October 29, 2017

Swedish Comedy ‘The Square’ and Gay Romance ‘God’s Own Country’ Score at Specialty Box Office

This pre-Halloween weekend, multiple specialized distributors opened and expanded significant fall season releases. Comedy “The Square” (Magnolia), this year’s top Cannes prize-winner, launched at a high level for a subtitled film on the road to national release and Oscar contention.

No other opening reached its levels. “The Novitiate” (Sony Pictures Classics) drew disappointing results. “Bill Nye: Science Guy” (PBS) showed some initial promise, while “Jane” (Abramorama/National Geographic), another documentary about a well-known scientist, primate conservationist Jane Goodall, showed strong second weekend results. A24’s “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” led second weekend expansions.


The Square (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2017

$76,000 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $19,000

Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or-winner, despite a 2.5 hour length, opened unusually well for a subtitled film. The Swedish Oscar entry, a comedy about the art world, opened at four prime New York/Los Angeles locations with a strong ad presence and some filmmaker appearances. A comparable release, the most recent Foreign Language Academy Award winner “The Salesman,” debuted after its nomination in January to a $24,000 PTA in one less theater. “The Square” is also outperforming Ostlund’s previous release “Force Majeure,” which opened three years ago to a total of $23,000 in two theaters.

What comes next: 11 additional theaters in the current markets and three new cities begins its expansion this Friday.


Novitiate (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Sundance, Toronto 2017

$22,577 in 3 theaters; PTA: $7,526

An American girl finds her decision to become a nun more complicated than expected in this 1960s drama that, despite significant marketing from SPC and favorable reviews, achieved only minor results in New York and Los Angeles.

What comes next: Chicago, San Francisco and Washington lead the list on new cities adding on this Friday.

Bill Nye: Science Guy (PBS) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: South by Southwest, San Francisco, Los Angeles 2017

$9,150 in 1 theater; PTA: $9.150

This documentary about America’s best known TV science expert is a respectable theatrical release for PBS before it airs on the network.

What comes next: Los Angeles is next on Nov. 10

“God’s Own Country”

God’s Own Country (Orion) – Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco, Seattle 2017

$16,820 in 2 theaters; PTA: $8,410; Cumulative: $22,691

The British rural gay romance opened in New York and Los Angeles to decent response with strong reviews.

What comes next: A national big city expansion is set for November.

“All I See Is You”

All I See Is You (Open Road) – Metacritic: 43; Festivals include: Toronto 2016

$135,504 in 283 theaters; PTA: $479

Marc Forster’s Toronto 2016 debut with Blake Lively and Jason Clarke (about a blind woman regaining her sight) had a limited release with few ticket buyers across big cities nationally.

What comes next: Not likely to hang around even for a second week.

Mansfield 66/67 (Filmbuff) – Festivals include: Rotterdam, Frameline 2017

$6,600 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,600

This documentary on Jayne Mansfield and her death in a car crash opened in Los Angeles, with nearly all the gross on Friday night.

What comes next: Mostly calendar dates (some less than full weeks) are scheduled around the country.

Brimstone and Glory (Oscilloscope) – Festivals include: True/False, San Francisco, Hot Docs 2017

$3,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $3,000

This documentary about fireworks and their important role in Mexican life had a minor opening in Los Angeles at one theater.

What comes next: San Francisco and Albuquerque open this Friday.

Let There Be Light (Atlas)

$1,800,000 in 373 theaters; PTA: $4,826

Sean Hannity as executive producer looks to have helped with the marketing of this fundamentalist right-wing religious drama about an atheist who discovers religion after a near-death experience. The heartland-centric results were better than most recent similar efforts with Saturday up a bit from Friday, showing more than pre-sale group interest. Actor Kevin Sorbo directed as well as acted.

What comes next: These grosses should lead to more interest and expansion.

“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”

Week Two

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (A24)

$221,552 in 33 theaters (+29); PTA: $6,713; Cumulative: $392,453

The second weekend for Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest English-language film is decent, though not at the level of “The Lobster” last year. This initially would appear to be a decent arthouse performer but not likely to have the modest crossover results of his earlier hit.

Jane (Abramorama/National Geographic)

$151,376 in 25 theaters (+22); PTA: $6,055; Cumulative: $231,504

Excellent results for the second weekend expansion of this documentary about legendary primate raiser Jane Goodall. Previously unseen recordings of her with her animals — and her romantic cinematographer–have significant appeal with likely much greater interest still to come.



Mary Cybulski

Wonderstruck (Roadside Attractions)

$126,007 in 42 theaters (+38); PTA: $3,000; Cumulative: $213,221

Despite continued good reviews, Todd Haynes’ innovative young-adult mystery is not seeing results equal to its acclaim as it quickly expanded to more big cities its second weekend. Amazon continues to provide major support, but is meeting continued resistance.

BPM (Beats Per Minute) (The Orchard)

$7,470 in 4 theaters (+2); PTA: $1,868; Cumulative: $22,914

This acclaimed French AIDS resistance group drama (the country’s Oscar submission) despite strong reviews is not finding much interest in its second weekend with San Francisco now added (Los Angeles is next this Friday).

Tragedy Girls (Gunpowder & Sky) 2-18

$12,420 in 18 theaters (+16); PTA: $690; Cumulative: $30,242

This riff on the slasher genre expanded for Halloween to minimal results.

Aida’s Secrets (Music Box)  1-10

$21,302 in 8 theaters (+7); PTA: $2,663; Cumulative: $31,494

Child holocaust survivor siblings find each other decades later in this documentary which expanded to Los Angeles and outlying New York locations its second weekend to reasonable results.

Judi Dench victoria and abdul

“Victoria and Abdul”

Screenshot/Focus Features

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Victoria & Abdul (Focus) Week 6

$1,612,000 in 1,044 theaters (-16); Cumulative: $17,712,000

The winner and still champion among fall specialized releases, this Judi Dench starrer is now Focus’ biggest limited release since “The Theory of Everything” three years ago.

Marshall (Open Road) Week 3

$921,369 in 821 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $6,966,000

The wide release for this biopic on the early career of the Supreme Court Justice is holding on to current theaters but with continued minor response.

"The Florida Project"

“The Florida Project”


The Florida Project (A24) Week 4

$539,234 in 145 theaters (+33); Cumulative: $2,149,000

Sean Baker’s acclaimed American independent film continues to see robust results as it quickly expands. The grosses continue to be less than A24’s breakout “Moonlight” last year (which saw a similar release pattern), but that was not a typical release. This looks to be headed to a gross considerably higher and one of the better specialized releases of the year.

Loving Vincent (Good Deed) Week 6

$449,453 in 160 theaters (+46); Cumulative: $2,108,000

This unexpected fall sleeper, which animates in the style of Van Gogh’s paintings, is an exception to the failure of many biographical films this season. It continues to see above-average per-theater grosses and already has passed $2 million with likely significantly more to come.

Goodbye Christopher Robin (Fox Searchlight) Week 3

$330,000 in 213 theaters (+152); Cumulative: $633,036

The third weekend for this biofilm about writer A.A. Milne and his son continues to see weak response as it quickly expands.

Battle of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight) Week 6

$310,000 in 291 theaters (-254); Cumulative: $12,010,000

The Emma Stone/Steve Carell recreation of the famous woman vs. man tennis match continues its run with some remaining interest even if it never reached expected levels.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$94,816 in 185 theaters (-147); Cumulative: $665,000

SPC as usual maximizes the playoff of its latest film, about the key Watergate leaker, even though the interest has been minimal with its ultimate gross likely to fall short of $1 million.

Lucky (Magnolia) Week 5

$(est.) 75,000 in 81 theaters (-30); Cumulative: $(est.) 683,000

Harry Dean Stanton’s final lead performance continues to be the draw as this release continues with modest results.

“Faces Places”

Faces Places (Cohen) Week 4

$72,960 in 42 theaters (+16); Cumulative: $269,382

Upcoming Honorary Oscar winner Agnes Varda’s likely final film, a personal documentary and road movie in and around France, continues its respectable arthouse run with new reviews keeping its Metacritic score of 95 ahead of any 2017 release so far.

Human Flow (Magnolia) Week 3

$61,000 in 36 theaters (+7); Cumulative: $272,064

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s documentary about refugees around the world continues its major market expansion with modest results and ongoing positive reviews.

Professor Marston & the Wonder Woman (Annapurna) – Week 3

$53,500 in 181 theaters (-778); Cumulative: $1,526,000

A quick end for the surprisingly wide run for this biofilm about the kinky life of the man who created the comic book figure.

Breathe (Bleecker Street) Week 3

$51,652 in 148 theaters (-167); Cumulative: $378,931

A fadeout as well for this Toronto premiered story of a real couple who overcome physical restrictions to travel the world.

Also noted:

Wind River (Weinstein) – $29,697 in 80 theaters; Cumulative: $33,620,000

Columbus (Superlative) – $11,490 in 18 theaters; Cumulative: $989,139

Dina (The Orchard) – $10,628 in 19 theaters; Cumulative: $59,681


Source: IndieWire film