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Arthouse Audit: Action Among Wider Release Films as Specialty Box Office Lags, 'Enough Said' Tops Fall Specialty Films

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood October 13, 2013 at 4:29PM

With "Gravity" and now "Captain Phillips" dominating the Top 10, propelled by ticket buyers who often overlap with those who might otherwise pursue more specialized fare, the overall weekend arthouse box office is less than spectacular. Several independent releases outside the normal definition of specialized comprise much of the business.
Franco As I Lay Dying

"God Loves Uganda" (Variance) - Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 77; Festivals include: Sundance 2013

$7,300 in 1 theater; PSA: $7,300

Opening at a theater usually not known for specialized limited releases (the Clearview in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood), this is a decent gross for a tough documentary about evangelical Christians joining with local officials to persecute gays in Uganda.

What comes next: Los Angeles this Friday is next, with a slow roll out planned over the next few weeks.

"Broadway Idiot" (FilmBuff) - Metacritic: 48; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2013

$6,500 in 1 theater; PSA: $6,500

Also on a single NY screen, this doc about Green Day singer Billy Joe Armstrong producing a Broadway musical based on the group's hit album "American Idiot" did similarly OK business.

What comes next: Expansion to other cities next week as well as VOD in the near future.

"As I Lay Dying" (Millennium) - Metacritic: 50; Festivals include: Cannes 2013

$6,000 in 1 theater; PSA: $6,000

Opening unusually at AMC's Empire complex on 42nd St. in Manhattan, this is a less impressive gross based on its pedigree (director/star James Franco, from William Faulkner's novel). The Cannes-launched film needed stronger reviews. 

What comes next: This looks like it has limited specialized appeal.


Several other more limited release films hovered just under the top 10 (in a week where any significant performance should have been able to propel them with the low level grosses outside the top three films). Best-grossing was "Enough Said" (Fox Searchlight) in 11th place with $1,935,000 in 606 theaters (+169). The gross was down almost 12% despite the theater increase, with the PSA of $3,193 down just under 40%. At the same point of its run, "The Way, Way Back" jumped to 886 theaters (it ultimately reached 1,001) showing broader strength. "Enough" though has passed the $8 million mark, making it the best of the fall initially limited specialized openings so far.

Lionsgate's two Mexican comedies also placed high. "Pulling Strings" (#12, $1.150,000 in 428 theaters, +41) took a 53% drop even with new runs, now totaling over $4.1 million). The much bigger "Instructions Not Included" took in another $1 million, still at 711 theaters, now up to $42,675,000.

Among films that opened last week, there was not a lot of action. Roadside Attraction's Christian-market "Grace Unplugged" added $524,000 in 502 theaters for a minimal PSA, total now $1,749,000. Exclusive's "Parkland" collapsed, only taking in $88,000 in 133 theaters (it lost nearly half of its count from last week), now up to $524,000. Ketchup Entertainment's "Linsanity" added 16 theaters (+7) to do $51,500, a more respectable PSA of $3,219. "A.C.O.D." from Film Arcade did $36,100 in 18 (+15) for a PSA just over $2,000.

Other recent openers taking in over $50,000 for the weekend include "Metallica Through the Never" (Picturehouse) - $204,000 in 289 theaters (-300), total $3,168,000; Radius/Weinstein's doc "Inequality for All" -  $153,000 in 80 (+39), now $558,000; "Generation Iron" (Vladar), $75,000 in 34 (-36), total $631,400. Sony Pictures Classic's "Wadjda" is holding up best among this group, with another $109,000 in 47 theaters (+3), with its gross down only slightly for a total of $619,000. Best of the year so far "Blue Jasmine" (excluding "Instructions Not Included) from SPC is wrapping up its run, another $221,000 in 190, now at $31,663,000 total.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.