Arthouse Audit: 'Afternoon Delight' Opens Well

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
September 1, 2013 4:25 PM
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Zhang Ziyi in "The Grandmaster"

Going into this weekend, there was a lot of speculation about how a wider release foreign language film would do. It turns out one not as anticipated, the Mexican comedy "Instructions Not Included" (Pantaleon/Lionsgate), ended up as the big success, hitting #5 and $7.5 million at only 347 theaters reaching a staggering $21,000 per screen average.

The subtitled release that gained far more interest, Weinstein's "The Grandmaster" from director Wong Kar-wai, did a much more modest $2.5 million in 742 theaters (PSA $3,266) after opening decently in three cities last week. Aiming at a martial arts/action audience not normally interested in subtitles ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is the exception that proves the rule), its $2.6 million total is already close to the top gross for any of the Hong Kong director's previous releases in the U.S. (At $58 million worldwide it is already the director's top film overall.)

The other major expansion this week was A24's "The Spectacular Now," which grossed $1,045,000 in 385 theaters (+231) for a total of just under $3.4 million. This looks headed toward a potentially substantially higher gross, with more theaters available in upcoming weeks and some signs of wider interest.

Sony Pictures Classics' "Blue Jasmine" held very well in its second wide week, actually holding steady in gross despite losing 104 theaters ($4 million in 1,179) for a total to date of $20.5 million, again about 3/4s of where "Midnight in Paris" did at the same point of its run.It fell out of the top 10 with bigger competition this weekend, but continues its very strong performance.

Cinedigm's "Short Term 12" added 12 theaters to gross $94,000 in 16 (PSA $5,800), not great but continuing to do well enough to ensure holdovers and more expansion. Also in its second week, MPI's "Therese" took in only $20,000 in 8 (+2). Roadside Attractions "In a World" jumped to 97 theaters (+17), adding another $329,000 to near $1.2 million so far.

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