Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office 6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office Friday Box Office: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Takes No Prisoners,  $84.6 Million vs. Rest of Top Ten's $10.2 Million Friday Box Office: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Takes No Prisoners, $84.6 Million vs. Rest of Top Ten's $10.2 Million Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set San Francisco Film Fest: Ian McKellen and Bill Condon Reunite on 'Mr. Holmes' San Francisco Film Fest: Ian McKellen and Bill Condon Reunite on 'Mr. Holmes' Exclusive: Louisiana Film Fest Unveils 2015 Lineup Exclusive: Louisiana Film Fest Unveils 2015 Lineup Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews 'Force Awakens' Star Domhnall Gleeson Joins Blacklisted Tom Cruise Project 'Force Awakens' Star Domhnall Gleeson Joins Blacklisted Tom Cruise Project Tribeca: 8 Highlights from the 'Goodfellas' 25th Anniversary Reunion Tribeca: 8 Highlights from the 'Goodfellas' 25th Anniversary Reunion Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW)

Arthouse Audit: 'Silver Linings' and 'Anna Karenina' Start Steady, Not Stellar

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood November 18, 2012 at 4:16PM

Two anticipated openings dominated art houses this week, as both “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Anna Karenina” launched in multiple cities as part of a strategy to push audience response in advance of wider playoffs. Both faced – as do all limited releases at the moment – massive competition from wider release studio films that are drawing the same target adult audience. Both showed strength despite all the alternative films in play.
3
Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"
Keira Knightley in "Anna Karenina"

Two anticipated openings dominated art houses this week, as both “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Anna Karenina” launched in multiple cities as part of a strategy to push audience response in advance of wider playoffs. Both faced – as do all limited releases at the moment – massive competition from wider release studio films that are drawing the same target adult audience.  Both showed strength despite all the alternative films in play.

And with “Life of Pi” opening wide on Wednesday, followed by Friday limited launches of “Rust and Bone,” “Hitchcock” and “Central Park Five,” the congestion is only going to get more intense.

Opening
“Silver Linings Playbook” (Weinstein) – Metacritic score:  84; Festivals include:  Toronto 2012, Mill Valley 2012, AFI 2012
$458,000 in 16 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $28,625

With rrelease reviews almost as fab as last week’s “Lincoln,” and also opening wider than just the normal NY/LA platform, David O. Russell’s well-received offbeat romantic comedy-drama had a solid initial reaction, although significantly below the Spielberg film (which boasted an $85,000 PSA in 11 theaters).

Weinstein knew from tracking that they would have to build word-of-mouth buzz. These grosses are on below eexpectations but are good enough to launch the film. Having won the People’s Choice Award at Toronto (as did “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Milliionaire”) and screening to great reaction, the film needs to grow upbeat WOM in advance of wider openings. It is not an event film that appeals to review-reading older moviegoers who flock to opening weekends (contributing to much bigger openings for films like “The Master” and “Moonrise Kingdom”). Its appeal is broader and more youth-oriented. The film is not remotely a typical rom-com, but its casting (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as the leads) reinforces a conventional feel that the film far transcends.

It is also facing incredibly strong competition – “Breaking Dawn Part 2” among the younger female audience, and a slew of acclaimed adult-oriented films (led by “Lincoln” in broader release). Weinstein initially planned to go wide next Wednesday with no platform. Instead they decided to open in ten top markets to get the ball rolling, then late last week decided to pull back their expansion from a typically wide Thanksgiving release to a more modest, but still substantial, 400+ theaters. This would seem to come not from concern but faith in the film once the word of mouth begins to spread. This also is consistent for the much more nuanced and careful expansion they’ve given their films, rather than a rapid push out to grab all the gross they can.

What comes next: Setting the film up as a leading Oscar contender, the pressure to catch the right wave is intense. The plan is to gradually increase theaterd through the next few weeks, sustain significant presence through the tough Christmas stretch, then go widest at the peak of the awards/nomination period just after New Years.

“Anna Karenina” (Focus) – Metacritic score: 63; Festivals include: Venice 2012, Toronto 2012
$315,000 in 16 theaters; PSA: $19,688

Fighting the same traffic jam of must-see films as “Silver Linings Playbook” but not benefitting from the same level of reviews (some significant raves, but many more mixed) and also needing to overcome a degree of familiarity with multiple previous versions, this is a decent enough gross. Opening in seven cities (which as usual cuts down the PSA), Focus has at a minimum gotten the initial sampling they needed going into the intense period ahead.

This is the third collaboration between Joe Wright and Keira Knightley, and in some ways the most ambitious in its idiosyncratic treatment of Tolstoy’s novel about adultery among Russian aristocracy. The two previous films had slightly different launches: both were more successful early on. “Pride and Prejudice” in 2005 started off at 214 theaters to just under $3 million as a November release. “Atonement” in 2007 opened at 32 theaters totaling $784,000. Those films went on to domestic totals of $38 and 50 million respectively with clear cross-over appeal and significant Oscar representation.

The film has passionate supporters among those who have seen it already. The trick going forward is to grab the core (more female) audience. Like “Silver Linings Playoff,” this has potential beyond the initial numbers, and the game plan of getting the word started is well under way.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Independents, Anna Karenina, Silver Linings Playbook, The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein


E-Mail Updates