Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’ 2016’s 3rd Best Average; Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Elle’ Bows Strong – Specialty Box Office

Brian Brooks
Deadline

TriStar’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk opened in two New York and Los Angeles engagements, projecting the film in 4K, 3D and at 120 frames per second. The Ang Lee feature grossed $120K, giving it the third best per theater average of the year. Sony Pictures Classics opened Cannes debut Elle in two New York locations with a solid $56K start, while the distributor’s second frame expansion, The Eagle Huntress, grossed over $209K. Focus Feature’s Loving, however, has the lead in its second week, taking in $532K and the weekend’s third best PTA as of Sunday morning. A24’s Moonlight continues to shine as a box office champ, landing 13th overall Friday to Sunday, though in relatively few theaters. The feature directed by Barry Jenkins crossed the $4M mark, while Pure Flix’s I’m Not Ashamed headed to just over $2M. And in its seventh frame, Music Box’s A Man Called Ove continued to add locations holding strong with a PTA down only about 10% from the prior week.

New York Film Festival debut Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk played exclusively at the Arclight in Hollywood and the AMC Loews Lincoln Square in New York, grossing $120,300 for a robust $60,150 per theater average, the third best of 2016 just behind Moonlight ($100,519 opening weekend PTA) and Don’t Think Twice ($92,835 opening weekend PTA). TriStar said Billy Lynn grossed $56K Friday, though its gross declined Saturday to $35K.

“We’re thrilled by the momentum out of this weekend,” said TriStar’s Rory Bruer Sunday when reporting numbers. “Audiences in New York and L.A. have had a tremendous response to Ang’s groundbreaking movie, setting the stage for our expansion next weekend.”

The film is playing in a special immersive format in its initial two locations. Each theater has only one screen dedicated to the film and both screens have been specially outfitted to project the film in 4K, 3D, and at 120 frames per second.

Lee’s previous two films Life of Pi (2012) and Taking Woodstock (2009) opened wide. His 2007 feature Lust, Caution opened in a single location in September of that year grossing $63,918 for the weekend. It went on to cume $4.6 million, though it was NC-17 and the predominately Mandarin-language thriller-romance only reached 143 theaters at its widest point. Lee’s Brokeback Mountain opened in five locations in December 2005 averaging $109,485 in five locations. Brokeback Mountain went on to cume over $83 million and received an Oscar win for Best Director, though famously lost out to Crash for Best Picture that year.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk will expand to 800-plus theaters nationwide next weekend.

Sony Classics’ opened French-language Elle by Paul Verhoeven in two New York theaters Friday to a robust start. Starring Isabelle Huppert, who appears to be gathering momentum in awards season for her role in the film, the title grossed $56,012, averaging $28,006. Huppert is being feted at AFI Fest Sunday night in Los Angeles where the film will open next weekend.

“People are buzzing about this film and the reviews are spectacular,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker Sunday. “Many people who went this weekend had been hearing about Elle since its first screenings in Cannes. There is also a huge Paul Verhoeven fan base, but word has also gone out that this is Huppert’s finest performance.” Following this weekend’s Huppert tribute, Paul Verhoeven will be in New York for a full retrospective of his films at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Following next weekend’s L.A. roll-out of Elle, the feature, which is France’s entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar consideration, will head to the top cities Thanksgiving weekend.

Oscilloscope opened comedy-thriller The Love Witch in six theaters Friday. The Anna Biller-directed feature grossed $23K, averaging $3,833. O-scope noted that the film had “numerous sold-out screenings” at the Drafthouse South Lamar in Austin this weekend, adding: “Larger auditorium placement would have yielded even better results. With a 97% Rotten Tomatoes score, we expect interest to grow as The Love Witch adds key cities in the coming weeks.”

The Love Witch will open the top 20 markets next Friday, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Denver and Houston.

In other openers, Abramorama had Disturbing the Peace in two locations, grossing $9,798 ($4,899 PTA), while FilmRise bowed National Bird with a single run, grossing $4K. FilmRise will expand the drone doc around the country in the next few weeks, heading to L.A., San Francisco, Houston, Dallas and other major markets next Friday.

Last week’s top Specialty box office grosser, Loving, was easily the best holdover this weekend. The Oscar-hopeful from Focus Features grossed a cool $532K in 46 locations (42 more than in its debut), averaging $11,565 for a $740,191 two-week cume. Focus said the title had a 32% increase Friday to Saturday and that “the exit polls in the expansion markets continue to be well above norms and suggest strong word of mouth as the film steadily rolls out leading into Thanksgiving.”

Loving, starring Ruth Negga and Joel Egerton will expand to approximately 100 runs November 18 including Baltimore, Houston, Seattle, St. Louis and Denver.

Sony Classics’ Mongolian documentary The Eagle Huntress also continued to fly in its second frame. Released by Sony Classics, the Sundance debut grossed just over $209K in 31 theaters (up from its initial four last week), averaging $6,742. “For a film like this to do this kind of business in November is proof that word-of-mouth on this film has been very strong from the beginning,” said SPC’s Barker. “The reviews and screenings we had prior to its release as well as our social media were effective in getting women of all ages out to see the film. Men are also coming to see it, but our audience is made-up mostly of women of all ages, even as young as 13.” SPC will take the film to top cities Thanksgiving weekend.

A24 added 93 runs for Moonlight in its fourth weekend and the feature by Barry Jenkins continues to lure crowds. Moonlight grossed $1,360,802 from 176 runs, averaging $7,732, placing 13th in the overall weekend box office. The feature, however, played far fewer runs than any of the other top 12 grossing titles. Noted A24 Sunday: “Moonlight continues to have an incredible expansion crossing the 4M mark ahead of its nationwide break next weekend. The best reviewed film of the year opened additional new markets very well and held strong in existing theaters as word of mouth continues to grow.”

Pure Flix’s I’m Not Ashamed, meanwhile, crossed $2 million also in its fourth weekend. The feature grossed $48K, however, in 85 theaters, averaging $564, so it may be its last major threshold.

IFC Films’ Certain Women by Kelly Reichardt is close to crossing $1 million. In its fifth weekend, the title grossed $117K in 117 theaters, averaging $1K. Its cume is now $937,120.

Music Box added 24 locations vs. last week for Sweden’s Foreign Language Oscar entry, A Man Called Ove in its seventh frame. The film grossed $377,411 in 190 theaters, averaging a still solid $1,986. Last week the feature grossed $369,571 in 166 locations, averaging $2,226. Its cume is now $2,424,513.

NEW RELEASES

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (TriStar Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $120,300 Average $60,150

Disturbing The Peace (Abramorama) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $9,798, Average $4,899

Elle (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $56,012, Average $28,006

The Love Witch (Oscilloscope) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $23K, Average $3,833

National Bird (FilmRise) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4K

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [31 Theaters] Weekend $209,002, Average $6,742, Cume $297,446

Loving (Focus Features) Week 2 [46 Theaters] Weekend $532K, Average $11,565, Cume $740,191

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (FIP) Week 3 [163 Theaters] Weekend $275K, Average $1,687, Cume $4,108,896

Mr. Donkey (China Lion) Week 3 [27 Theaters] Weekend $55,535, Average $2,057, Cume $ 305,528

American Pastoral (Lionsgate) Week 4 [59 Theaters] Weekend $46K, Average $780, Cume $507,372

I’m Not Ashamed (Pure Flix) Week 4 [85 Theaters] Weekend $48K, Average $564, Cume $2,041,980

Moonlight (A24) Week 4 [176 Theaters] Weekend $1,360,802, Average $7,732, Cume $4,778,462

Certain Women (IFC Films) Week 5 [117 Theaters] Weekend $117K, Average $1K, Cume $937,120

Christine (The Orchard) Week 5 [57 Theaters] Weekend $31,280, Average $549, Cume $211,561

Denial (Bleecker Street) Week 7 [121 Theaters] Weekend $153,405, Average $1,267, Cume $3,844,406

Harry & Snowman (FilmRise) Week 7 [15 Theaters] Weekend $30K, Average $2K, Cume $423,987

A Man Called Ove (Music Box Films) Week 7 [190 Theaters] Weekend $377,411, Average $1,986, Cume $2,424,513

The Dressmaker (Broad Green Pictures) Week 8 [40 Theaters] Weekend $45,355, Average $1,133, Cume $1,893,938

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (Abramorama) Week 9 [21 Theaters] Weekend $21,597, Average $1,028, Cume $2,841,845

Hell Or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate) Week 14 [113 Theaters] Weekend $62K, Average $549, Cume $26,970,197

Don’t Think Twice (The Film Arcade) Week 18 [10 Theaters] Weekend $11,884, Average $1,188, Cume $4,402,000

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