Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Fox Searchlight’s Stoker just may bring some fresh air into a specialty field that’s been monopolized in 2013 on the money side by two titles, Quartet and Amour. Park Chan-wook’s Nicole Kidman starrer averaged $22,500 in 7 runs. For comparisons, Amour opened in 3 theaters as well, averaging $22,755 (a Christmas period release) while Quartet bowed January 11 in two theaters with a $23,561 average. Both have continued solid runs. This weekend also has a number of other newcomers, including Oscar-nominated War Witch. That film, which won awards at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up by the festival’s distribution wing Tribeca Film, grossed $10,260 for a $5,130 average. It’s a terrific film, and hopefully word of mouth will carry it further, but its bow is modest. Two other newcomers beat War Witch out in terms of PTA although they were single showings. Cinema Guild’s Leviathan took in just over $10K, while International Film Circuit’s Hava Nagila grossed $9,521.
But it was a Stoker weekend in the limited release arena following the climax of the long, long awards season. Korean director Park Chan-wook found a loyal following in the U.S. with titles Old Boy and I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK, and Stoker is his first English-language outing. Starring Kidman, Matthew Goode, Mia Wasikowska, and Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), the feature will add a dozen or so theaters in its current markets next week.
Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s Foreign-Language Oscar nominee War Witch will head to LA next weekend before expanding to 30-plus markets later this month and into April (in addition to VOD). Fellow newcomer A Place At The Table did not fare so well in its bow despite some foodie and Hollywood star power. The doc took in $84K for a $2,400 average, although distributor Magnolia did put the title in 35 theaters. The film, which exposes the crisis of hunger in America featured Jeff Bridges and Tom Colicchio with the backing of Participant Media. Magnolia and Participant worked together on doc Food Inc., which opened in June 2009 in 3 theaters, averaging $20,171 in its opening weekend. Table may find its legs in the coming weeks, although hunger may be a tough sell. At this weekend’s doc-focused True/False Film Festival, one industry insider noted about the challenges Table faced compared to Food, Inc: “It’s about people who are marginalized and are poor vs. foodies with cash facing down the vagaries of the food industry.”
The True/False Fest is also screening two specialty holdovers this weekend in Columbia, Mo which are holding their own in the overall market. Sony Pictures Classics’ foreign-language Oscar-nominee No added 5 locations in its third weekend, averaging a positive $10,013, while fellow SPC release The Gatekeepers added 27 theaters, averaging $5,549. Last weekend it averaged $8,084 in 19 locations.
A Place At The Table (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [35 Theaters] Weekend $84K, Average $2,400
The End Of Love (Variance) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $2,400, Average $1,200
Hava Nagila (The Movie) (International Film Circuit) [1 Theater] Weekend $9,521
Leviathan (Cinema Guild) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $10,018
Stoker (Fox Searchlight) NEW [7 Theaters] Weekend $158K, Average $22,500
War Witch (Tribeca Film) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,260, Average $5,130
Welcome To Pine Hill (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4K