"Butter" (Weinstein) - Metacritic score: 41; Festivals include: Telluride 2011, Toronto 2011, Hamptons 2011, AFI 2011
$70,653 in 90 theaters; PSA: $785; also available on Video on Demand
More than a year after its highly anticipated premiere, this Jennifer Garner/Hugh Jackman satire limped into theaters after nearly a month on VOD. Though well-received initially, with some viewers even suggesting award potential, that chance has long since faded. This weekend's gross (playing in multiple locations) also means little remaining theatrical life.
What it means: Radius, Weinstein's nascent VOD division, is certainly going to have success going forward, but so far they haven't clicked as well as more veteran distribs in this venue in pairing VOD to theatrical success.
"Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare" (Roadside Attractions) - Metacritic score: 67; Festivals include: Sundance 2012, Newport Beach 2012, Provincetown 2012 ; also available on ITunes and Video on Demand
$25,956 in 12 theaters:; PSA: $2,163
One of the many acclaimed Sundance docs in the mix for awards this year, this film's cause was helped by strong publicity and decent reviews in big cities, although the same day VOD release and serious subject matter will limit its theatrical playoff.
What it means: Even more than "Waiting for 'Superman'" was for public education, this film could be a key document in any discussion of the American health system.
"The House I Live In" (Abramorama) - Metacritic score: 73; Festivals include: Sundance 2012, Los Angeles 2012
$19,654 in 2 theaters:; PSA: $9,827
Opening in NY, this acclaimed doc about drug prohibition in the US did far better than "The Other Dream Team" last week, with two great theaters leading to a very good gross for a tough issue film.
What it means: This gross will increase interest beyond the big cities where it is already booked.
"V/H/S" (Magnolia) - Metacritic score: 54; Festivals include: Sundance 2012, South by Southwest 2012, Seattle 2012; also available on Video on Demand
A multi-director omnibus horror film from the Midnight section of this year's Sundance, the theatrical opening comes after several weeks already on VOD, with mixed at best grosses.
What it means: This multi-city opening will draw more attention to VOD going into Halloween.
"The Oranges" (IDP) - Metacritic score: 47; Festivals include: Toronto 2011, Indianapolis 2012, Montclair 2012
$180,000 in 110 theaters; PSA: $1,636
Acquired by ATO at Toronto 2011, then distributed with its partner IDP a year later, the much wider than usual release for this multi-star rom-com led by Hugh Laurie failed to gain much audience despite significant marketing. The older man sleeping with neighbor friend's daughter scenario may have been a turn-off.
What it means: The PSA for this is about 15% of what "Perks of Being a Wallflower" had last weekend at a similar number of theaters, so any much wider expansion seems unlikely.