Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Fox Searchlight‘s The Way, Way Back made a splash as the 4th of July holiday weekend rolled on, opening in 19 theaters Friday and grossing an estimated $572K for hot $30K PSA. Not bad going up against the huge debut of Despicable Me 2 and the left-over blockbusters crowding the multiplexes. As one industry insider said to me Sunday, “Fox Searchlight just knows how to open movies.” Magnolia Pictures bowed doc Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me in a pair of showings. The film rallied a good number of fans of the ’70s-era band it spotlights to come out, grossing $21K. Millennium‘s Stuck In Love, however, debuted with less traction though in a fairly hefty 21 theaters. The feature grossed just over $38K for a $1,816 average. And in expansion RADiUS-TWC‘s doc 20 Feet From Stardom shot well past the 7-figure threshold. The crowd pleaser will likely be the highest-grossing doc of 2013 in the next week as it continues its momentum. CBS Films‘ The Kings Of Summer also hit the $1 million mark in its sixth frame.
On the specialty front, The Way, Way Back ruled the newcomers at the box office. Noted Searchlight’s Frank Rodriguez Sunday: “We are pleased with the opening numbers for the film and it appears that we may be appealing to a wide spectrum of moviegoers. Attendance in general is up in theaters and a heartfelt film like The Way Way Back can only help bring more filmgoers to the movies. This is a film that will have you laughing but could also make you shed a tear or two, and there is no doubt that you will appreciate the fine acting by this ensemble, and the great writing by Nat and Jim.” The summer vacation film centered on an introverted teen at a water-park is directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who won the screenwriting Oscar for The Descendants. Steve Carell, Allison Janney, Toni Colette and Sam Rockwell star. The film will expand into 13 additional markets next weekend, adding around 75 more theaters as we move towards the national release on July 26 when we expect to be in approximately 650-750 theaters.
Among second weekend holdovers, Cinema Guild‘s Museum Hours added one location, averaging $10,776. The Jem Cohen-directed feature opened last week in two theaters, with a $14,718 PSA. Sony Classics‘ Pedro Almodovar film I’m So Excited added 11 runs for week 2, grossing under $150K and a $9,328 average. The film opened last weekend with a $20,546 PSA. The specialty distributor continues to see strength seven weeks into its Richard Linklater release, Before Midnight. The film dropped 76 runs vs. one week prior, averaging just under $2,400 with a gross just over $513K. The third in Linklater’s Before series has collected over $6.61 million. And A24‘s The Bling Ring passed the $5 million mark, grossing over $300K in its fourth weekend.
RADiUS-TWC’s Sundance ’13 opener 20 Feet From Stardom is closing in on being 2013′s highest grossing documentary. The label doubled the film’s runs, adding 45 locations, grossing $585,982 (4-day estimate) for a $6,584 PSA, easily surpassing the $1.1 million come mark. The film is closing in 2013′s other non-fiction box office heavy-weights. Girl Rising opened in March and stands at over $1.43 million while Roadside Attractions’ Stories We Tell is just under $1.4 million.
“We came into Sundance after just landing and then thought, ‘Let’s go see the opening film. I joked we’ll go to the first movie and take the rest of the festival off,” said RADiUS co-chief Tom Quinn. “[20 Feet] had that extra special spark… It grabs your attention and is entertaining in a way that’s unexpected.” Quinn praised the women that the film spotlights, including the back up singers for the likes of David Bowie, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. “We’re four weeks into the release and I’m excited to see how far this film can go,” said Quinn Sunday. “I think it’s a contender for Awards Season and feel confident about that. The women in this film deserve to be seen.” The film’s subjects and director, Morgan Neville, continue to do Q&As across the country, playing to many sold out shows. The film has enjoyed continuing positive word of mouth combined with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. “We’ve doubled from third to fourth weekend and we’ll determine how aggressive we’ll go for the coming weeks on Monday, but I think it does appeal beyond the traditional specialty audience because this music is known by everyone and these women were at the center of this,” said Quinn. “It’s a commercial film but also has great reviews of the year for any film, doc or fiction so that indicates we can go much further not unlike Super Size Me. The word of mouth is fantastic.”
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $21K, Average $10,500
Stuck In Love (Millennium Entertainment) NEW [21 Theaters] Weekend $38,135, Average $1,816
The Way, Way Back (Fox Searchlight) NEW [19 Theaters] Weekend $572K, Average $30K
Returning / 2nd Weekend
Byzantium (IFC Films) Week 2 [6 Theaters] Weekend $12K, Average $2K, Cume $43K
I’m So Excited (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [16 Theaters] Weekend $149,246, Average $9,328, Cume $311,721
Museum Hours (Cinema Guild) Week 2 [3 Theaters] Weekend $32,328, Average $10,776, Cume $84,771
Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
The Attack (Cohen Media Group) Week 3 [53 Theaters] Weekend $204,779, Average $3,864, Cume $482,534
Unfinished Song (The Weinstein Company) Week 3 [70 Theaters] Weekend $248K, Average $3,543, Cume $443,220
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC) Week 4 [89 Theaters] Weekend $585,982 (4-day estimate), Average $6,584, Cume $1,100,512
The Bling Ring (A24) Week 4 [159 Theaters] Weekend $300K, Average $1,886, Cume $5,097,117
Dirty Wars (Sundance Selects) Week 5 [17 Theaters] Weekend $15,300, Average $900, Cume $340K
The East (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [102 Theaters] Weekend $172K, Average $1,686, Cume $1,974,488
The Kings Of Summer (CBS Films) Week 6 [51 Theaters] Weekend $95K, Average $1,863, Cume $1,082,744
Before Midnight (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [214 Theaters] Weekend $513,141, Average $2,398, Cume $6,611,165
Fill The Void (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7 [59 Theaters] Weekend $160,157, Average $2,715, Cume $1,203,643
Frances Ha (IFC Films) Week 8 [69 Theaters] Weekend $144,900, Average $2,100, Cume $3,680,000
The Iceman (Millennium Entertainment) Week 10 [6 Theaters] Weekend $6,404, Average $1,067, Cume $1,940,040
What Maisie Knew (Millennium Entertainment) Week 10 [12 Theaters] Weekend $13,449, Average $1,121, Cume $1,021,856