June 10, 2023

The pace of arthouse /smart-house releases accelerated this weekend as wide-for-specialty openings like A Good Person and The Lost King joined a handful of solid single-theater openings from distributors Greenwich Entertainment, Sideshow/Janus Films, Mubi, Abramorama and Cinema Guild – all set for some expansion.

MGM released Killer Films and Elevation Pictures’ A Good Person on 530 screens with a $834k cume for the film by writer/director Zach Braff starring Florence Pugh and Morgan Freeman. It’s got a 96% Rotten Tomatoes audience score, indicating continued playability at commercial smart-house locations as an alternative to current tentpole programming.

Pugh is Allison, whose life falls apart after her involvement in a fatal accident but is revived by a unlikely relationship she forms with her would-be father-in-law (Freeman). Deadline review here.

The Lost King from IFC Films, by Stephen Frears, and starring Sally Hawkins as an amateur historian who unearthed the 500-year-old remains of Richard III, grossed an estimated $575k at 753 locations.

CGI family fantasy adventure The School Of Magical Animals from Blue Fox Entertainment, directed by Gregor Schnitzler based on the children’s book series, grossed an estimated $150.7k on 300 runs.  

The specialty market has had a slow emergence from Covid with some bright pockets indeed but a very, very loose metric that’s been a kind of a reluctant new normal for months — try to hit around $1 million on 1,000 screens, or something proportional. It’s not thrilling and it depends on the film. But there’s no doubt that specialty pics for older demos have been slower to return than wide-release franchises. A culprit may be the pace of new releases, which picked up for big-ticket films in 2023 but the not at the arthouse. So it’s been taking longer to get those demos back into the habit of live moviegoing. A cluster of critically acclaimed indie and festival films opening this weekend, albeit, in very limited release is not a bad sign.

Opening on one/two screens only: Greenwich Entertainment doc Nam June Paik: Moon Is the Oldest TV, directed by Amanda Kim and narrated by Steven Yeun, hit the Film Forum, grossing $10,378.

The Five Devils from Mubi, by Lean Mysius, grossed an estimated $8,666 at the Angelika Film Center.

Tori and Lokita was released by Sideshow and Janus Films on two screens in NY and LA and grossed an estimated $15,600 for a $7,800 per screen average.

Cinema Guild released Hong Sangoo’s Walk Up to an estimated $6k at Film at Lincoln Center. Its the distributor’s best opening weekend for a Hong Sangsoo film since Claire’s Camera in 2018 (discounting In Front Of Your Face last year when we had Hong in NY for Q&As),” the distributor said.

Abramorama opened documentary What the Hell Happened to Blood, Sweat & Tears? by John Scheinfeld at the Quad for an estimate weekend gross of $5,093.

Notable event films, as per Comscore, Trafalgar released Louis Tomlinson: All Of Those Voices in 569 locations to a debut of $534,913 for a cume to date of $1.208M. Fathom released My Neighbor Totoro 35th Anniversary – Studio Ghibli in 970 locations to a debut of $284,122. 

Holdovers: Roadside Attractions’ Moving On with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin grossed $346k in week two on 771 screens for an estimated total cume pushing $1.7 million.

Focus Features’ Inside by Vasilis Katsoupis starring Willem Dafoe grossed an estimated $125k at 357 locations, also in week two, for an estimated cume to date of $825,000 .

A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once — still in theaters! — grossed an estimated $445k on 600+ screens for a cume of circa $76.67 million.

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