Specialty Box Office: ‘Trance’ Mesmerizes, ‘Upstream Color’ And Redford’s ‘Company’ Bow Solid
Specialty Box Office: ‘Philomena’ Debuts Strong; Is It This Year’s ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’?
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Fox Searchlight’s Trance seduced the Specialty Box Office this weekend, grabbing the top spot in the averages game, though DIY release Upstream Color and Sony Classics’ The Company You Keep both bowed solidly and not far behind. Danny Boyle’s thriller starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson averaged a cool $34K this weekend, not quite the sizzling opening numbers of Boyle’s previous roll out, 127 Hours, but still number one on the limited release slate this weekend. Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color opened at IFC Center in New York in one showing, grossing $31,500. That is numerically a stronger showing than his last film, Primer, which opened back in October 2004. Robert Redford-directed The Company You Keep opened on 5 runs, averaging $29,212. His previous films opened comparatively wider, but on a straight average comparison, the film holds well.
But Searchlight’s Trance held the top spot in specialty theaters in the first weekend of April. Boyle, Dawson and Cassel turned out for a glittering premiere in New York midweek courtesy of the Cinema Society for the filmmaker’s first post-Olympics gig. In the comparison game, however, the film did not shine as brightly as his last film, 127 Hours. That film opened with a $66,213 average in 4 theaters in November, 2010 and went on to gross over $18.33 million domestically. His previous film, Oscar-winning Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire, however, averaged $36K when it opened in November 2008 in 10 theaters. That film went on to gross over $141.3 million in the U.S. alone. “The biggest selling point of this film is obviously Danny Boyle’s name”, noted Searchlight SVP Distribution Frank Rodriguez. Trance will move into about 350 theaters April 12.
Upstream Color caught the early buzz among festival-goers at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and filmmaker/writer/star/self-distributor Carruth upped the frenzy a bit by not talking — all that much — to the press during the festival. Unlike his first film, Primer, he decided early on to not go the traditional indie route, seeking out a distributor. Instead, he took it on his own (with the help of indie distribution vet Michael Tuckman and NY-based publicist Susan Norget). The esoteric feature bowed solidly with $31,500. Primer, which opened courtesy of now-defunct ThinkFilm back in 2004, averaged $7,040 in four theaters. “My gauge for success is not every last dollar we can grab, but allowing the people who are ready to receive this work to know what it is giving”, said Carruth. So far it is booked in 50 markets throughout North America, and it will be released via VOD and digital platforms May 7.