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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.

"Intouchables" (Weinstein) - Week 10

$512,000 in 194 theaters (+103); PSA: $2,639; Cumulative: $4,782,000

More than doubling the theaters (while still not going wide), the OK PSA fell only about 20% from last week's smaller run count. That is consistent with the steady performance overall of this worldwide French smash here in the US, and suggests that a lot of gross is still out there for this ahead.

What this means: Without the advantage of an Oscar win and great reviews that "A Separation" had, this looks like it could still eventually outgross the Iranian hit, and possibly without ever playing as many theaters at its widest point.

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight) - Week 5

$914,000 in 208 theaters (+79); PSA: $4,394; Cumulative: $4,195,000

With nearly 40% more theaters this week, the PSA fell only about a quarter, a decent hold under normal conditions, more so with the Olympics.

What it means: Fox Searchlight's slow, careful expansion continues to maximize the potential for this acclaimed but still very specialized film.

"Farewell My Queen" (Cohen Media) - Week 3

$133,000 in 33 (+22) theaters; PSA: $4,030; Cumulative: $370,000

A big increase in theaters translated to a solid wider performance for this French period bodice-ripper.

What it means: Perfectly timed leading up to the acquisitions-rich September festivals, Cohen Media has its first significant specialized hit.

"Trishna" (IFC/Sundance Selects) - Week 3; also available on Video on Demand

$51,800 in 37 theaters (+21); PSA: $1,400; Cumulative: $160,000

More than doubling its theaters while VOD play competes, this continues to provide low-level if steady grosses around the country.

What it means: This won't expand lot further.

"The Well Diggers Daughter" (Kino Lorber) - Week 2

$34,000 in 11 theaters (+9); PSA: $3,777; Cumulative: $52,000

Actor-director Daniel Autieul's French rural drama added several new cities to NY, providing an adequate boost to its total so far.

What it means: A further gradual expansion will keep this on the radar in upcoming weeks.

"Easy Money" (Weinstein) - Week 3

$22,500 in 5 theaters (+3); PSA: $4,500; Cumulative: $84,100

Still playing with less noise than most Weinstein releases, this well-reviewed Swedish crime film expanded a bit to average grosses.

What it means: Expect similar results ahead as this moves into more big cities.

"Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus) - Week 10

$1,387,000 in theaters; PSA: $1,626; Cumulative: $38,296,000

A modest drop in the PSA, yet another top ten placement, this keeps on adding to its already impressive total

What it means: At this point, it likely falls just short of the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (as that film keeps adding gross), but still a major success.

"To Rome With Love" (Sony Classics) - Week 6

$1,015,636 in 492 theaters (-60); PSA: $2,064; Cumulative: $12,925,000

Despite a theater count drop, the PSA only fell 28%, very credible at the point of the run, more so with the Olympic competition.

What it means: Though this hasn't shown close to the draw of "Midnight in Paris," core Woody Allen fans continue to seek out the film.

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

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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.