The weekend has had a sizable crowd of specialty newcomers, though as summer begins its sunset, it appears some audiences are going beyond the big studio brouhaha. Sundance psycho-thriller Luce lead the pack with a $132,916 start in five locations, grabbing a $26,583 per theater average for the Neon release in the three-day estimate, while not far behind was IFC Films’ The Nightingale for $40,082 in two theaters and a $20,041 PTA. A24’s The Farewell, meanwhile, landed comfortably in the top 10 this weekend, while being in far fewer theaters than the studio titles. The Sundance title by Lulu Wang grossed over $2.4M in 409 theaters, averaging a robust $5,939 for the Mandarin and English-language feature. It has cumed over $6.84M.
Neon reported Sunday that writer-director Julius Onah’s Luce’s exits showed “broad appeal,” with a 28% African-American audience and about a 50/50 split between crowds over and under 40 years-old. Moviegoers were about 59% female and 41% male.
“Julius has developed the kind of psychological thriller you rarely see get made anymore, addressing issues of race, class and identity,” said Neon CEO and Founder Tom Quinn ahead of the title’s weekend roll out. “It’s so of the moment. It’s simultaneously classical and contemporary with a prescient handle on what’s happening today. We’re in this business to be a part of movies like this.”
Luce will head to top markets on August 9, expanding throughout the month and into Labor Day weekend.
IFC Films reported “strong” runs at IFC Center in New York and the Arclight Hollywood for writer-director Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale, with sold out shows on Friday and Saturday. “The upcoming support we have from the exhibition community has been outstanding, with Landmark, AMC, Regal and Alamo all on board for this release, as well as top arthouses like the Music Box and SIFF,” noted IFC Films Justin DiPietro Sunday morning. “We’re all excited here with our initial opening and to be working again with such an outstanding filmmaker in Jennifer.”
Also showing gusto out the gate was Oscilloscope doc Jay Myself, which had an exclusive weekend run at New York’s Film Forum, grossing $19,088 in the three-day estimate. Directed by Stephen Wilkes, the documentary about American photographer Jay Maisel opened Wednesday.
“Based on advance ticket sales, we’ve known for weeks that the film would open really big, but we had no idea just how big,” commented Oscilloscope exec Andrew Carlin Sunday. “Half a dozen Q&A screenings sold out, while attendance at regular screenings has been incredibly robust as well. Jay Myself plus Film Forum is honestly the perfect combination of film and theater. We feel like word-of-mouth is going to propel this movie for months.”
Oscilloscope said that Jay Myself’s combined Wednesday and Thursday gross represented Film Forum’s “best midweek opening in over three years,” while the title’s Friday – Sunday estimate is the second-highest opening weekend gross in the past year.
Love Antosha, the Sundance doc centered on late actor Anton Yelchin, opened with an exclusive showing at the Nuart in L.A. over the weekend, grossing $7,150. Directed by Garret Price, the film will open an exclusive engagement in New York next weekend before expanding to the top 20 markets throughout August and early September.
Among other weekend limited release openers, 1091 launched thriller Them That Follow in three locations for a $15K three-day estimate ($5K PTA), while Cohen Media Group bowed Venice premiere comedy Tel Aviv On Fire in 11 theaters, grossing $50,987 ($4,635 PTA). Music Box Films played Italian crime-drama Piranhas with an exclusive run at Lincoln Center in its opening frame for $3,049.
Jay Myself (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $19,088, Cume $27,750 (Weds. opening)
Joan The Maid (Cohen Media Group) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $1,343
Love Antosha (Lurker Films Release) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,150
Luce (Neon) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $132,916, Average $26,583
The Nightingale (IFC Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $40,082, Average $20,041
Piranhas (Music Box Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $3,049
Tel Aviv On Fire (Cohen Media Group) NEW [11 Theaters] Weekend $50,987, Average $4,635
Them That Follow (1091) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $15,000, Average $5,000
Honeyland (Neon) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $37,671, Average $7,534, Cume $81,827
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [29 Theaters] Weekend $76,265, Average $2,630, Cume $178,523
The Art of Self-Defense (Bleecker Street) Week 4 [110 Theaters] Weekend $52,239, Average $475, Cume $2,367,425
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable (Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures) Week 4 [24 Theaters] Weekend $8,000, Average $333, Cume $570,983
The Farewell (A24) Week 4 [409 Theaters] Weekend $2,429,114, Average $5,939, Cume $6,842,321
Sword Of Trust (IFC Films) Week 4 [80 Theaters] Weekend $73,367, Average $917, Cume $245,347
Marianne And Leonard: Words Of Love (Roadside Attractions) Week 5 [101 Theaters] Weekend $74,215, Average $735, Cume $693,896
Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [131 Theaters] Weekend $229,436, Average $1,751, Cume $1,525,638
Wild Rose (Neon) Week 7 [87 Theaters] Weekend $51,000, Average $586, Cume $1,507,864
The Last Black Man In San Francisco (A24) Week 9 [74 Theaters] Weekend $89,430, Average $1,209, Cume $4,276,668
Free Trip To Egypt (Matson Films) Week 10 [3 Theaters] Weekend $2,814, Average $938, Cume $ 26,401 (Fathom Event on 6/12: $71,087)
Echo In The Canyon (Greenwich Entertainment) Week 11 [104 Theaters] Weekend $95,340, Average $917, Cume $3,077,151
The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) Week 14 [53 Theaters] Weekend $53,250, Average $1,005, Cume $4,230,506