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Behind Weinsteins' Three Weekend Winners: Surprising 'Snowpiercer,' 'Begin Again' & 'Yves St. Laurent'

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood June 29, 2014 at 4:29PM

This weekend belongs to The Weinstein Company, which opened three films: John Carney's original musical "Begin Again," Radius's rave-reviewed Bong Joon-ho actioner "Snowpiercer," and fashion biopic "Yves St. Laurent." Could TWC have done even better with "Snowpiercer"?
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"L'Amour Fou."
"L'Amour Fou."


"Yves Saint Laurent" (Weinstein) - Criticwire: C+; Metacritic: 49; Festivals include: Berlin, San Francisco, Seattle 2014

$24,502 in 2 theaters; PSA: $12,251

The first of two biopics about the iconic fashion designer (Sony Classics has recent Cannes competition film "Saint Laurent" to go later this year; IFC released the doc "L'amour fou" in 2011 to minor results), this opened last Wednesday at exclusive New York (Film Forum) and Los Angeles (Landmark) runs (five-day total: $36,000). Considering in particular the mediocre reviews (very unusual for the Film Forum, whose films usually elicit strong critical response), this is an adequate result. It suggests at least some interest in the subject (easy to sell to those interested in fashion, others not so much).

What comes next: TWC anticipates this to be a targeted arthouse release over the summer, but without much crossover.

"America" (Lionsgate) - Criticwire: C-

$39,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $13,000

Two years ago "2016: Obama's America" shocked the industry by grossing $33 million despite having only a minor independent (Utah-based Rocky Mountain Films) as its distributor. This new film, from the same director Dinesh D'Souza (along with a "Schindler's List" producer), is meant to be a retelling of U.S. history from a right-wing perspective, with a polemic slant about how far off the original path we've gone. Lionsgate came on board as distributor, with this opening well initially in three Houston and Atlanta theaters in advance of its wider release on Wednesday. (D'Souza, a well known conservative writer and commentator, also has been in the news recently with his federal guilty plea bargain deal over illegal campaign contributions.)

What comes next: 1,000 theaters are opening this next week.

"Whitey: The United States of America Vs. James J. Bulger" (Magnolia) - Criticwire: A-; Metacritic: 72; Festivals include: Sundance 2014; also available on Video on Demand.

$14,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $4,667

This was acquired by Magnolia along with CNN Films (the latter will show a shorter version of this later this year) at Sundance, where it played in the U.S. Documentary Competition. With its Boston crime legend focus, it not surprisingly opened in two theaters in that area as well as New York. Despite good reviews, the response looks spotty, at least theatrically. Apart from CNN down the line, this might have better prospects on ITunes and elsewhere.

What comes next: The theatrical end of the release continues with Los Angeles this week.

Also opening:

Three other new films reported grosses. China Lion's "The Break Up Guru," concurrent with its wide release in China, amassed $67,000 in 12 theaters across the country. Sundance doc competitor "The Internet's Own Boy" (FilmBuff/Participant), also on VOD, took in $24,301 in 12. "Siddharth," an Indian-made film from a Canadian director, managed $4,500 in 1 New York theater.

Ongoing/expanding

The standout among recent releases remains "The Obvious Child" (A24), which added another $556,000 in 196 (+141) in its third weekend (total so far $1,285,000). This puts it roughly better than half of recent success "Belle" at the same point of the run. This appears to have some, but limited, crossover potential, with room to grow but not likely be a breakout success.

The top gross among second weekers is Paul Haggis' "Third Person" with $80,700 in 18 (+13, PSA $4,483). This is a slight relative improvement in expansion from its weak limited opening, but still looks unimpressive. "Le Chef" (Cohen) grossed a minor $34,800 in 19 (+18, PSA $1,832). Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur" (IFC, also on VOD) did $28,000 in 10 (+8, PSA $2,800). Code Black's medical doc "Code Black" had the most impressive PSA ($10,350) with $21,700 in two. Also showing modest interest is the first U.S. release of Eric Rohmer's "A Summer's Tale" (Big World) with $11,000 in 2.

The rest of the initially limited films still grossing $50,000 or over:

"Chef" (Open Road) Week 8 - $1,654,000 in 801 theaters (-160); Total $19,410,000

"Ida" (Music Box) Week - $248,000 in 127 theaters (-6); Total $2,472,000

"Belle" (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 - $241,000 in 175 theaters (-); Total $9,641,000

"The Rover"
(A24) Week 3 - $100,596 in 247 theaters (-361); Total $979,900

"Belle"
(Fox Searchlight) Week 9 - $241,000 in 175 theaters (-69); Total $9,641,000

"Words and Pictures"
(Roadside Attractions) Week 6 - $135,000 in 105 theaters (-70); Total $1,701,000

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
(Fox Searchlight) Week 17 - $120,000 in 90 (-22) theaters; Total $58,550,000

"The Signal"
(Focus) Week 3 - $67,000 in 180 theaters (-24); Total $553,000




This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Arthouse Audit, Snowpiercer, Begin Again, Weinsteins, Harvey Weinstein, Weinstein Co., The Weinstein Co., The Weinstein Company, RADiUS-TWC, Joon-ho Bong, Joon-ho Bong, Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley


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