September 17, 2017

Ben Stiller’s ‘Brad’s Status’ Leads Off Fall Specialty Film Season

Amazon Studios, which is releasing about a film a month, led the fall season specialized release barrage with Mike White college comedy “Brad’s Status,” starring Ben Stiller. Annapurna’s second release scored $25,000 per theater in two cities for a credible start.

“Brad’s Status” was one of four Toronto International Film Festival 2017 titles released while the festival is wrapping up (compared to only one last year). The others include Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” (Paramount), which flopped in wide release with $7.5 million and a rare F Cinemascore (they poll mass-audience theaters and the scores don’t reflect all reactions). Frederick Wiseman’s library documentary “Ex Libris” (Zipporah) got a decent result in its exclusive New York run, and Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” debuted on Netflix along with a smattering of theatrical dates (grosses hidden per usual).


Brad’s Status (Annapurna) – Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Toronto 2017

$100,179 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $25,045

Mike White’s third screenplay of the year (after “Beatriz at Dinner” and “The Emoji Movie”) is his second outing as director (he debuted with 2007’s “Year of the Dog”). This time Amazon oversees the release, partnering with neophyte distributor Annapurna for the first time. (Amazon is starting to distribute its own slate.)

Following a favorable Toronto debut, the Ben Stiller vehicle got ahead of a crowded fall field with decent results in four prime New York/Los Angeles locations. The gross is the best in five weekends (early August debuts of “Ingrid Goes West” and “Good Time” were better–neither impressed when they went wide). And “Brad’s Status” comes a month earlier than last fall’s initial $20,000-plus platform PTA release of eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner “Moonlight.”

What comes next: Expect an accelerated weekly expansion ahead, aided by a relatively wide open field. The story of a dad reexamining his life as he takes his son on a colleges tour should be accessible to a wide audience.


Ex-Libris: New York Public Library (Zipporah) – Metacritic: 90; Festivals include: Venice, Toronto 2017

$11,175 in 1 theater; PTA: $11,175; Cumulative: $16,557

Veteran 87-year-old documentary master Frederick Wiseman’s latest three-hour plus effort (his first after winning the honorary Oscar) opened at Manhattan’s Film Forum on Wednesday. The initial gross (backed by the best reviews for any documentary this year) were strong considering the running time and subject. While Wiseman’s previous film, “In Jackson Heights” (2015) did somewhat better in a similar placement, this is a stellar number.

What comes next: Los Angeles and Washington open next in advance of other big city dates.

The Force (Kino Lorber) – Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle 2017

$19,500 in 4 theaters; PTA:  $4,750

This Sundance award-winner (U.S. feature documentary directing) about the Oakland Police Department opened in several Bay area theaters this week. Though the initial results were bigger on Friday (with local tie-ins), the result is respectable for a serious issue documentary, particularly without prior New York/Los Angeles reviews.

What comes next: New York and Los Angeles open this Friday.

May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

“May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers”


“May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers” (Oscilloscope)

$10,500 in 8 theaters; PTA: $1,313; Cumulative: $681,589

This documentary on the folk rock band was directed by Judd Apatow, with most of its gross coming from single night showings last Tuesday. A handful held through the weekend.

What comes next: The next step likely will be later home viewing opportunities.

Manolo: The Boy Who Made Shoes for Lizards (Music Box) – Metacritic: 50

$7,440 in 3 theaters; PTA: $2,480

Documentaries about fashion icons often resonate with urban arthouse audiences, but this one about iconic shoe designer Manolo Blahnik (not helped by mixed reviews) had limited initial response in New York and Los Angeles dates.

What comes next: Chicago and San Francisco are among the initial expanded cities this week as the film heads into wider release.

Week Two

Rebel in the Rye (IFC)

$101,118 in 49 theaters (+45); PTA: $2,064; Cumulative: $154,326

The aggressive expansion of this biopic about J.D. Salinger did modest business, although Saturday increases suggested some interest from older audiences still affected by classic “The Catcher in the Rye.”

The Unknown Girl (IFC)

$32,043 in 16 theaters (+14); PTA:  $2,003; Cumulative: $52,725

The Dardennes Brothers latest release from Belgium expanded to top cities on its second weekend at a level under what their always domestic released titles usually do, even if better than many similar titles.

Trophy (The Orchard)

$2,742 in 2 theaters (+1); PTA: $1,371; Cumulative: $7,470

Los Angeles joined New York for this documentary about the complicated world of trophy hunting. This completes its Oscar qualifying run, a major aim of its theatrical release ahead of its future CNN showing.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000 in under 1,000 screens)

The Big Sick (Lionsgate) Week 13

$342,000 in 338 theaters (-197); Cumulative: $42,511,000

The year’s specialty hit, at the end of its third month in release, is still adding gross on the eve of its home availability date (September 19 for DVDs) and ranks best among films under 1,000 theaters.

Viceroy's House

“Viceroy’s House”


The Viceroy’s House (IFC) Week 3

$229,372 in 112 theaters (+71); Cumulative: $481,611

This latest British and Empire-related historical exercise (India at the time of independence) expanded more broadly to some success. Its timing before the rush of recent festival related new titles is helping its chances.

Tulip Fever (Weinstein) Week 3

$112,072 in 247 theaters (-525); Cumulative: $2,235,000

Justin Chatwin’s troubled Netherlands-set costume drama winds down quickly with a low-end result despite its initial multi-hundred theater release.

Dolores Huerta appears in <i>Dolores</i> by Peter Bratt, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. © 2016 Sundance Institute.


Dolores (PBS) Week 3 5-83

$68,120 in 18 theaters (+13); Cumulative: $151,227

This future PBS California Farm Workers’ organizer documentary continues its respectable run (and positioning for awards) with new dates. Chicago and cities closer to its Central California setting are next this week.

Columbus (Superlative) Week 7

$89,146 in 62 theaters (+26); Cumulative: $637,103

The impressive showing for this acclaimed mid-America set interaction between two seemingly different people continues with new dates (particularly in Indiana towns not normally known for specialized interest). This looks likely to go over $1 million with limited marketing expense.

Menashe (A24) Week 8

$87,210 in 90 theaters (-27); Cumulative: $1,576,000

Though subtitled, this American independent film (set in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community) is performing better than most English language art house-centered releases, with a gross of $2 million possible.

Ingrid Goes West (Neon) Week 6

$81,650 in 100 theaters (-100); Cumulative: $2,907,000

This social media turmoil drama, another recent release out of Sundance, will pass $3 million soon. But its aggressive release (at its height just under 700 theaters) suggests an expectation of more.

The Trip to Spain (IFC) Week 6; also available on Video on Demand

$76,338 in 103 theaters (-29); Cumulative: $923,086

This parallel to VOD showing third road trip in Europe led by Steve Coogan is doing less than its predecessors, but still is a decent bonus to its home viewing revenues.

Beach Rats (Neon) Week 4

$72,700 in 67 theaters (+33); Cumulative: $320,778

Minor results continue for another younger character (and audience) aimed Sundance title that is struggling to get attention.

Also noted:

Maudie (Sony Pictures Classics) – $38,870 in 63 theaters; Cumulative: $6,081,000

Good Time (A24) – $29,495 in 29 theaters; Cumulative: $1,933,000

California Typewriter (Gravitas Ventures) – $22,201 in 18 theaters; Cumulative: $128,919

Polina (Oscilloscope) – $30,000 in 30 theaters; Cumulative: $117,908

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Source: IndieWire film