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

Box Office
by Tom Brueggemann
November 18, 2012 4:16 PM
3 Comments
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'A Late Quartet'
What comes next: Focus opens a few more markets this week, then expands November 30. And with both Knightley and possibly several craft categories as potential Oscar nominees, this should remain in view for some time going forward at a minimum.

“Price Check” (IFC) – Metacritic score: 65; Festivals include: Sundance 2012, Provincetown 2012; also available on Video on Demand
$2,300 in 1 theaters; PSA: $2,300

Parker Posey stars in this comedy-drama as a supermarket chain executive training a male employee for a new position. It premiered at Sundance, and is now getting minimal theatrical release after weeks on VOD.

What comes next: LA opens this week, but theatrical exposure will be limited.

Expanding/ongoing

“Chasing Ice” (Submarine Deluxe) – Week 2
$83,000 in 10 theaters (+9); PSA: $8,300; Cumulative: $107,000

Successfully jumping from its strong NY opening last week to other cities, this Sundance-premiere climate change doc with a twist (a visual study of the beauty of the Arctic ice as it collapses) showed real strength.

What comes next: These grosses are strong enough for Submarine Deluxe to find its footing despite the current tough market.

“The Comedy” (Tribeca) – Week 2; also available on Video on Demand
$13,200 in 1 theater (unchanged); PSA: $13,200; Cumulative: $21,200

Comedian Tim Heidecker, joined by the film’s director, appeared at Brooklyn’s BAM Cinemas over the weekend to boost this film to a decent gross (and at the high end for a NY non-Manhattan exclusive). Though on a much smaller scale than Mike Birbiglia’s hit “Sleepwalk With Me,” this is another example of grassroots, appearance-backed promotions that are becoming more common. (This was done last week in LA).

What comes next: Other big cities are slated to open over the next few weeks, but VOD seems like the major venue.

“28 Hotel Rooms” (Oscilloscope) – Week 2; also available on Video on Demand
$4,000 in 3 theaters (+2); PSA: $1,333; Cumulative: $6,400

This Sundance-premiering drama about a recurrent series of one night stands in various cities starring Chris Messina and Marin Ireland opened in NY this week after its LA debut previously.

What comes next: Once again, VOD is its main home.

“A Late Quartet” (EOne) – Week 3
$160,000 in 100 theaters (+38); PSA:  $1,600; Cumulative: $533,000

Doggedly hanging in there despite the heavy competition, this Christopher Walken/Philip Seymour Hoffman drama continues to do average but credible business as it expands again.

What comes next: The going won’t get any easier, but EOne is getting this played off and adding gross despite this.

“This Must Be the Place” (Weinstein) – Week 3
$23,900 in 15 theaters (+4); PSA: 1,593; Cumulative: $83,500

Not improving on its low-level performance this week, despite having Sean Penn and Frances MacDormand in the leads.

What comes next: Tough to see this expanding much with all the other alternatives for theaters at the moment.

“The Other Son” (Cohen) – Week 4
$84,700 in 52 theaters (-1); PSA: $1,629; Cumulative: $670,000

Down from its higher level last week, this Israeli drama still is adding gross as Cohen looks like they will pass $1 million for another subtitled film in a very tough market.

What comes next: Likely keeping near this amount of theaters for the upcoming weeks will help, with Israeli films often playing in theaters that search out them later in their runs.

“The Sessions” (Fox Searchlight) – Week 5
$900,000 in 516 theaters (+388); PSA: $1,744; Cumulative: $2,803,000

This is a prime example of a specialized film with loads of potential (building from festival exposure, solid reviews and awards expectations) getting whipsawed by the amount of alternatives for its core audience. The gross total as of now is respectable enough, and this has quite some way to go. But this coud be faring much better if adults didn’t have so many alternatives, particularly among the wide releases.

This now has gone far wider than Fox Searchlight took “Beast of the Southern Wide” earlier this year, which, though with potentially a harder path to reach audiences, gained from having little competition.  In its fourth weekend, having reached only the 129 theater level, this had grossed just about the same total. It is hard to imagine that had the release dates been switched that it would have fared nearly so well.

What comes next: With many regarding actors John Hawkes and Helen Hunt as being not only likely nominees but also possible winners, it is vital that Searchlight keep this going at least in the major cities through the holidays and beyond.

Other grosses

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Lionsgate) - $635,000 in 511 theaters; Cumulative: $15,622,000
“Searching for Sugar Man” (Sony Pictures Classics) - $65,400 in 54 theaters; Cumulative: $2,680,000
“Arbitrage” (Roadside Attractions) - $52,600 in 81 theaters; Cumulative: $7,760,000
“The Master” (Weinstein) - $51,000 in 52 theaters; Cumulative: $15,790,000
“Holy Motors” (Indomina) - $48,600 in 23 theaters; Cumulative: $193,000
“The Flat” (IFC) - $37,500 in 27 theaters; Cumulative:  $310,000

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3 Comments

  • sherlockjr | November 19, 2012 6:42 PMReply

    A lot of art houses, Landmark types and indies had SILVER LININGS booked as their major Thanksgiving holiday attraction and then TWC suddenly pulled it. They have a history of this going back to Miramax days. Their reasons usually are correct for a distributor's purpose but come so late they leave theaters scrambling for something to show in this important playtime. We hope that our Thanksgiving picture will play solidly up to or possibly through the end of year holidays and this kind of situation can be financially disastrous for a small theater. A megaplex can survive losing a film like this that they were going to show in a modest sized auditorium anyway------just add a screen of a big film or hold over a decent grosser.

    But the independent has been working hard to promote a solid opening in hopes of doing well. And then suddenly what do they say to their audiences who are confused and intent on seeing the movie...and they may go to the commercial venue that did open it.

  • axtab | November 18, 2012 4:31 PMReply

    Anne: any sense if the philadelphia grosses -- which should have been strong given that it was filmed there -- were hurt by opening the film in the less-than-ideal united artists/regal riverview versus the more prestigious ritz theaters, which TWC normally engages to platform their speciality films/oscar bait?

  • Tom Brueggemann | November 19, 2012 12:10 AM

    Axtab -
    I don't know the specific grosses at the Regal theater. My guess is that a number of factors may have been involved in Weinstein's choice, including that they in the initial theaters nationally were going for a mix of specialized and more commercial theaters, and that in Philly, with all the local attention, they had a chance to draw a wider audience initially. It's also possible that, again, because of the local connection, they are going to go wider more quickly, rather than limit the surrounding runs, and take theaters right away that normally don't play at the same time as the Ritzes.
    On a personal note, this situation intrigues me - before Landmark bought the Ritzes, I was the film buyer for them for a couple years, and the ongoing battle with Regal for similar films was constant. If I were the current buyer, I'd be very frustrated by this, especially with the local filming (it seemed to me a couple of scenes were shot right by their theaters). But distributors at this level try to make the correct decision, and more often than not get it right. But sometimes it can seem like a mystery. In the specific circumstances here, I'm not sure what the results were, so I can't say for certain if it was the "right" thing. I do suspect though that if it were at one of the Ritzes, it likely would have been guaranteed to play for months.

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