By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood September 29, 2013 at 4:30PM
"Muscle Shoals" (Magnolia) - Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Sundance 2013, South by Southwest 2013, Seattle 2013; also available on Video on Demand
$14,000 in 1 theater; PSA: $14,000
Opening at New York's IFC Center along with nationwide VOD availability, this music documentary about the legendary Alabama rhythm and blue music studio had a solid initial gross. This is the kind of performance/creative doc with a personal touch that can sometimes find a theatrical audience, although with VOD showings it will be mainly a niche theater player. As evidence of its VOD strength, Magnolia reports that this is currently the #1 doc on ITunes.
What comes next: Chicago opens next Friday, other exclusive runs in other cities over the following weeks.
"We Are What We Are" (eOne) - Criticwire: 70; Metacritic: 70; Festivals include: Sundance 2013, Cannes 2013
$15,081 in 2 theaters; PSA: $7,540
This English-language remake of a Mexican cannibal film which received attention after its own Cannes showing in 2010 (IFC released that version) opened in New York and Los Angeles to modest results, bolstered by attendance at selected shows by director Jim Mickle and star (and Quentin Tarantino favorite) Michael Parks. It looks headed toward cult interest down the line similar to its precursor.
What comes next: Expansion to other markets is planned in upcoming weeks.
The big news this week among second week or longer running films is the strong performance of "Enough Said," Nicole Hofencener's soon-to-be empty nesters rom com starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. It jumped quickly to 227 theaters from its initial five, and grossed almost as much -- $2,115,000 (PSA: $9,317) -- as did Searchlight's earlier 2013 success "The Way, Way Back" at 74 fewer theaters when that film expanded. "Enough Said"'s critical consensus actually improved with the multiple new cities -- the Metacritic score is now up to 79 -- and indications continue about positive audience response. The gross boosted this already to #11 overall, very impressive for its low theater count. This looks on its way to possibly moving to the upper ranks ($20 million+) among the year's specialized releases.
The second weekend wasn't so kind to two other releases. Roadside Attractions "Thanks for Sharing" with Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow dropped 70% to $163,000 in 251 theaters (-18), for a $901,000 to date total. It won't be around much longer. Weinstein's French comedy "Haute Cuisine" went up in gross to $31,500, but only adding 11 theaters to its previous initial 3 (total $54,600).
Among films later in their runs and grossing above $50,000 for the weekend, "Blue Jasmine" (Sony Pictures Classics) again outpaced the pack. In its tenth week already, it took in another $708,000 in 528 theaters (-319, so beginning to reach the end of its initial pre-awards run), now up to almost $30.8 million.
SPC also has the Saudi Arabian "Wadjda" adding slowly, grossing $78,700 in 16 theaters (+7) for a so-so PSA (for this few theaters) of $4,919, total of $238,000 through 3 weeks in the U.S. (it had previously opened in Canada). Weinstein's "Salinger" in its fourth week added $60,000 in 134 theaters, remaining weak (total $500,000).
Four longer running films grossed slightly over $100,000 as they reach the later stages of their runs. "In a World" (Roadside Attractions) grossed $123,000 in 121 (-23), total $2.6 million. SPC's "Austenland" grossed $118,000 in 107 (-127) to pass $1,750,000. "The Spectacular Now" (A24) added another $115,000 in 107 (-127) for $6,657,000 so far. And Weinstein's "The Grandmaster" with $107,000 in 143 (-330) now has reached $6.5 million.