Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? Charles Aidikoff Screening Room Shutters: End of an Era for LA Critics? How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans How HBO's 'Ballers' Fails Sports Fans Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project 'Where to Invade Next' on Periscope Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Top 10 Takeaways: Holdover 'Ant-Man' Tops Blah Week, Summer Slot for 'Southpaw' Pays Off Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Arthouse Audit: New Releases Led by 'Ruby Sparks' Are Hurt By Olympics

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood July 29, 2012 at 2:41PM

Four years ago at the 2008 Olympics opening, specialized distributors avoided the date like the plague for new releases. This year, several anticipated films opened--and none showed strength consistent with what has been a robust late spring/summer. As the games tend to appeal to older audiences, this is not particularly surprising.
0
Ruby Sparks I

Four years ago at the 2008 Olympics opening, specialized distributors avoided the date like the plague for new releases. This year, several anticipated films opened--and none showed strength consistent with what has been a robust late spring/summer. As the games tend to appeal to older audiences, this is not particularly surprising. And the new films also wound up dividing the diminished audience, so that the Olympics had an impact across the board. Among the new releases, "Ruby Sparks" (in five cities), "Ai Weiwei (in four) and "Killer Joe" (New York only) led the way.

Among the wider releases, recent successes held more consistently against the Olympics, which hit harder on the newbies.

Opening

"Ruby Sparks" (Fox Searchlight) - Metacritic score: 67; Festivals include: Los Angeles 12

$151,881 in 13 theaters; PSA (per screen average): $11,683

In a summer which has seen several surprisingly strong specialized openings, this second film from the directors of "Little Miss Sunshine" fell somewhat short. Opening last Wednesday to get the jump on the Olympics didn't help -- the grosses for those two days were even less impressive than their just-OK weekend numbers. The PSA was reduced somewhat by opening in three other cities beside the usual NY/LA, but ithe filmplayed at top-of-th-line theaters everywhere.

What it means: Word of mouth -- which propelled "Little Miss Sunshine" to significant, long-term success -- will have to kick in for this to begin to resemble their previous hit. This also reminds that films dealing with 20-something/early-30 romance are not crossing over to the older audience that has been flocking to several other recent releases.

"Searching for Sugar Man" (Sony Pictures Classics) - Metacritic score: 75; Festivals include: Sundance 12, South by Southwest 12, Tribeca 12, Los Angeles 12, Karoly Vary 12

$28,533 in 3 theaters; PSA: $9,511

Documentaries profiling a diverse range of creative figures have thrived of late (including "Pina" and "Jiro Dreams of Sushi"), so the expectations have ratcheted higher for this acclaimed story about a missing 1970s musician who found fame half a world away with no sign of his even being alive. With strong reviews and great theater placement, the gross was at best OK (only a bit more than half of "The Queen of Versailles" last weekend).

What it means: An Olympics impact? To some extent. But this is one film that could plateau and then thrive based on terrific audience reaction, and as usual Sony Pictures Classics will make sure they play at whatever theaters it should to help maximize the gross.

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


E-Mail Updates








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.