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Arthouse Audit: The Weekend is 'Bernie''s, 'Sound of My Voice' is Weak, 'Elles' Gets Boost from NC-17

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 29, 2012 at 3:44PM

An incredible 20 films premiered in limited runs in NY or LA this weekend (including three on Wednesday). While most were branded by festival play, few boasted much pre-opening coverage. Only "Bernie" wielded much box-office muscle --while "Headhunters" also showed signs of early strength.
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"The Kid with a Bike"
IFC Films "The Kid with a Bike"
"The Kid With the Bike" (IFC - Sundance Selects) - Week 7

$127,500 in 85 theaters (-1); PSA: $1,500; Cumulative: $1,127,500

Steady as she goes at a modest level (the PSA was only down slightly at least).

What it means:  These days, any subtitled film that passes $1 million in gross, even with the acclaim "Kid" has gotten, is no small achievement. The awareness will only enhance its VOD interest when it arrives down the line.

"The Raid: Redemption" (Sony Picture Classics/Alliance Atlantic in Canada) - Week 6

$142,357 in 126 theaters (-422); PSA: $1,129; Cumulative: $3,901,565

After an elevated break that at its widest hit almost 900 theaters, this now is quickly running out of steam.

What it means:  Expect this to have a long afterlife on other venues now that its awareness has been greatly enhanced.

"We Have a Pope" (IFC - Sundance Selects) - Week 4; also available on VOD

$64,800 in 27 theaters (+8); PSA: $2,400 ; Cumulative: $248,800

Concurrent to its VOD availability, while still in a limited theatrical release, this is another modest grosser, although a bit more impressive with the reviews being weaker than normal to attract an audience to a subtitled film.

What it means: This will struggle to hit $1 million, but the depth of the release here should enhance the home viewing interest.

"The Deep Blue Sea" (Music Box) - Week 6

$75,261 in 51 theaters (-4); PSA: $1,521; Cumulative: $875,621

Still opening new cities, this Rachel Weisz-starring British drama is performing with mixed results.

What it means:  Despite the acclaim for her performance, this has not been the kind of early-year success that can keep someone in mind later in the year for awards unless Weisz lands some major wins.

"Footnote" (Sony Pictures Classics) - Week 9

$163,551 in 101 theaters (+8); PSA: $1,619; Cumulative: $1,564,717

The carefully paced expansion of this film (now entering its third month in release) continues, although with about a 20% fall in PSA, which indicates diminishing (though not unexpected) results.

What it means:   Still, this will easily pass $2 million, but it no longer looks like it will match the top-grossing Israeli films in US release.

"Marley" (Magnolia) - Week 2; also available on VOD

This grossed just under $400,000 for its full first week in 42 theaters while simultaneously showing on VOD.

"Jiro Dreams of Sushi" (Magnolia) - Week 8

Through last Thursday, this surprise documentary hit already was at $1,665,000.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Independents


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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.