March 18, 2018

Comedies Reign as Kim Kardashian Boosts ‘Flower’ and ‘The Death of Stalin’ Tops Tepid Specialty Box Office

Holdover “The Death of Stalin” (IFC) led the way as the specialized market transitions to post-awards season titles. Its second weekend was at the level of “Wind River,” the last specialized success without an award-season boost ($33 million total).

This is balm for art houses starving for new product after the long run of awards titles has run its course. Wes Anderson’s “The Isle of Dogs” will be next up among hopefuls to equal its success.

Still, the weekend yielded two new limited openings with better than expected results. “Flower” (The Orchard) with rising star Zoey Deutch as a lively Valley Girl showed some initial New York/Los Angeles success despite mixed reviews. And “Keep the Change” (Kino Lorber) in a single Manhattan theater delivered a decent first weekend result.


Flower (The Orchard) – Metacritic: 51; Festivals include: Tribeca 2017

$57,851 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $19,284

The queen of social media Kim Kardashian tweeted Saturday how much she liked the movie to her 59 million followers, which gave it a boost on top of its strong start. This comedy about an oddball household with some tricky relationships also benefited from aggressive marketing and strong New York/Los Angeles theater placement to get an unexpectedly strong initial total. Appearances by the film’s principals at multiple shows in Los Angeles boosted the grosses, particularly on Friday (its biggest day), along with an innovative MoviePass tie-in which looks to have amplified the New York gross.

What comes next: This moves quickly to limited dates in most top cities this week, shortly followed by a wider release.


Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruhl in “7 Days in Entebbe”

Liam Daniel

7 Days in Entebbe (Focus) – Metacritic: 49; Festivals include: Berlin 2018

$1,630,000 in 838 theaters; PTA: $1,942

Brazilian director Jose Padilha first got some festival and specialized attention (“Bus 174”), then studio (“RoboCop”) and cable (“Narcos”). With this retelling of the 1970s Uganda hostage rescue, Focus Features took a fairly wide opening route similar to their release of “The Zookeeper’s Wife” last year. With almost 300 more theaters, it managed only about half the gross.

What comes next: This looks like it has reached about as wide an audience as is likely, with the gross good enough to sustain in many theaters for a few more weeks.

Journey’s End (Good Deed) – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Toronto 2017

$12,700 in 2 theaters; PTA: $6,350

The latest version of this oft-filmed World War I novel (best known from its 1930 James Whale-directed Universal rendition) boasted exclusive New York and Los Angeles initial dates. With an ensemble cast of British actors including Paul Bettany, Tom Sturridge, Toby Jones, and Asa Butterfield, this got some initial sampling but not a lot more.

What comes next:  Some additional dates in its initial markets this week, with more cities added the following.

Keep the Change

“Keep the Change”

Keep the Change (Kino Lorber) – Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Tribeca, Los Angeles 2017

$13,000 in 1 theater; PTA: $13,000

This romantic drama set in the world of autism, with all the characters on the spectrum played by actors from that world, opened exclusively at New York’s Quad Cinema to strong initial results. Aided with a New York Times’ Critic’s Pick and with marketing to the community portrayed, this looks to have a draw that could be nationwide in select locations beyond specialized niches.

What comes next: New dates including Chicago and San Francisco start the national rollout this Friday. Los Angeles is set for April 20.

The Death of Stalin

“The Death of Stalin”

Photo by Nicola Dove, courtesy of IFC Films

Week Two

The Death of Stalin (IFC)

$580,576 in 32 theaters (+28); PTA: $18,143; Cumulative: $843,967

The second weekend for “Veep” ex-showrunner Armando Iannucci’s speculative comedy about the demise of the Soviet dictator showed results above several similarly timed expansions for recent major awards contenders “Darkest Hour” and “I, Tonya.” Aided by continued strong reviews and coming out just when new blood is needed in specialized theaters, this already shows crossover potential and significant future appeal in wider release.

Thoroughbreds (Focus)

$470,000 in 564 theaters (+15); PTA: $837; Cumulative: $2,267,000

The broad national release for this dark murder comedy led by two young women, released more than a year after its Sundance debut, fell by more than two thirds its second weekend.

The Leisure Seeker (Sony Pictures Classics)

$149,028 in 49 theaters (+21); PTA: $3,041; Cumulative: $326,984

A quicker-than-usual rollout from SPC for this touching senior road movie with veterans Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland is finding some interest. Shrewdly released to fill in the void after the Oscars –less competition –this won’t be a breakout, but should manage to maximize its niche potential with older audiences.

Ithzak (Greenwich)    2

$37,500 in 19 theaters (+17); PTA: $1,974; Cumulative: $53,796

A rapid expansion in New York and Los Angeles and some new cities led to a decent second weekend showing for this documentary on violinist Itzhak Perlman.

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Week 16; also streaming

$800,000 in 758 theaters (-794); Cumulative: $62,689,000

The big Oscar winner has added over $5 million since its selection, at the high end for recent years (when all the choices like “Shape” have already had home viewing availability).

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (Fox Searchlight) Week 19; also streaming

$265,000 in 282 theaters (-270); Cumulative: $53,889,000

Its two acting Oscar winners have added a little under $2 million, while most of its viewing in the last few weeks has been at home.

“A Fantastic Woman”

A Fantastic Woman (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7

$203,7111 in 190 theaters (+24); Cumulative: $1,496,000

The Chilean Foreign Language Oscar winner is getting a wider than normal release for a subtitled film. Combined with its distinctive transgender story, the movie is in the running to equal “The Salesman” (last year’s winner) total of $2.4 million.

Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17; also streaming

$128,304 in 118 theaters (-191); Cumulative: $17,743,000

The remaining theaters for this acclaimed coming-of-age story are helping this get to $18 million.

I, Tonya (Neon) Week 15; also streaming

$110,385 in 160 theaters (-183); Cumulative: $29,744,000

Creeping toward its $30 million target, Supporting Actress win in tow.

Darkest Hour (Focus) Week 17; also streaming

$105,000 in 133 theaters (-112); Cumulative: $56,311,000

This has been available for home viewing for a month, but the Best Actor award has kept it in theaters to add to the impressive total.

"Phantom Thread"

“Phantom Thread”

Phantom Thread (Focus) Week 12

$95,000 in 92 theaters (-92); Cumulative: $20,907,000

Still only in theaters, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is only adding a little business after its awards run.

Lady Bird (A24) Week 20; also streaming

$73,800 in 88 theaters (-68); Cumulative: $48,851,000

With no Oscar wins, after nearly five months in release along with alternative viewing possibilities, it’s still adding gross!

The Party (Roadside Attractions) Week 5

$63,040 in 80 theaters (-11); Cumulative: $600,623

Sally Potter’s London dinner party comedy winds down after its modest run.

Foxtrot (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3

$52,650 in 12 theaters (+6); Cumulative: $175,824

A better-than-average early run result for a subtitled films these days. This Israeli drama has a shot at exceeding $1 million based on early results.

Also noted:

Loveless (Sony Pictures Classics) – $47,730 in theaters; Cumulative: $379,474

The Insult (Cohen) – $17,668 in 12 theaters; Cumulative: $932,230

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Sony Pictures Classics) – $12,016 in 38 theaters; Cumulative: $840,916

Source: IndieWire film