December 2, 2018

‘The Favourite’ and ‘Roma’ Continue to Pull Arthouse Audiences

More significant titles than usual opened this week, but many of them did not report their box office. The post-Thanksgiving date is always risky for new specialty entries as maintaining momentum through Christmas is a challenge.

Steady as they go are last week’s top openers, all well-reviewed Oscar contenders. “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight), “Roma” (Netflix), and “Shoplifters” (Magnolia) all had strong second-week expansions.

Many films at this time of year open for one week for awards qualification, then widen early next year. (As normal, their grosses aren’t reported.) This year includes two films by previous Oscar winners — Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s “Never Look  Away” (Sony Pictures Classics) and Asghar Farhadi’s “Everybody Knows” (Focus). Also debuting with no grosses revealed were the documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” (Focus) as well as two new Netflix titles, Andy Serkis’ “Mowgli” and the Cannes prize-winner “Happy As Lazzaro.”

And Warner Bros. got as strong a theater placement as possible for German actor Til Schweiger’s “Head Full of Honey,” an English-language remake of his popular local story about Alzheimers. Nick Nolte stars. The reviews and initial turn out were not promising.


Anna and the Apocalypse (Orion) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Fantastic Fest 2017, Edinburgh 2018

$$51,000 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $10,200

Orion scored major New York/Los Angeles theaters (plus another in Austin) for this comedy about fighting zombies in a small Scottish town during the Christmas season, complete with carolers. It did well enough of to give it a shot at word of mouth for at least building cult interest.

What comes next: With the holiday coming, an expansion starts this Friday.


Mirai (GKids) – Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Cannes 2018

$62,497 in 68 theaters; Cumulative: $272,758

Late every year, GKids opens a strong foreign animated film. This Japanese effort, with high end reviews, played initially as a Fathom event on Thursday (the bulk of the gross) and then in fewer theaters over the weekend in a varying combination of playdates (making a per-theater average impossible for the weekend). This is a decent result for their efforts so far.

What comes next: This will continue as a limited specialized release in upcoming weeks, with the hopes that GKids scores another Oscar nomination.

Olivia Colman, "The Favourite"

“The Favourite”

Fox Searchlight

Week Two

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight)

$1,105,000 in 34 theaters (+30); PTA: $32,500; Cumulative: $1,679,000

Yorgos Lanthimos’ strongly received period comedy continues to hit the right marks in its second weekend. Its performance ranks around the level of the second weekend expansion of two of the biggest pre-holiday expanding films last year, “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” This weekend’s gross includes some earlier week previews, which somewhat enhances the average. In any case, the film is the best specialized grosser of the season. With certain Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar nominations ahead, and clear signs of positive audience reaction, this has performed about as well so far as Searchlight might hope.

Roma (Netflix)

$(est.) 110,000 in 4 theaters; PTA: (est.) $27,250, + unknown in 13 addition theaters in 17 theaters (+14); Cumulative: (est). $280,000 in 4 theaters; additional unknown

With further expansion ahead this Friday in more cities, and outreach to over 50 by December 14 (when it debuts on Netflix), Alfonso Cuaron’s film continues to sell out shows in top theaters. Again, the streaming giant refuses to release figures, but checking sales at theaters which have seating charts available shows it had multiple sell outs — many quite in advance — with a gross that looks to only have decreased 10 percent at the three locations it played last weekend. San Francisco was a new city (where it looks on a 100 seat screen to have grossed around $20,000, below its potential had it had more seats), with outlying locations in New York and Los Angeles added this week with no reports of grosses so far.

This looks like it will easily be the best grossing subtitled film from the specialize world this year, despite its streaming. Its acclaim — it won three awards, including Best Film from the New York Films Critics Thursday – and Cuaron’s position as one of the best known and popular directors today are helping. So perhaps is the expectation that seeing this on screen will not be easy after it plays on Netflix. Whatever the reasons, this is clearly a phenomenon and whatever Netflix’s desires or intentions, a success in theaters.



Shoplifters (Magnolia)   5-132

$106,000 in 14 theaters (+9); PTA: $7,571; Cumulative: $238,260

By standards of all specialized subtitled films not named “Roma” this is a decent gross for the initial major city expansion of this acclaimed Japanese film. It currently stands tied with Cuaron’s film as the best reviewed film of 2018 at Metacritic (both at 95), won Best Foreign Language Film from the New York Film Critics and most importantly seems to be getting terrific word of mouth so far.

The World Before Our Feet (Greenwich)

$15,655 in 7 theaters (+5); PTA: $2,609; Cumulative: $54,630

A man whose multi-year quest to walk all the streets of New York City is chronicled is portrayed in this documentary which expanded into Los Angeles and elsewhere this weekend to adequate results.

Becoming Astrid (Music Box)

$18,934 in 15 theaters (+12); PTA: $1,262; Cumulative: $26,955

This biopic about the writer of the Pippi Longstocking novels found a home in top cities across the country week two. But the interest continues to be minimal.


“Green Book”

Universal Pictures

Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)

Green Book (Universal) Week 3

$3,900,000 in 1,065 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $14,016,000

Universal’s aggressive early push for this awards contender is bearing some fruit with this weekend down only 29 per cent from the holiday. It’s good enough so that even though there will be significant attrition as Christmas approaches, it should sustain enough presence to benefit from upcoming nominations and a potential later expansion in January.

Boy Erased (Focus) Week 5

$590,000 in 660 theaters (-12); Cumulative: $5,582,000

This well-reviewed gay conversion drama remains on a wide number of national screens. The marketplace is getting crowded, so expect a drop-off ahead but still a presence in most major cities through the holidays.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 7

$350,000 in 272 theaters (-154); Cumulative: $6,591,000

Melissa McCarthy’s turn as a biographer turned scam artist has gotten her acclaim. The film continues to stay in view and has earned one of the better grosses among fall specialized releases.

Free Solo (Greenwich) – Week 10

$305,294 in 172 theaters (+26); Cumulative: $10,133,000

Defying gravity with an increase in theaters in its tenth week, National Geographic’s very successful documentary looks like it could continue to play in some locations even into the holidays and add to its terrific totals

'The Front Runner"

‘The Front Runner”

Columbia Pictures/YouTube

The Front Runner (Sony) Week 3

$(est.) 270,000 in 807 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $(est.) 1,627,000

Jason Reitman’s latest, with Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, managed to hold on for some shows at all of its theaters. But the results were minimal despite Sony’s significant support.

The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox) – Week 9

$210,000 in 250 theaters (-10); Cumulative: $29,226,000

Fox’s successful handling of George Tillman Jr.’s strong drama about the impact of a police shooting continues to stay on a significant number of screens in now its third month of play.

At Eternity’s Gate (CBS) – Week 3

$180,000 in 48 theaters (+17); Cumulative: $670,000

In a very crowded field, Julian Schnabel’s latest film about fellow painter Vincent Van Gogh is finding a positive response. With Willem Dafoe in the running for awards consideration, this interest could boost his chances.

Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, TimothŽe Chalamet, Oakley Bull, and Christian Convery star in BEAUTIFUL BOY

“Beautiful Boy”

Francois Duhamel

Beautiful Boy (Amazon) – Week 8

$160,042 in 207 theaters (-47); Cumulative: $7,248,000

Amazon has built this acclaimed drama about a father and son dealing with meth and other addiction to a respectable total as it reaches the latter stages of its run.

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 5

$116,803 in 69 theaters (+14); Cumulative: $873,836

Core fans continue to turn out for this documentary with recently discovered material about the opera diva.

The Old Man and the Gun (Fox Searchlight) – Week 10

$78,000 in 114 theaters (+23); Cumulative: $10,920,000

Robert Redford’s late career star turn will end up ahead of many of the later season awards-oriented films.

Border (Neon) – Week 6

$76,920 in 73 theaters (+36); Cumulative: $569,337

This Swedish thriller is getting good big market placement by Neon, with a shot still at reaching a level above most subtitled films this year.

Wildlife (IFC) – Week 7

$55,487 in 66 theaters (-7); Cumulative: $931,937

Even with Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan in tow as parents in turmoil, this is struggling to reach the $1 million mark.

A Private War (Aviron) – Week 5

$50,000 in 66 theaters (-160); Cumulative: $1,518,000

This timely, well reviewed drama about a war journalist Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) is near the end of its run with Aviron at least showing it could take a smaller film and get significant play across the country.

Also noted:

Suspiria (Amazon) – $27,123 in 33 theaters; Cumulative: $2,393,000

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Source: IndieWire film