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Arthouse Audit: VOD Vet 'John Dies at the End' Scores, 'Quartet' Builds

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood January 27, 2013 at 4:19PM

The contrast between the fevered buying at the just completed Sundance and the pace of business, particularly for new openings, at specialized theaters was fairly stark this weekend. Among those new films reporting grosses, each opened in only one city (two in New York, one in Los Angeles), all getting a least some sampling among initial viewers.

A very nice expansion for this British senior citizen comedy/drama starring Maggie Smith and a slew of other veterans, with a PSA nearly as good as that of "Amour" in more than twice as many theaters. That suggests significant appeal for this film, the first real breakout specialized success for Weinstein since "Intouchables" last summer.

That doesn't mean it's showing the same level of appeal of last year's "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (the PSA for "Hotel" at a similar theater count was more than double, and then with very strong word of mouth played for months). But considering the lack of any awards attention and a lot of other adult-appeal films still competing, this is a more than respectable performance so far.

What comes next: These numbers will encourage Weinstein to expand this much further, more so with the relative lack of new adult-oriented films while the Oscar contenders lose steam.

"The Impossible" (Lionsgate) - Week 6

$1,980,000 in 782 theaters (-104); PSA: $2,582; Cumulative: $13,342,000

Declining in theaters, but with a PSA that is only off 10%, this Spanish-made tsunami story with Naomi Watts' Oscar nomination as a draw continues to amass a decent gross. Along with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," this is the second consecutive success from the Summit division at Lionsgate to find success without the expense of a wide-release marketing campaign.

What comes next: While these numbers have been steady, the worldwide gross is now over $100 milliion, with more than half now coming from outside its native Spain.

"Amour" (Sony Pictures Classics) - Week 6

$481,000 in 64 theaters (+28); PSA: $7,516; Cumulative: $1,815,000

This solid expansion, though still slow, keeps "Amour" consistent with its successful pattern so far. It continues to perform ahead of last year's Oscar Foreign Language winner (at the same point also just a nominee) "A Separation," which after its win ended up with a $7 milliion gross. This has more nominations, with a chance of winning more, but already this has become one of the more successful recent subtitled releases.

What comes next: Michael Haneke remains a more difficult director for even some of potential viewers, and this hardly has the more general audience appeal of "Intouchables," also French and the biggest recent foreign language film. Whether this exceeds that film's gross will depend on SPC's willingness to broaden the run (with the advertising required) to theaters that normally might not play a film like this as well of course as its possible Oscar success. But so far, it is performing every bit as well as might be expected, with much more gross yet to come.

Other films (gross + total)

"Hyde Park on Hudson" (Focus - Week 8)                          - $249,000/$5,280,000

"Rust and Bone" (Sony Pictures Classics - Week 10)          - $128,000/$1,709,000

"Anna Karenina" (Focus - Week 9)                                       - $103,000/$12,405,000

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Lionsgate - Week 19)   - $31,000/$17,715,000

"West of Memphis" (Sony Pictures Classics - Week 5)         - $22,900/$82,800

"LUV" (Indomina - Week 2)                                                     - $18,000/$137,000

This article is related to: Quartet, John Dies at the End, Box Office, Box Office, Box Office

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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.