Arthouse Audit: 'Moonrise Kingdom' Conquers More Box Office; Specialized Success of The Year

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
June 3, 2012 2:55 PM
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'Moonrise Kingdom'
The news this week is in the expanding films. Two huge hits-- a phenomenal second week for Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and more success for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"-- joined with two other decently grossing expansions-- "Intouchables" and "Bernie"-- to provide an even better early June than last year, when "Midnight in Paris" and "The Tree of Life" broadened out.

On the other hand, the new openings were among the weakest in a long-time, with only animated "A Cat in Paris" earning significant grosses (but not stand-out) and doc "Five Broken Cameras" also doing good business in its exclusive NY run.

Opening

"A Cat in Paris" (GKids) - Metacritic score: 62; Festivals include: Berlin 11, San Francisco 11

$36,133 in 6 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $6,012

Opening not only in NY and LA but also the Bay area and San Diego (following an unadvertised one-week LA run, which qualified it for a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination last year), "A Cat in Paris" grossed at equivalent levels to GKids' other nominee -- "Chico and Rita" -- when it expanded to five theaters. The latter, which opened better in NY, managed to reach $350,000. A bit more kid-friendly ("Chico" had some explicit content), this one could end up doing more.

What it means:   This will get enough exposure (among others, Landmark Theaters has this heavily booked currently and in upcoming weeks) which, combined with its English-language dubbing will position this for interest down the line on DVD and cable.

"Five Broken Cameras" (Kino Lorber) - Metacritic score: none; Festivals include: IFDA 11, Sundance 12

$6,500 (estimated) in 1 theater; PSA: $6,500

This Palestinian-themed documentary opened at NY's Film Forum last Wednesday with a solid NYTimes' review, resulting in a decent gross for this theater so far.

What it means:  More likely a niche/calendar film at selected theaters than broader as some other recent documentaries have managed.

"Pink Ribbons, Inc." (First Run) - Metacritic score: 66; Festivals include: Toronto 11, Santa Barbara 12, Portland 12

$3,000 (estimated) in 3 theaters; PSA: $1,000

Weak response to this documentary about breast cancer charities in its NY/LA openings.

What it means:  Limited theatrical life ahead.

"Hide Away" (MMC Joule) - Metacritic score: 34; Festivals include: South by Southwest 11, Heartland 11; also available on Video on Demand

$15,633 in 5 theaters; PSA: $3,133

After playing at festivals as "A Year in Mooring," this saga of a businessman who takes up sailing in response to life crises comes from director Chris Eyre ("Smoke Signals"), opened with a new title. Already having played on VOD for some time, this limited release will bring more attention to those showings. The grosses, considering the reviews, are about as good as could be expected.

What it means:   Limited future theatrical play.

Expanding/continuing

"Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus) - Week 2

$849,000 in 16 theaters (+12); PSA: $53,043 ; Cumulative: $1,463,000

Adding a handful of new cities while staying platform in NY/LA, these are about the best second-week grosses ever seen. They are nearly double both the impressive expansion for "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" last December, which was quite strong, and also the PSA for "Marigold Hotel" its opening weekend at 27, and strongly ahead of "The Tree of Life" in its second week. "Moonrise Kingdom" is the specialized success of the year and marks specialized film's best second week ever. Superlatives get tossed around a lot in box office coverage, but these numbers so far deserve to be called unprecedented.

What it means:   It remains premature to guess where this ends up and how wide this acclaimed film's appeal is with broader audiences. But most films reveal on their second weekend whether they won't live up to their openings ("The Tree of Life" as a prime example). Thus "Moonrise Kingdom" looks to have huge potential. Even taking higher ticket prices into account, this ranks as the best of non-year-end/awards season platform/limited releases. If these grosses were in December, they'd signify a leading Oscar contender. ("The Artist" hit 16 theaters its third weekend, with a PSA a third as big). For now, this very popular film boasts growing appeal and break-out potential.

"Intouchables" (Weinstein) - Week 2

$350,000 in 50 theaters (+46); PSA: $7,000 ; Cumulative: $517,000

With many reviews in new cities continuing to prove not-friendly, these grosses are good enough to allow for this French world-wide smash to build down the line. The PSA is less than a quarter of what "Midnight in Paris" did when it first hit 50 screens (also its second week) -- it did $33,000 on its way to becoming Woody Allen's most successful film in decades, so this has a way to go to become more than just a small-scale specialized success.

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