Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The Grandmaster battled its way to the top of the Specialty Box Office in its first weekend, targeting the art house crowd though the film by celebrated Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is headed for a wider release next week. The martial arts feature starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi grossed over $132K, averaging $18,894, making it the weekend’s top PSA title and out-performing the debut of the filmmaker’s previous release, My Blueberry Nights. That film grossed over $74K in 6 theaters in April 2008, averaging just $12,357. It went on to cume just $867K domestically. But Grandmaster fell short of 2046, Wong’s 2005 feature which opened in 4 theaters also in August of that year. That film, also starring Zhang, grossed just over $113K for a $28,268 average.
The Grandmaster itself evolved since screening for hometown audiences, shaving off 22 minutes by the time it hit screens this weekend and, according to TWC, a more linear telling of the story about Ip Man, the martial artist who trained Bruce Lee. TWC is confident the feature will cross over to a wider audience and is planning a significant expansion into Labor Day weekend.
“There is substantial action that will appeal to a wider audience,” said Weinstein president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “It [is in] upscale theaters the first weekend and then will broaden out to suburban theaters.” The Grandmaster will head to 500 to 600 theaters next weekend, making it one of the largest foreign-language releases of the year. The film has grossed $55 million overseas to date.
SXSW Film Festival narrative winner Short Term 12 starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher bowed in 4 runs over the weekend. The film by Destin Cretton charmed audiences at SXSW, winning the Audience Award in addition to the top Jury Prize. It also received an acting award for Larson at the recent Locarno Film Festival. And in theaters, it grossed over $60K for a PSA just over $15K. Not a smash, but the film carried some momentum from its festival word of mouth.
Said Cinedigm Sunday: “We’ve been in love with Short Term 12 ever since SXSW introduced it to the world, and over the past few months, we’ve been gratified to see press and audiences embrace it alike. The critical response has been phenomenal and we are confident that this is the beginning of a very long run for Short Term 12 as we expand into top 25 markets over the coming weeks. Destin, Brie, John, Kaitlyn, Keith and everyone associated with this special film are true talents and we’re proud to welcome them into the Cinedigm family.”
The weekend’s other Specialty titles managed only ho-hum results at best. Magnolia‘s Drinking Buddies opened in two locations in New York and Chicago, grossing $19K for a $9,500 average. The film, however, has been a hit on VOD according to filmmaker Joe Swanberg. He said the film had already made its money back even before the weekend’s theatrical release and a spokesperson from Magnolia said it had performed “beyond” their expectations digitally, so apparently theatrical is just icing on the cake. Drinking Buddies will head to 10 additional cities including L.A. and San Francisco Labor Day weekend with additional markets planned going into September.
MPI Media Group bowed Cannes ’12 closer Thérèse in a half dozen locations, grossing just over $21K ($3,507 PSA), while Kino Lorber‘s Trials Of Muhammad Ali opened in one theater, grossing $3,500. Sundance Selects opened Una Noche in a trio of theaters, grossing over $18K, while Ketchup Entertainment’s Savannah had the widest opener of the weekend’s newcomers, grossing just over $17K in 14 theaters for a slight $1,221 average.
SPC expanded Austenland into 19 additional theaters in the film’s second weekend, grossing almost $126K for a $5,477 average. The film opened in 4 theaters last week grossing over $42K for a $10,685 average. IFC Films moved Ain’t Them Bodies Saints into an additional two dozen runs, grossing over $72K for a $2,580 average. And Cohen Media added 4 locations for its second weekend of You Will Be My Son, grossing $19,354 ($3,226 PSA). The film opened with a $15,469 gross in one theater last week.
In its third week, Indian title Chennai Express became the second highest-grossing Bollywood film of all-time in North America after 2009′s 3 Idiots ($6.5M cume). The film lost 47 locations from last week, grossing $377K ($2,636 PSA). It has cumed over $4.67 million in North America.
In its 4th weekend, The Spectacular Now expanded by 99 runs, holding solid with a $650K gross, averaging $4,220 and a one month cume nearing $2 million. Distributor A24 touted its results Sunday: “The film continues to build thanks to incredible word-of-mouth and great reviews. We have wonderful holds throughout the country and many strong new openings. We will be expanding again throughout the holiday weekend to be nationwide on over 350 screens and continue to grow into the fall awards season.”
And Sony Classics’ Blue Jasmine landed at number 9 in the overall box office this weekend after adding a whopping 1,054 theaters in its 5th week. The film grossed over $4.3 million ($3,352 PSA) and has cumed just under $14.8 million. Since its debut the film has been compared to director Woody Allen‘s 2011 box office hit Midnight In Paris, which is his biggest grossing hit of his long career. Blue Jasmine had looked to rival that film though Paris is still the benchmark. In its fifth weekend, Midnight In Paris grossed over $7.5 million in 1,038 theaters and had cumed over $24 million. It went on to gross over $56.8 million domestically.
Drinking Buddies (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $19K, Average $9,500
The Grandmaster (The Weinstein Company) NEW [7 Theaters] Weekend $132,259, Average $18,894
Short Term 12 (Cinedigm) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $60,137, Average $15,034
Thérèse (MPI Media Group) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $21,040, Average $3,507
Savannah (Ketchup Entertainment) NEW [14 Theaters] Weekend $17,100, Average $1,221
Trials Of Muhammad Ali (Kino Lorber Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $3,500
Una Noche (Sundance Selects) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $18,480, Average $6,160
Returning / 2nd Weekend
Austenland (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [23 Theaters] Weekend $125,978, Average $5,477, Cume $185,471
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (IFC Films) Week 2 [28 Theaters] Weekend $72,240, Average $2,580, Cume $113,400
Cutie And The Boxer (RADiUS-TWC) Week 2 [12 Theaters] Weekend $28,048, Average $2,337, Cume $60,446
Inch’Allah (Entertainment One Films) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $1,856, Average $928, Cume $6,319
The Patience Stone (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [4 Theaters] Weekend $6,259, Average $1,565, Cume $19,889
You Will Be My Son (Cohen Media) Week 2 [6 Theaters] Weekend $19,354, Average $3,226, Cume $43,017
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Chennai Express (UTV Communications) Week 3 [143 Theaters] Weekend $377K, Average $2,636, Cume $4,677,000
In A World (Roadside Attractions) Week 3 [75 Theaters] Weekend $303,130, Average $4,041, Cume $751,915
Lovelace (RADiUS-TWC) Week 3 [6 Theaters] Weekend $4,142, Average $690, Cume $344,611
The Artist And The Model (Cohen Media Group) Week 4 [3 Theaters] Weekend $3,083, Average $1,028, Cume $78,504
The Spectacular Now (A24) Week 4 [154 Theaters] Weekend $650,003, Average $4,220, Cume $1,935,181
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [1,283 Theaters] Weekend $4,300,119, Average $3,352, Cume $14,798,921
Tiny Times (China Lion) Week 5 [5 Theaters] Weekend $5,100, Average $1,020, Cume $36,600
Only God Forgives (RADiUS-TWC) Week 6 [3 Theaters] Weekend $2,629, Average $876, Cume $775,310
Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company) Week 7 [392 Theaters] Weekend $283K, Average $722, Cume $15,192,077
Stuck In Love (Millennium Entertainment) Week 7 [3 Theaters] Weekend $1,854, Average $618, Cume $79,331
The Way, Way Back (Fox Searchlight) Week 8 [302 Theaters] Weekend $430K, Average $1,424, Cume $18,650,943
The Attack (Cohen Media Group) Week 10 [17 Theaters] Weekend $30,215, Average $1,777, Cume $1,505,193
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC) Week 11 [70 Theaters] Weekend $86,607, Average $1,237, Cume $4,245,895
Much Ado About Nothing (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) Week 12 [27 Theaters], Weekend $14,250, Average $527, Cume $4,253,784