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Arthouse Audit: Self-Distributed 'Upstream Color' Shines in NY; 'Trance' & 'Company You Keep' Solid, Not Great

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 7, 2013 at 4:28PM

Three new openings showed potential this weekend. In its exclusive New York date, Shane Carruth's self-distributed "Upstream Color" broke new ground as an alternative to the others' more conventional releases. The other two more expensive films directed by past Oscar director winners, Danny Boyle's "Trance" and Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep," managed to overcome mixed reviews to decent results.

Place Beyond the Pines, Gosling Mendes
Place Beyond the Pines, Gosling Mendes
"No Place on Earth" (Magnolia) - Criticwire Grade: B-; Metacritic score: 57; Festivals include: Toronto 2012

$12,000 in 2 theaters; PSA: $6,000

This documentary about Ukranian Jews who survived after living underground in caves for more than a year opened in New York with only so-so reviews to passable business.

What comes next: Similarly-themed docs usually find bookings across the country in selected venues, suggesting that its potential could take this above what these initial numbers indicate.


"The Place Beyond the Pines" (Focus) - Week 2

$695,000 in 30 theaters (+26); PSA: $23,167; Cumulative: $886,000

Building on its strong initial performance last week, this multi-city expansion for Derek Cianfrance's dark drama continues to show strength usually found in later year, better-reviewed films, good enough for the #13 slot for the weekend despite being in only 30 theaters. This is a very good PSA for 30 theaters (it isn't that much below that for the very limited releases of this week's top new films), showing a depth of interest across the country that suggests that this is heading toward becoming one of the top specialized releases of the year, with considerable crossover appeal. At this point, the Bradley Cooper/Ryan Gosling combo (with Eva Mendes also in a lead role) seems to have not only gained initial but also more sustained interest.

What comes next: Focus so far has moved this a bit more quickly that there last big success ("Moonrise Kingdom"), and the results suggest it will get substantially more theatrical play, and soon.

"Renoir" (IDP) - Week 2

$103,000 in 20 theaters (+14); PSA: $5,120; Cumulative: $200,000

This is a decent showing in the tough subtitled market for this French film as it expands. Impressively, most of these grosses come from new theaters in existing markets, not exclusive (and usually higher grosses) theaters in new cities, which suggests good of mouth in cities where it is already playing.

What comes next: New openings beyond New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in 30 major markets are scheduled over the next few weeks.

"Blancanieves" (Cohen) - Week 2

$35,900 in 14 theaters (+10); PSA: $2,564; $73,600

Also expanding, but to lesser results, was this strongly reviewed black and white silent Spanish film, which is not getting the response its critical response (and "The Artist" previously) suggested it might.

What comes next: Still to open in most major markets, this looks to have limited potential.

"The Sapphires" (Weinstein) - Week 3

$322,000 in 60 theaters (+48); PSA: $5,367; Cumulative: $474,000

Benefiting from ongoing Weinstein faith in audience reaction to this Australian period music-centered comedy, this expansion looks better than the film did in its earlier more limited play, suggesting that good word of mouth (and the lack of any other similar current upmarket release) is beginning to pay off.

What comes next: Weinstein usually takes any sort of positive sign as a reason to widen a film, and these grosses suggest that, though this likely doesn't achieve the success of "Quartet" or "Intouchables," that it could be pushed into an eventual multi-million total.

Weekend box office arthouse chart 4/7/13

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Upstream Color, The Place Beyond the Pines, The Company You Keep

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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.