"Killer Joe" (LD) - Metacritic score: 59; Festivals include: Venice 11, Toronto 11, South by Southwest 12, Seattle 12
$37,864 in 3 theaters; PSA: $12,621
Playing at three great NY theaters, William Friedkin's NC-17 crime film had weak reviews, which likely led to its adequate but not spectacular weekend gross.
What it means: This rating is mainly for the violence, which might have scared some of the public off. New openings in five more cities next week at key specialized and crossover theaters will indicate if the wariness will be an ongoing issue.
"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" (IFC) - Metacritic score: 80; Festivals include: Sundance 12, Berlin 12, San Francisco 12
$45,000 in 5 theaters; PSA: $9,000
Opening in three cities (San Francisco and DC join NY), this part-art scene, part-political repression in contemporary China documentary had the best reviews of any new film this week. The result is a decent enough gross, although below some other 2012 docs, including from IFC, which has thrived with similar films recently.
What it means: This is good enough to encourage specialized exhibitor interest ahead and a chance to build where it is playing already.
"Klown" (Drafthouse) - Metacritic score: 64; Festivals include: Fantastic 11, Wisconsin 12, Seattle 12; also available on Video on Demand
$17,890 in theaters; PSA: $5,963
Opening in non-prime NY & LA theaters as well as Drafthouse's own Austin location, this Danish comedy (based on a TV series whose episodes included a Lars von Trier contribution) did an adequate amount of business.
What it means: The VOD parallel availability will limit this, but further big city openings are planned for upcoming weeks.
"The Queen of Versailles" (Magnolia) - Week 2
$138,000 in 23 (+20) theaters; PSA: $6,000; Cumulative: $223,097
Fairly good (and rapid) expansion for this zeitgeist appropriate documentary. These numbers guarantee ongoing theatrical interest over the next several weeks.
What it means: This documentary should benefit from good word of mouth as more audiences see it.