This weekend, strong holdover “T2 Trainspotting” (Sony) outperformed Fox Searchlight” disappointment “Wilson” at the specialty box office. Jazz documentary “I Called Him Morgan” (Submarine Deluxe) is the bright spot among new specialty entries — at just one theater.
What a difference a year makes. During last year’s Oscar fall-off period, multiple major films opened well and a few expanded strongly, including “Eye in the Sky” and “Hello, My Name Is Doris.” This year so many well-reviewed wide releases are enjoying huge success with smart adults that a strong critical response is a necessity to compete for moviegoers.
Wilson (Fox Searchlight) Metacritic: 50; Festivals include: Sundance 2017
$330,000 in 310 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $1,065
“Wilson” did not make a splash at Sundance. Even a capable specialized distributor like Fox Searchlight can’t transform a film with mediocre reviews into a success. Despite its pedigree — Craig Johnson’s follow-up to “The Skeleton Twins” is adapted from a graphic novel by the popular Daniel Clowes and boasts a cast including Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern — Searchlight went with a non-platform 330-theater wider initial release. The results are so puny that this story of a middle-aged malcontent won’t get much past $1 million.
That’s a disaster, even beyond other recent disappoints dogging the once- dominant distributor. Since their terrific 2014 (led by Oscar-winners “Birdman” and “Grand Budapest Hotel”) their best-grossing recent film was “Brooklyn” just over a year ago. In 2017 both “Birth of a Nation” and Oscar-contender “Jackie” failed to perform to expectations. This flop will do less than a third of their recent “Table for 19” or “A United Kingdom.”
What comes next: Expect a second weekend hold but little more for this in theaters.
I Called Him Morgan (FilmRise) Metacritic: 89; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York 2016
$14,154 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $14,154
Terrific reviews in New York and a continued interest in minor legends in the performing arts world propelled this documentary about jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his murder while performing to a strong initial result in its exclusive Manhattan initial run.
What comes next: Los Angeles is among the new dates this Friday.
Slamma Jamma (River Rain)
$1,687,000 in 502 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $3,361
Totally off the mainstream media radar, this faith-based African-American prison life sports story managed to get a respectable national break and reasonable response. It was good enough to land the #11 spot overall among all releases this weekend.
What comes next: This could have room for some growth but the numbers seem good enough at least to get a second week’s play to add to its numbers.
In Search of Israeli Cuisine (Independent)
$(est.) 10,000 in 2 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $(est.) 5,000
As niche as a specialized documentary gets, this food movie scored two of the top specialized theaters in the country (New York’s Lincoln Plaza and Angelika). Consider that a coup for its filmmakers, releasing this independently, but also a sign of the dearth of available product to show in this weak specialized season.
What comes next: This is booked at top art houses in upcoming weeks, starting with the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas as well as Philadelphia this Friday.
Katamarayuda (CGX)/India) – $(est.) 1,125,000 in 208 theaters
Phillauri (20th Century Fox/India) – $265,000 in 74 theaters
T2 Trainspotting (Sony)
$380,000 in 59 theaters (+54); PTA: $6,440; Cumulative: $613,000
The second weekend expansion for Danny Boyle and company’s revisit of their 1996 smash had a decent aggressive expansion, although without the intense excitement of the initial film. It’s the strongest recent specialized release in terms of crossover and wider appeal.
Song to Song (Broad Green)
$142,005 in 80 theaters (+76); PTA: $1,775; Cumulative: $213,580
The second weekend of Terrence Malick’s Austin music scene film got a similar response to last year’s “Knight of Cups,” with a higher total gross in more than twice as many theaters.
Frantz (Music Box)
$50,000 in 10 theaters (+8); PTA: $50,000; Cumulative: $82,241
Los Angeles was among the second weekend additions as French director Francois Ozon’s latest acclaimed film expanded. The reviews continue to be strong but the response though better than most recent foreign language releases is modest. 25 more theaters add on this week.
After the Storm (Film Movement)
$(est.) 23,000 in 10 theaters (+4); PTA: $(est.) 2,300; Cumulative: $(est.) 51,000
Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s latest Japanese family drama had a modest second week expansion which despite good reviews finds itself struggling with the disinterest in subtitled films whatever their quality.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 theaters)
The Last Word (Bleecker Street) Week 4
$520,802 in 380 theaters (+286); Cumulative: $971,866
Shirley Maclaine oversees her own obituary in this expanding film which is attracting older viewers. Bleecker Street earlier in its brief history had a decent success with Blythe Danner in similarly senior-targeted “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” Its fourth weekend had a slightly higher ($553,000) gross, but in fewer than half (165) as many theaters. That suggests this won’t achieve the earlier film’s success, though it still is the standout recent wider release at the moment.
Lion (Weinstein) Week 18
$383,000 in 320 theaters (-301); Cumulative: $50,725,000
Winding down after its lengthy and successful run (including an additional $76 million overseas), this has been a solid rebound for Weinstein amid several weak performers.
The Sense of an Ending (CBS) Week 3
$270,000 in 235 theaters (-47); Cumulative: $1,024,000
Another recent older-audience appeal film that has failed to create a major stir, even with Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling in tow. Its PTA only fell slightly, but it wasn’t strong to begin with.
Personal Shopping (IFC) Week 3
$225,235 in 107 theaters (+72); Cumulative: $553,980
Olivier Assayas’ latest second collaboration with Kristen Stewart expands more quickly than their “Clouds of Sans Maria” which had 69 theaters on its third weekend with a gross of $219,000 with an equivalent PTA. This will be in the top 50 markets next week.
La La Land (Lionsgate) Week 16
$205,000 in 212 theaters (-373); Cumulative: $150,234,000
As Damien Chazelle’s smash hit ends its final theatrical stages, add an additional $277 million in foreign grosses for a total so far of $427 million.
Kedi (Oscilloscope) Week 7
$205,000 in 107 theaters (-23); Cumulative: $1,760,000
Cats in Istanbul continue to appeal as this unlikely success should top $2 million before it’s through.
A United Kingdom (Fox Searchlight) Week 7
$185,000 in 159 theaters (-98); Cumulative: $3,519,000
The director’s earlier and very similar “Belle” grossed nearly three times as much in 2014. This respected film’s lesser gross is a clear sign of the steep dip in the specialized world.
I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia) Week 8
$(est.) 105,000 in 61 theaters (-49); Cumulative: $(est.) 6,528,000
Who could have guessed that a documentary about James Baldwin could gross nearly 80 per cent as much as last year’s Oscar-winner “Amy,” about a current cultural icon like Amy Winehouse ($8.4 million)?
Raw (Focus) Week 3
$74,000 in 27 theaters (+18); Cumulative: $186,709
Julia Ducornau is the latest woman director to present a leading actress in a horror film to acclaim and some niche interest. This French film expanded wider with modest but steady interest.
Moonlight (A24) Week 22; also available on Video on Demand
$82,200 in 83 theaters (-198); Cumulative: $27,695,000
A month after getting home viewing availability, “Moonlight”‘s Oscar wins have kept some straggling screens in order to boost the Barry Jenkins film’s final theatrical total.
Paterson (Bleecker Street) – $48,647 in 36 theaters; Cumulative: $2,056,000
The Salesman (Cohen) – $46,485 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $2,296,000
The Women’s Balcony (Menemsha) – $35,252 in 14 theates; Cumulative: $201,533
Land of Mine (Sony Pictures Classics) – $34,283 in 26 theaters; Cumulative: $298,567
The Red Turtle (Sony Pictures Classics) – (#1,032 in 127 theaters; Cumulative: $826,807