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Arthouse Audit: 'To the Wonder' Opens in Theaters and VOD; Expanding 'Trance' Weakens

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 14, 2013 at 4:23PM

This weekend, three of four openers also premiered on Video on Demand venues. Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" is the most significant film yet to take that route. Its theatrical component was not close to the levels of "The Tree of Life" (pushed hard by Fox Searchlight) or other top VOD films; less than stellar reviews many have hurt. The other three new films also posted mediocre openings.
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"Disconnect"
"Disconnect"
"The Angels' Share" (IFC) - Criticwire grade: B-; Metacritic score: 68; Film Festivals include: Cannes 2012, Portland 2013; also available on Video on Demand

$21,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $7,000

With the VOD release, this more comedic than usual film from veteran British director Ken Loach opened in three major New York/Los Angeles theaters to average results. Loach's films, primarily social-issue oriented within a working class British milieu, normally don't make a big impact in the U.S. (although his Cannes winner "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" grossed just under $2 million in pre-VOD 2007), and the good but not great reviews didn't elevate this to must-see level, at least so far.

What comes next: Home viewing would seem to be its main future, though IFC usually gets films like this into multiple big city markets.

"It's a Disaster" (Oscilloscope) - Criticwire grade: B+; Metacritic score: 68; New Orleans 2012, Bend 2012; also available on Video on Demand

$17,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $5,667

Without the ad or prime theater support of this week's other new releases, and lacking a major festival history, this Los Angeles-set end of the world comedy/drama (a group of friends at their regular brunch find out dirt bombs have gone off with likely dire results) ended up not that much far behind in its PSA, even with VOD availability.

What comes next: The theatrical future will likely be limited.

Ongoing/expanding

"Trance" (Fox Searchlight) - Week 2

$925,000 in 438 theaters; PSA: $2,112; Cumulative: $1,100,00

A very quick expansion for Danny Boyle's tricky London-set thriller resulted in a mediocre PSA for this still modest number of theaters, suggesting this may not have a long shelf life or much further expansion.

What comes next: Unless word of mouth kicks in quickly, this doesn't look to get a fraction of the gross his last two films got.

"The Company You Keep" (Sony Pictures Classics) -Week 2

$311,000 in 41 theaters (+36); PSA: $7,585; Cumulative: $483,000

A decent if not great expansion of Robert Redford's latest film, although in context it pales against current hit "The Place Beyond the Pines," which has a similar PSA despite in being in 11 times as many theaters. Still, this is a reasonable result coming off its OK New York/Los Angeles openings.

What comes next: This is an pretty quick expansion for SPC, and it appears this could be their biggest grossing film since "To Paris With Love" as it widens.

"Upstream Color" (erbp) - Week 2

$74,100 in 11 theaters (+10); PSA: $6,736; Cumulative: $112,900

Though the expansion wasn't as impressive as its New York opening (which at $28,000 was a bit less than initially projected), and backed with continuing strong reviews with little advertising expense, this self-distributed Sundance competitor still is showing grassroots strength in its new openings.

What comes next: This now has momentum to expand to multiple new cities and reach higher levels than other self-distributed films. This also hits DVD and VOD in early May, which will cut into its totals.

"Renoir" (IDP) - Week 3

$167,000 in 49 theaters (+29); PSA: $3,408; Cumulative: $408,000

In the tricky world of subtitled films these days, "Renoir," with its French roots and cultural background is showing ongoing strength in prime specialized theaters. Even though it is early in its release, it already is the third-highest grossing art house subtitled film of 2013 (after "No" and "The Gatekeepers.")

What comes next: This should get many further dates, with $2 million not being out of the question.

"The Sapphires" (Weinstein) - Week 4

$245,000 in 93 theaters (+33); PSA: $2,634; Cumulative: $780,000

With a further expansion, and significant ongoing support from Weinstein, the PSA fell nearly in half this week, which suggests this is not getting the level of word of mouth that their breakout films have at this stage of its release. These grosses are average at this point.

What comes next: This being Weinstein, expect more expansion, and a better ultimate showing than its first week's grosses suggested. Still, this doesn't look like it will get past $3 million if even that much.


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