclight in Hollywood. In New York, it also had strong numbers at Lincoln Plaza and Sunshine theaters.

Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Casts $92M Web; ‘The Other Woman’ Holding Strong; ‘Rio2′ Passes $100M

belle“We’re pretty happy with how it opened. It’s an interesting thing with a film that’s very sophisticated like this and you’re hoping to get the cinephile crowd out,” Searchlight’s EVP of Distribution Frank Rodriguez told me Sunday morning. “The secret of this film is to keep it in theaters and see if it can get some traction. We know we have a great art film and we know we’re going to do well with it. The real goal here is to see if it can go a little mainstream. To do that with Spider-Man and the like will be interesting. Perhaps it’s a bit of counter-programming, but if we had had a $15 – 25K [PTA this weekend] I would have been happy, so we’re at the high end of that. In this business anything can happen, but we’re going into the right theaters and targeting a sophisticated audience.” Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Belle’, ‘Ida’, ‘More Than The Rainbow’, ‘Bad Johnson’

By | Thursday May 1, 2014 @ 8:07pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)This weekend’s slate of new specialty films runs the gamut. Among the newcomers are examples of classical art house fare that have picked up accolades ahead of their release, while others are less traditional. Searchlight will open Belle, about a mixed-race woman who grew up amidst Britain’s aristocracy. Music Box Films is releasing Ida, a winner in Toronto and London about a woman who discovers her roots. First Run Features is bowing the documentary More Than The Rainbow, which hopes to capitalize on positive box office for docus about photography, while Gravitas is opening Bad Johnson, about a good-looking lad who is a hit with the ladies but gets into trouble when his appendage takes on human form no less.

belle-posterBelle
Director: Amma Asante
Writer: Misan Sagay
Cast: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Matthew Goode, Emily Watson, James Norton, Miranda Richardson, Sarah Gadon
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

The roots of Belle begin around 2005 after producer Damian Jones came across a story that eventually would be at the center of Belle. Set in 18th century England, the film was inspired by a painting commissioned by the Earl of Mansfield. The story centers on an illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Tom Hardy’s ‘Locke’ Drives A Solid Launch; ‘Fading Gigolo’ Strong In Expansion

By | Sunday April 27, 2014 @ 10:19am PDT

Locke Tom Hardy box officeThe weekend welcomed well over a half-dozen new Specialty releases, though most had tepid theatrical launches at best. A24‘s Locke was the sole exception, opening in several locations and grossing over $89K for a solid $22,302 theater average. The result is another feather in the cap for A24, coming on the heels of its Jonathan Glazer-directed feature starring Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin, at the beginning of April. That film is the year’s 3rd highest opener in terms of averages among Specialties ($35K in 4 locations). Locke sold to virtually every territory ahead of last year’s AFM and had a healthy start in the U.K., opening recently. A24 touted its Locke roll out Sunday when reporting numbers: “Locke had the highest per screen average in the country this weekend opening at $89,210 on 4 screens in NY and LA. Steven Knight’s extraordinary film received rave reviews, particularly for Tom Hardy’s one-man tour-de-force performance that is already garnering awards buzz.” The distributor will move Locke into the top 50 markets on this side of the Atlantic in the coming weeks.

Specialty Box OfficeArgentina’s entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar consideration last year, The German Doctor, had the weekend’s second best PTA among newcomers. It grossed just over $35K in five theaters for a $7K theater average. “It’s a cool thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat,” said Peter Goldwyn this week about the title Goldwyn Films picked up out of Cannes last year. “[Writer-director Lucía Puenzo's] ability to keep this creeping monster in the room is extraordinary.” The German Doctor will expand into major cities throughout May.

Blue RuinRADiUS-TWC bowed fellow Cannes ’13 title Blue Ruin in 7 theaters in addition to a VOD/digital opening this weekend. Blue Ruin, written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, grossed $31,832 for a $4,547 PTA. RADiUS did not reveal actual non-theatrical numbers, but noted its solid showing in the space Sunday via co-president Tom Quinn: “After multiple awards, rave reviews, and an extraordinary Festival run, Blue Ruin is finally unleashed unto the masses. Read More »

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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’

By | Thursday April 10, 2014 @ 6:27pm PDT

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 office — hopefully. TWC will bow The Railway Mana period drama set against WWII, while SPC will open Jim Jarmusch’s vampire romance Only Lovers Left Alive. David Gordon Green returns to theaters with Joe from Roadside and Lionsgate, while IFC Films will bow Hateship Loveship. The distributor will also open doc Dancing In Jaffa. Also joining the pack in a fairly packed weekend is Entertainment One’s Cuban Fury, starring Nick Frost. Also opening is A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, And Jayson Blair At The New York Times, an ITVS backed doc that will have a self-distributed theatrical run ahead of its broadcast on PBS.

The Railway Manrailwayman
Director: Jonathan Teplitzky
Writers: Frank Cottrell Boyce, Andy Paterson, Eric Lomax
Cast: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Stellan Skarsgård, Jeremy Irvine, Michael MacKenzie, Jeffrey Daunton
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

With a high-profile cast, bio-drama The Railway Man centers on a former British Army officer who was tormented as a young prisoner of war at a Japanese labor camp during World War II. Later he discovers the man responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and sets out to confront him. “We’re big fans of … 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’

By | Thursday April 3, 2014 @ 5:40pm PDT

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: ‘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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