By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood October 28, 2012 at 4:27PM
"The Loneliest Planet" led the underwhelming new specialized films this weekend, as "The Sessions" showed continuing strength in its second-week expansion. Otherwise business was on the low side even for the normally deemphasized pre-Halloween playtime. "The Other Son" showed some initial action in an unusual wider release.
Continued competition from "Argo" and "Cloud Atlas" (both getting the bulk of their business from older audiences) continues to make it tougher to lure specialized audiences.
"The Loneliest Planet" (IFC) - Metacritic score: 78; Film festivals include: Locarno 11, Toronto 11, NY 11, AFI 11; Video on Demand starts on Tuesday
$20,400 in 2 theaters; PSA (Per screen average): $10,200
A year after the Gotham best feature nominee's festival showings, this story about a young couple hiking in remote Asia in the Georgian mountains starring Gael Garcia Bernal opened in two NY/LA theaters with strong reviews and the best PSA for the weekend.
What comes next: Expansion to other cities, but the usual IFC VOD availability likely will be its main venue.
"The Other Son" (Cohen) - Metacritic score: 62; Film festivals include: Ales 12, San Francisco Jewish 12
$125,000 in 41 theaters; PSA: $3,049
Unusually wide release for a subtitled film, to OK if not spectacular results. This French film tells the story of two adoptees =- one Jewish, one Moslem -= who learn years later they were switched at birth and are not who they think they are.
"Pusher" (Weinstein) - Metacritic score: 52; Film festivals include: Edinburgh 12, Galway 12, Toronto 12; also available on Video on Demand
$5,040 in 14 theaters; PSA: $360
This English-language British remake of a Danish thriller with a Spanish director this time around is the lowest grossing yet of the day and date VOD and theater releases from Weinstein's Radius division.
What comes next: VOD is its home for now.
What comes next: Cohen Releasing continues to remain committed to foreign language film at a time when audience interest in most of them is lagging. Reaching out to a wider audience initially looks like an enterprising decision that, combined with good initial reaction, could push this to a higher gross than most similar releases.
"The Revisionaries" (Kino Lorber) - Metacritic score:; Film festivals include: Tribeca 12, Hot Docs 12
$5,000 in 1 theater; PSA: $5,000
This documentary about the fierce struggle to keep Texas schooltexts (and thus the country's) from being totally slanted to right-wing ideology opened to a modest gross at NY's Elinor Bunin Munroe Center, after actually having a couple of earlier dates in the state in which it takes place.
What comes next: Kino Lorber will expand this to other cities ahead, and otherwise await the announcement of the Oscar doc semifinalists.
"The Sessions" (Fox Searchlight) - Week 2
$231,000 in 20 theaters (+16); PSA: $11,550; Cumulative: $390,000
Falling somewhere between "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" in PSA for a second week widening of a specialized release, these are respectable if not spectacular grosses for this awards hopeful. Reviews remain strong in new cities -- the Metacritic score is now at a very strong 80. Considering external factors this weekend, plus likely initial audience resistance to the handicapped man/sex surrogate story line, it's still an encouraging start, and certainly the strongest new release over the last few weeks.
What comes next: Whether this film can reach the "Beasts" total of over $11 million is going to depend on word of mouth and its award trajectory, although it is weeks until the first kudos are announced.