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Arthouse Audit: All Quiet on the New Opener Front

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood September 30, 2012 at 3:34PM

Following two weeks with outstanding new limited openings of anticipated Toronto premieres, this week offered only one new opening -- Film Arcade's "The Other Dream Team" -- with any traction in the market. At least ten other films opening in significant specialized theaters didn't even report grosses, suggesting very little business.

Richard Gere and Brit Marling in "Arbitrage"
Richard Gere and Brit Marling in "Arbitrage"
"Arbitrage" (Roadside Attactions) - Week 3; also available on Video on Demand

$923,000 in 256 theaters (+12); PSA: $3,600; Cumulative: $5,164,000

Holding well (the PSA was down only a quarter even with some added theaters) and now almost even with the total gross for the similarly released "Margin Call" last year, this shows no signs of slowing down.

What it means: The VOD means that it won't go much wider, but this likely ends up grossing above what Roadside's "Friends With Kids" - with no simultanrous VOD - did earlier this year. Attention will be paid to that.

"Liberal Arts" (IFC) - Week 3; also available on Video on Demand

$49,600 in 31 theaters (+11); PSA: $1,600; Cumulative: $160,000

Josh Radnor's Sundance film stays consistent at its modest level as it expands further.

What it means: Not likely to add a lot more, with VOD the main platform now.

"Detropia" (LoKi) - Week 4

$28,050 in 11 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $2,550; Cumulative: $179,000

Continuing its steady modest run, this Detroit-set doc added the Bay Area this weekend as this self-distributed film (by the directors) makes its way to more big cities.

What it means: Los Angeles comes on board this week.

"Hello, I Must Be Going" (Oscilloscope) - Week 4

$9,545 in 11 theaters (-4); PSA: $904; Cumulative: $84,990

Little traction for this comedy - the total gross is under what the PSA was for its initial two theaters.

What it means: Limited ongoing interest for this.

"For a Good Time, Call..." (Focus) - Week 5

$52,123 in 84 theaters (-21); PSA: $620; Cumulative: $1,211,000

Dropping fast, and now facing much strong female-centric films in the market.

What it means: Just about done.

"Sleepwalk With Me" (IFC) - Week 6; also available on Video on Demand

$165,100 in 127 theaters (-8); PSA: $1,300; Cumulative: $1,890,000

In decline now after its initial strong performance pre-VOD.

What it means: This will still be one of the top grossing early VOD release films this year.

"Samsara" (Oscilloscope) - Week 6

$153,695 in 60 theaters (+1); PSA: $2,562; Cumulative: $1,400,000

A modest PSA drop as this carefully nurtured visual epic continues to perform well.

What it means: This will continue to play for some time.

"Robot and Frank" (IDP) - Week 7

$111,000 in 111 theaters (-45); PSA: $1,000; Cumulative: $3,076,000

Passing the $3 million mark without ever having gone close to wide, this still has a way to go before it's done.

What it means: Of the nine films in the Sundance 2012 "Premiere" section that have opened, only "Arbitrage" has grossed more.

"Searching for Sugar Man" (Sony Pictures Classics) - Week 10

$96,649 in 37 theaters (-1); PSA: $2,612; Cumulative: $1,320,000

The PSA actually improved this week, a further sign of steady positive reaction to this doc, now in its third month.

What it means: At some point, this will run out of steam, but it seems to have life left in it still.

"Intouchables" (Weinstein) - Week 18

$139,000 in 121 theaters (-35); PSA: $1,149; Cumulative: $12,475,000

And the beat goes on. This has now outlasted both "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Beasts of the Southern Wild," outgrossing the latter.

What it means: In length of run, if not total gross (though that is impressive for a specialized film, let alone a subtitled one), this is turning into 2012's "Midnight in Paris."

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

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Thompson on Hollywood

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.