February 16, 2020
As Neon basked in the afterglow of four Oscar wins including Best Picture for “Parasite,” the movie doubled its gross on its 19th weekend, by far its best showing. Universal’s Oscar-winner “1917” also stayed strong in even more theaters, grossing higher still.
Neon also ruled the roost with another potential crossover film, Valentine’s Day weekend entry “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” Céline Sciamma’s period bodice-ripper, which returned to theaters after a one-week Oscar qualifying multi-city run, showed significant success in most locations, not only core specialized, but also more mainstream theaters.
Otherwise, weekend results continue mixed. Searchlight released marriage story “Downhill” wide to less than enthusiastic response, while Bleecker Street went limited with a modest reaction to their serious romantic drama “Ordinary Love.” This was a weekend to spotlight films about couples, but Valentine’s Day didn’t deliver any significant boost.
The other standout opener was “The Times of Bill Cunningham” (Greenwich), which opened strong in two New York theaters despite the photographer having already been portrayed in another documentary.
Among the non-reporting films is “Corpus Christi” (Film Movement), the International Feature Film nominee from Poland, which had an advance run in Chicago this weekend and debuts in New York on Wednesday.
All grosses below are estimates for the three day weekend. The Presidents Day semi-holiday should add 10% or more to all of these figures.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Neon) – Metacritic: 95; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, New York 2019
(reopening after December qualifying run)
$440,907 in 22 theaters; PTA: $20,041; Cumulative: $559,510
Neon follows up its huge subtitled success with “Parasite” with the biggest launch for a French film in many years. Sciamma’s romance between two women, which some believed should have been the French Oscar entry, opened in two theaters for a week in December to top-level reviews (December numbers are in the cumulative total). Neon now brings it to six cities for its official opening.
The $20,000 PTA (which includes Thursday as well as some additional earlier shows) are outstanding. The four core New York/Los Angeles theaters — again not the first weekend for two of them — will have a PTA of over $40,000 for the three days. That’s heading for phenomenal territory for a subtitled film.
Remember: before “Parasite” it had been several years since a specialized subtitled film grossed even $5 million domestic. It’s early, but expect this to manage that and more.
What comes next: This opens in further markets this Friday with a steady expansion ahead.
Downhill (Searchlight) – Metacritic: 49; Festivals include: Sundance 2020
$4,671,000 in 2,301 theaters; PTA: $2,030
Though this remake initially opened wide, this specialty film from core supplier Searchlight premiered at Sundance. It’s a remake of Swedish “Force Majeure,” a recent subtitled arthouse success, and its directors previously made “Way Way Back.” Given the film’s two stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, it made sense to open with a 2,301 theater Valentine’s Day break. On paper the marital comedy showed commercial appeal, so going for the greater glory was logical (especially if strong reviews were not in the offing).
“Downhill” also landed a D Cinemascore, confirming that the public was not responsive. It will make the Top Ten, and grossed slightly ahead of pessimistic predictions. Its 26% drop after Friday (which was boosted by previews and Valentine’s Day) is not a disaster, but it’s hard to see this one sticking around much beyond next week.
What comes next: It might creep to as much as $5 million, which is less than such weak festival-launched movies with adult appeal as “Blinded by the Light” and “Late Night.”
The Times of Bill Cunningham (Greenwich) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: New York 2018
$44,475 in 2 theaters; PTA: $22,238
This is an extraordinary performance, given that legendary New York Times street life photographer Bill Cunningham was already the subject of a 2011 documentary (“Bill Cunningham: New York”), which grossed over $1.5 million. Following his death, a second non-fiction portrait opened in two New York theaters for the best results for a documentary since last fall, as well as one of the top initial PTAs so far this year. The earlier film also had a strong start (adjusted over $35,000 in a single theater), but this result is equally impressive.
What comes next: Los Angeles opens this Friday, with top 50 markets included through March.
Ordinary Love (Bleecker Street) – Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Toronto 2019
$24,874 in 3 theaters; PTA: $8,291
This yielded decent reviews, especially for Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville as a couple coping with the wife’s breast cancer. But top theater placement led to only a modest initial result. Saturday showed a decent 26% uptick so this might find decent word of mouth ahead.
What comes next: With seven new cities, this will be at 12 theaters to start its expansion this Friday.
Those Who Remained (Menemsha) – Festivals include: Telluride 2019
$11,862 in 2 theaters; PTA: $5,931
Performing well in two South Florida theaters, this Hungarian post-World War II drama was shortlisted for the International Oscar and should land more upbeat reviews.
What comes next: New York and Los Angeles theaters open later on May 8.
I Was at Home, But… (Cinema Guild) – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Berlin, Toronto, New York 2019
$6,115 in 1 theater; PTA: $6,115
German director Angela Schanelec has earned a festival reputation so far, but her profile is growing. Her most recent film, a family drama involving a mysterious disappearance, opened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York to a respectable result.
What comes next: This won’t be a mainstream art title, but is getting some key theaters. These include Los Angeles and Chicago on February 28.
The Lodge (Neon)
$126,000 in 21 theaters (+15); PTA: $6,000; Cumulative: $226,001
Neon is adding more cities to this mainstream though still limited genre release, which is working best with younger audiences, especially at Neon partner Alamo Drafthouse locations.
And Then We Danced (Music Box)
$22,406 in 7 theaters (+5); PTA: $3,201; Cumulative: $42,040
The second-week expansion includes three Los Angeles theaters. The numbers for this Georgian/Swedish production about a sexually repressive dance couple are modest but reasonable for a less-known subtitled new release. They suggest enough interest to lead to a wider break.
Ongoing/Expanding (grosses over $50,000)
1917 (Universal) Week 9
$8,090,000 in 3,084 theaters (-464); Cumulative: $144,400,000
What Best Picture loss? Sure a win would have been a bigger boost, but this fell only 12% nonetheless. Sam Mendes’ popular war film still looks to end up with a very strong domestic take over $170 million.
Parasite (Neon) Week 19; also on Video on Demand
$5,501,000 in 2,001 theaters (+941); Cumulative: $43,188,000
Oscar is not dead. And when social media cranks out video of Director Bong finally returning to Seoul, you know something special is going on. But the grosses show that as well. Despite inexpensive home-viewing alternatives, this had by far the highest post-win weekend of any Best Picture winner since “The King’s Speech” nine years ago. And that was in the pre-streaming era for a film which did three times as much business as “Parasite” so far.
That this is a subtitled film makes this ongoing performance even more exquisite. “Parasite” looks likely to add $15 million or more to its pre-win total and pass $50 million. That would put it ahead of four of the last nine winners, all of which –natch–were in English.
Jojo Rabbit (Searchlight) Week 18
$900,000 in 484 theaters (-612); Cumulative: $31,800,000
The delayed home availability and anticipation of realized Oscar success has added over $11 million to Taika Waititi’s film’s gross.
Just Mercy (Warner Bros.) Week 9
$765,000 in 864 theaters (-469); Cumulative: $34,745,000
Late in its run, this Michael B. Jordan/Jamie Foxx capital punishment true story still maintains a significant national footprint with a decent result since its Christmas platform debut.
The Assistant (Bleecker Street) Week 3
$212,352 in 82 theaters (+57); Cumulative: $484,009
This acclaimed and sensitive film about the insidious damage caused in a #MeToo infected workplace is widening quickly to continued modest interest. It will get a maximized push by Bleecker Street, but doesn’t look like it will expand much beyond specialized locations.
2020 Oscar Nominated Shorts (Magnolia) Week 3
$(est.) 140,000 in 115 theaters (-421); Cumulative: $(est.) 3,093,000
Despite getting one less week to play (because of the truncated Oscar calendar), this annual compilation of shorts will end up with about 90% of the gross of last year’s record setting run.
Uncut Gems (A24) Week 10
$172,094 in 218 theaters (-924); Cumulative: $49,771,000
Interest continues late in the run for A24’s biggest grosser, soon to reach $50 million without the usual 10% boost of Canadian dates (where it was limited due to its Netflix platform there).
Bombshell (Lionsgate) Week 10
$125,000 in 128 theaters (-144); Cumulative: $31,397,000
This Oscar winner should find a healthy afterlife post-theatrical, but figure this to be about the end of the first run for this recreation of the toxic Fox News environment.
The Last Full Measure (Roadside Attractions) Week 4
$89,400 in 121 theaters (-496); Cumulative: $2,766,000
This quest for recognition for a Vietnam hero true story lost most of its theaters but added to its gross which will end up close to $3 million.
Weathering With You (GKids) Week 6
$68,400 in 32 theaters (-76); Cumulative: $7,690,000
The remaining theaters continue to have a decent response for this Japanese animated film.
The Traitor (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$52,623 in 29 theaters (+12); Cumulative: $146,818
Veteran Italian director Marco Bellocchio’s Sicilian heroin trade drama is still in early stages of top-city release, with mediocre results. With SPC behind it, expect further extensive play in all cities.
The Song of Names (Sony Pictures Classics) – $38,842 in 51 theaters; Cumulative: $997,163
Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics) – $18,847 in 19 theaters; Cumulative: $4,547,000; also on Video on Demand
Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words (Blue Fox) – $16,196 in 17 theaters; Cumulative: $200,793
Source: IndieWire film