‘Manchester By the Sea’ Sails With Year’s 4th Best PTA; ‘Moonlight’ & ‘Loving’ Expand – Specialty Box Office

Brian Brooks
Deadline

In a weekend packed with newcomers, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea came out the clear Specialty box office champ with the fourth highest per theater average of the year. The Sundance fest debut starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and Lucas Hedges grossed $241,230 in four locations. The Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions release also closed out this weekend’s Key West Film Festival. Focus Features bowed Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon in over three dozen theaters grossing $494K, while Abramorama opened doc Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened in a pair of locations grossing a steady $22,573. Well Go USA launched China’s I Am Not Madame Bovary with 38 runs, taking in $202,500, while Cohen Media Group opened the re-release of Daughters Of the Dust (1991) with an exclusive run grossing $10,842. Focus Features expanded Oscar-hopeful Loving in its third weekend, grossing $854K, while fellow Awards contender Moonlight from A24 landed 11th on the overall box office chart taking in $1,583,433 Friday to Sunday in 650 theaters. And IFC Films’ Certain Women crossed seven figures over the weekend.

Manchester By The Sea had a splashy debut at Sundance, but then kept quiet until the fall festivals began. The Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions title picked right back up with strong momentum in its fest screenings in Telluride, Toronto, New York and beyond ahead of its roll out in theaters Friday. The film grossed $241,230 in four New York and Los Angeles locations, averaging $60,308, the fourth best opening PTA of 2016 behind Moonlight ($100,519 average), Don’t Think Twice ($92,835 average) and Café Society ($71,858 average). The opening also marks the highest-ever debut per theater average for Roadside Attractions. The company’s previous record high was $36,772 for 2009 documentary The September Issue.

“We’re especially encouraged because since it’s 2 hours and 17 minutes, we had fewer run times and people are less likely to go to late shows, but it still did very well,” said Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen Sunday. “We had great numbers at the Angelika in New York and the Arclight in Hollywood, which tends to attract a younger audience, and did well at Lincoln Plaza (NYC) and The Landmark (L.A.) which tends to have an older. There was no discernible lopsidedness that we could see.”

Cohen said that Amazon and Roadside decided to keep Manchester By the Sea quiet following its Sundance debut in January in order to give it play among the fall’s Awards contenders. “We consciously rested the movie between January and September,” he said. “We didn’t show it anywhere until [early fall] and then it opened with a bang in Telluride, Toronto, New York, London and some regional festivals like Key West and Mill Valley. It can be a challenge for an Oscar movie coming from Sundance, you don’t want it to burn out. [Last year’s] Brooklyn and others have had to do the same, but coming out of [those festivals] we had fantastic support. The movie had great reviews in Sundance, but you still don’t know. The world can change fast — and has changed fast. But we see it has had more enthusiasm since its re-introduction. We are very pleased.”

Manchester By the Sea will head to eight additional markets, bringing it to about 43 theaters net weekend. The feature will then jump to around 140 runs December 2, and then approximately 300 December 9 before going to between 800 and 900 December 16.

Focus Features bowed Tom Ford’s second feature Nocturnal Animals with Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon in 37 theaters Friday. The romantic thriller grossed $494K for a $13,351 PTA, the second-best among the weekend’s Specialties, though obviously slower than Manchester.

“What attracted us to Nocturnal Animals is Tom Ford,” said Lisa Bunnell, president of Distribution at Focus earlier this week. “His last film, A Single Man, was a remarkable first-time effort. What Focus is trying to do is to work with directors that are inspired and to show their vision. He totally fits with what we want to do.”

The Weinstein Company opened A Single Man in December 2011 in 9 locations, grossing over $217K its first weekend ($24,148 average). It continued to do well, grossing nearly $9.2 million domestically. Focus Features will expand Nocturnal Animals Thanksgiving weekend before going wide December 9.

Abramorama bowed Lonny Price’s documentary Best Worst Thing That Could Have Happened, a feature spotlighting the actors in early ‘80s Broadway musical Merrily We Roll Along from Stephen Sondheim in two theaters Friday. The feature grossed $22,573, averaging $11,262. “ “We are absolutely thrilled that the film’s core audience of Sondheim and theater aficionados was joined by so many casual, curious moviegoers to fuel a solid first weekend,” said producer Bruce Klein Sunday when reporting numbers. “Word of mouth is over the moon so we look forward to a long, successful release.” Abramorama will take the title to L.A. next week. It will subsequently head to other cities including San Francisco and Chicago afterward.

Well Go USA opened Chinese-produced I Am Not Madame Bovary by Feng Xiaogang in 38 theaters, grossing $202,500 for a $5,329 PTA. The film, which also opened in China this weekend, will continue to expand into December and the start of the New Year.

Among other openers, High Top Releasing opened James Watkins’ The Take in 100 locations, grossing just $39K ($390 average), while Cleopatra Films bowed A Street Cat Named Bob in 25 theaters. That feature grossed just over $35K, averaging $1,403. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Luke Treadaway and Joanna Froggatt, the distributor noted Sunday that its gross “more than doubled” Friday to Saturday. And FilmRise opened Tribeca Film Festival doc Magnus in a single location, grossing $1K.

After initially running in just two theaters to showcase its tech prowess, Sony expanded Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk to 1,176 theaters this weekend. The feature grossed $930K, averaging just $791 bringing its cume to over $1.08 million. For more on that film, go to Anthony D’Alessandro’s box office column.

Sony Classics added 22 runs for Paul Verhoeven’s Elle with Isabelle Huppert. The Oscar hopeful grossed $128,701 in 24 theaters, averaging $5,363. Last week, it opened in two theaters, grossing just over $56K, averaging $28,006. Abramorama kept Disturbing the Peace in two theaters in its second frame. The feature grossed $4,298 ($2,149 average). It grossed $9,798 in two locations last week, averaging $4,899.

Oscilloscope expanded The Love Witch by Anna Biller to an additional 16 runs in its second frame. The Love Witch grossed $28,500, averaging $1,295. In its debut the film grossed $23K, averaging $3,833. The title has cumed $55,162.

Focus Features added 91 runs for Loving’s third weekend. In a total of 137 theaters, the Awards contender starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga grossed $854K, averaging $6,234. Last weekend, the film directed by Jeff Nichols grossed $532K in 46 theaters ($11,565 average). Loving has cumed $1,737,088 to date.

A24 pushed fellow Awards hopeful Moonlight out to 474 additional locations this weekend. The feature grossed $1,583,433 in a total of 650 theaters Friday to Sunday, averaging $2,436. The prior weekend, Moonlight grossed $1,360,802 in 176 theaters, averaging $7,732. Moonlight’s five-week cume is now $6,739,483.

And in its sixth weekend, IFC Films’ Certain Women by Kelly Reichardt crossed the million dollar mark. The feature grossed just over $34K in 63 theaters this weekend, averaging $540.

NEW RELEASES

Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened (Abramorama) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $22,573, Average $11,262

Blood Mountain (Abramorama) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $3,443, Average $1,722

Daughters Of the Dust  (Cohen Media Group, 2016 re-release) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $10,842

I Am Not Madame Bovary (Well Go USA) NEW [38 Theaters] Weekend $202,500, Average $5,329

Magnus (FilmRise) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $1K

Manchester By The Sea (Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $241,230, Average $60,308

Nocturnal Animals (Focus Features) NEW [37 Theaters] Weekend $494K, Average $13,351

The Take (High Top Releasing) NEW [100 Theaters] Weekend $39K, Average $390

A Street Cat Named Bob (Cleopatra Films) NEW [25 Theaters] Weekend $35,070, Average $1,403

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (TriStar Pictures) Week 2 [1,176 Theaters] Weekend $930K, Average $791, Cume $1,086,611

Disturbing The Peace (Abramorama) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $4,298, Average $2,149, Cume $20,653

Elle (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [24 Theaters] Weekend $128,701, Average $5,363, Cume $214,787

The Love Witch (Oscilloscope) Week 2 [22 Theaters] Weekend $28,500, Average $1,295, Cume $55,162

National Bird (FilmRise) Week 2 [8 Theaters] Weekend $3K, Average $375, Cume $7,094

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

The Eagle Huntress (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [39 Theaters] Weekend $195,649, Average $5,017, Cume $555,690

Loving (Focus Features) Week 3 [137 Theaters] Weekend $854K, Average $6,234, Cume $1,737,088

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (FIP) Week 4 [53 Theaters] Weekend $70K, Average $1,321, Cume $4,237,353

American Pastoral (Lionsgate) Week 5 [20 Theaters] Weekend $8K, Average $400, Cume $533,970

I’m Not Ashamed (Pure Flix) Week 5 [22 Theaters] Weekend $12K, Average $545, Cume $2,074,473

Moonlight (A24) Week 5 [650 Theaters] Weekend $1,583,433, Average $2,436, Cume $6,739,483

Certain Women (IFC Films) Week 6 [63 Theaters] Weekend $34,020, Average $540, Cume $1,011,020

Christine (The Orchard) Week 6 [45 Theaters] Weekend $20,020, Average $445, Cume $250,045

Denial (Bleecker Street) Week 8 [84 Theaters] Weekend $67,894, Average $808, Cume $3,975,079

Harry & Snowman (FilmRise) Week 8 [24 Theaters] Weekend $25K, Average $1,041, Cume $471,087

A Man Called Ove (Music Box Films) Week 8 [157 Theaters] Weekend $222,568, Average $1,418, Cume $2,789,806

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (Abramorama) Week 10 [11 Theaters] Weekend $7,776, Average $707, Cume $2,857,405

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