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Arthouse Audit: 'I'm So Excited' Scores Decent Opening, 'Museum Hours' Is Surprise Success

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood June 30, 2013 at 3:55PM

Summer isn't the usual launchpad for subtitled films, but this weekend two June openers both show promise. "I'm So Excited" (Sony Pictures Classics), from the most consistently successful foreign language director Pedro Almodovar, opened solidly, if below his usual level. The much less-heralded "Museum Hours" (Cinema Guild) scored an above-average per screen average in two New York theaters. Both should gain attention across the country in upcoming weeks.
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"Unfinished Song"
TWC "Unfinished Song"
"Byzantium" (IFC) - Criticwire grade: B-; Metacritic score: 66; Festivals include: Toronto 2012, Tribeca 2013; also available on Video on Demand on July 2

$18,000 in 6 theaters; PSA: $3,000

Neil Jordan's most recent film (he has been focused on Showtime series "The Borgias") had a decidedly minor opening, despite several supportive reviews, a cast including Gemma Arterton and Saorise Ronan and a vampire theme. IFC gave this an initial berth immediately ahead of its Video on Demand release this week, which should benefit from the film's theatrical attention.

What comes next: IFC is the leader in VOD marketing (even as they have success with "Frances Ha," now nearing $3.5 million after eschewing initial at-home viewing), and this could end up as a top item on that venue.

Other openings:

Among those films with numbers reported -- all of which had parallel VOD releases -- none had a PSA much over $2,000. The best grossing was Drafthouse's rock documentary "A Band Called Death," which took in $28,500 in 13 theaters. The widest was Roadhouse's "Redemption" (with partner Lionsgate) starring Jason Stratham, grossing $18,200 in 19. Tribeca's doc "How to Make Money Dealing Drugs" (a Toronto premiere) did $10,500 in five.

The best-reviewed films not to report grosses were Breaking Glass' "Laurence Anyways" from 24-year-old Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan (his third feature, which opened at New York's Angelika) and HBO Sundance doc "Gideon's Army," which premieres on cable Monday after some Oscar qualifying runs which resulted in a staggering 95 Metacritic score.

Ongoing/expanding

Two second weekend expansions added fairly rapidly, both at OK levels similar to their initial showings. Weinstein's "Unfinished Song" jumped to 19 theaters (+17) to gross $95,000 (PSA $5,000). This puts it roughly on a par with their "The Sapphires" but some distance behind "Quartet," suggesting decent prospects ahead, but short of significant crossover appeal. Cohen's Israel-set "The Attack" had an unusually wide second week -- 36 theaters from last week's 3, and took in $140,000 for a PSA just under $3,900, a solid performance for a subtitled film.

Stronger still is Radius/Weinstein's "20 Feet from Stardom" which is successfully skipping initial VOD (the division's normal plan) with $233,000 in 44 theaters (+38), PSA $5,295, already at $415,000. This looks like it could rank as one of the top documentary grossers of the year.

Among the widers releases that opened in recent weeks to strong numbers, the results overall continue to be modest. A24's "The Bling Ring" fell 57% in its second week in 630 theaters (down from last week) for a weak PSA and a new total of $4,363,000, without much more likely. 

Roadside Attraction's "Much Ado About Nothing," in far fewer theaters (217, +11), fell only 20% from last week, grossing $590,000 (PSA $2,719, total $2,186,000). This looks like it has room to grow. The best total, and likely ultimately the top grossing of the three, "Before Midnight" (Sony Pictures Classics), now down to a more reasonable core of 290 theaters (-151), grossed $666,000, with the PSA for the second straight week increasing. The new total is $5,743,000, with the possibility of it hitting around $10 million looking much better than it looked on its initial 890 theater expansion.

Fox Searchlight's "The East" continues to show minor results in its fifth week, $255,000 in 185 (-10), total $1,640,000. Roadside Attraction's acclaimed documentary from Sarah Polley, "Stories We Tell" is approaching $1.4 million late in its run. CBS Films' "The Kings of Summer" has yet to reach $1 million as it scales back, doing $84,000 in 48 (-17). SPC's more limited "Fill the Void" continues to grow, taking in $185,000 in 61 (+15), now at $918,000 with a lot of potential business left.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Pedro Almodóvar, I'm So Excited , Before Midnight, Sony Pictures Classics, 20 Feet From Stardom, Unfinished Song


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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.