August 26, 2018
John Cho’s ‘Searching’ Grabs Specialty Crowd as ‘Papillon’ and ‘Support the Girls’ Struggle
The dog days of summer are a dropping ground– just before the festival launch of many major award season entries –for weaker commercial entries that need room to breathe. Still, multiple new titles opened this weekend. One, Sundance grad “Searching” (Sony), looks set for wider interest ahead.
Remake “Papillon” (Bleecker Street) opened in 544 theaters, neither platform nor wide, but standard for general interest openers that still require special handling. Results were desultory, but without a lot of competition the grim period prison drama probably could have done no better, with a chance of some Labor Day holiday playtime ahead.
“The Wife” (Sony Pictures Classics) showed some real strength on its second weekend and should play well for the next few weeks. A standout run could help position Glenn Close for awards ahead of the glut of new contenders that will soon arrive.
Papillon (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 52; Festivals include: Toronto 2017
$1,151,000 in 544 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $2,115
This weakly-reviewed second version of the true island prison escape story stars Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek, while the first showcased Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen at their peak. Nearly a year after Red Granite’s $12-million foreign-sales title premiered at Toronto, it opened in sophisticated upscale theaters to modest results similar to two previous Bleecker Street releases, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” and “Beirut.” Both films scored domestic totals between $5,000,000 and $6,000,000. This looks to end up in the same range.
What comes next: This will stay at about the same level next week.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute, photo by Juan Sebastian Baron
Searching (Sony) – Metacritic: 73; Festivals include: Sundance, San Francisco 2018
$360,000 in 9 theaters; PTA: $40,000
While “Crazy Rich Asians” boosts Asian-American actors, John Cho, a leading box-office success both in studio (“Star Trek”) and specialized films (“Columbus”) shines again in this missing child thriller. He stars as a dad who researches his beloved missing daughter’s computer and finds out who she really is. Sony opened this Sundance premiere in nine theaters as a platform release (rare outside of awards season) to a strong result. This should enhance its attention as it moves to a more conventional wide break.
What comes next: This expands to 1,100 theaters this Friday.
Support the Girls (Magnolia) – Metacritic: 86; Festivals include: South by Southwest, San Francisco 2018
$(est.) 51,000 in 34 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 1,500
Set in a Hooters-style venue and shot in Austin, Texas with a strong female ensemble led by well-reviewed Regina Hall, this drama opened in more than 20 cities in a mixture of specialized and African-American neighborhood theaters. The result was mediocre overall, despite rave reviews with major placement in top newspapers. This film might get more attention on other platforms ahead. It’s tricky to grab initial specialized attention with characters who are outside the daily lives of most specialized audiences.
What comes next: The reviews could give this some traction for expansion, but overall this ‘tweener looks like it will struggle to get a lot more national attention.
The Bookshop (Greenwich) – Metacritic: 62; Festivals include: Berlin 2018
$48,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: $12,000
Spanish director Isabel Coixet (“The Secret Life of Words”) has worked in several countries. This time she goes British, as a young woman opens a bookstore in a resistant conservative 1959 English coastal town. This could be an appealing subject for older audiences in the week ahead. With only modestly favorable reviews, its opening is strong enough to give it a foot in the market for interested moviegoers.
What comes next: This expands quickly to 65 theaters for the holiday weekend, so we’ll see soon how much appeal this could have.
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (Oscilloscope) – Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: Berlin 2018
$8,060 in 1 theater; PTA: $8,060; Cumulative: $11,915
This documentary portrait of tennis champion (already the subject of the narrative film “Borg Vs. McEnroe” earlier this year) opened exclusively on Wednesday in New York to a decent initial five day gross.
What comes next: Timed to expand while the U.S. Open takes place, this expands to top markets next weekend.
Crime + Punishment (Hulu) – Metacritic: 88; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2018; also on Hulu
$(est.) 8,400 in 3 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 2,800; Cumulative: $(est.) 8,400
Parallel to its debut on Hulu, Stephen Maing’s acclaimed documentary opened in three theaters in order to cop some good reviews. Sure enough, its Metascore is slightly ahead of the three breakout documentaries this summer. The subject — eye-popping New York Police Department quota systems that unfairly target minorities — doesn’t lend itself to major theatrical audience response. But theater placement will get this more attention.
What comes next: Nearly all of its viewings will be on Hulu, but it’s eligible for Oscar consideration and could enter that conversation.
Andrei Roublev (Janus) (reissue)
$12,979 in 2 theaters; PTA: $6,490
Andrei Tarkovsky’s seminal 1960s Russian film opened in New York along with only one show in Los Angeles (at the Aero) to a better-than-average result for a reissue.
What comes next: This will have limited engagements in top cities ahead.
Graeme Hunter Pictures
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics)
$217,382 in 18 theaters (+4); PTA: $12,077; Cumulative: $380,112
The second weekend for this family drama set at a Nobel Prize ceremony is grabbing major attention for Glenn Close. This initial expansion is one of the best performers for SPC since “Call Me By Your Name.” The grosses are better than “Paris Can Wait” at the same point. With not many appealing options for the older specialized crowd in the next few weeks, this drama looks primed for a performance ahead of “Paris.”
$51,286 in 7 theaters (+4); PTA: $7,326; Cumulative: $104,476
IFC’s unusual release of this Ethan Hawke-directed biopic about a little-known but influential Texas musician added more theaters in that state after its Austin debut. These are decent results for a regional release, which will see two more Texas theaters plus Nashville open this week before a wider national expansion the following week.
Juliet, Naked (Roadside Attractions)
$250,370 in 43 theaters (+39); PTA: $5,822; Cumulative: $344,602
This musical romantic comedy starring Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne, and Chris O’Dowd got some sampling its second weekend as expanded quickly to major cities nationwide. The entertaining film could pull some crowds over the upcoming holiday weekend.
We the Animals (The Orchard)
$(est.) 44,000 in 11 theaters (+8); PTA: $(est.) 4,000; Cumulative: $(est.) $134,000
With elements of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Moonlight,” and “The Florida Project,” this critically-supported independent film set among disadvantaged young people expanded to top cities this weekend to modest results.
Memoir of War (Music Box) 2-18
$17,743 in 11 theaters (+9); PTA: $1,613; Cumulative: $35,682
This French World War II resistance drama expanded to several new theaters with a typical response these days for subtitled films.
Expanding/ongoing (grosses over $50,000)
Eighth Grade (A24) – Week 7
$440,000 in 366 theaters (-176); Cumulative: $12,480,000
As the season winds down, this acclaimed middle-school drama is A24’s third film (including “Hereditary” and a third of the gross for “Lady Bird”) to bring in over $10 million this year. It’s the best performer of the wider specialty films in release.
Puzzle (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 5
$372,433 in 265 theaters (+157); Cumulative: $1,210,000
More than doubling the theaters gave this drama about a suburban woman coming out of her shell by playing jigsaw puzzles wider exposure, but not much in the way of gross. This should top out despite a national release including crossover theaters no higher than $2 million.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Three Identical Strangers (Neon) – Week 9
$310,000 in 221 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $11,137,000
This non-celebrity-focused documentary continues to add to its already impressive total. This is Neon’s second $10 million-plus grosser in its under 18 months of existence (“I, Tonya” grossed over $30 million). For context, A24, which became successful quickly, was in its third year when it achieved that.
Sorry to Bother You (Annapurna) – Week 8
$151,500 in 88 theaters (-55); Cumulative: $16,606,000
Boots Riley’s imaginative science-fiction comedy is firmly placed third among this year’s many Sundance successes in gross (behind “Hereditary” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”).
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (FilmRise) – Week 3
$120,000 in 85 theaters (+13); Cumulative: $618,730
This gay conversion drama continues it modest response as it expands to more cities.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Focus) – Week 12
$120,000 in 160 theaters (-46); Cumulative: $22,319,000
Mr. Rogers’ very busy neighborhood keeps adding to its population nearly three months after its release.
Photo by Ariel Nava/Lionsgate
Blindspotting (Lionsgate) – Week 6
$70,000 in 38 theaters (-9); Cumulative: $4,145,000
This Oakland-set independent film handled by Lionsgate’s partner Code Black has grossed more than all but four of this year’s Sundance non-documentary releases.
McQueen (Bleecker Street) – $49,235 in 51 theaters; Cumulative: $1,118,000
Leave No Trace (Bleecker Street) – $45,134 in 66 theaters; Cumulative: $5,800,000
Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood (Greenwich)- $37,964 in 34 theaters; Cumulative: $338,254
Madeline’s Madeline (Oscilloscope) – $18,922 in theaters; Cumulative: $68,540
The Captain (Music Box) – $11,800 in 8 theaters; Cumulative: $83,235
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Source: IndieWire film