A24 Has Another Indie Hit, As ‘Marcel The Shell’ Slides Into Top 10 – Specialty Box Office

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A24’s Marcel The Shell With Shoes On hit the top ten in North America at no. 8 with an estimated $340k in week three at just 48 locations and a cume north of $963k – the latest hit for the distributor after powerhouse Everything Everywhere All At Once blasted off at the specialty box office. Marcel, based on a popular 2010 YouTube series, is on a much slower rollout than that, but in terms of specialized releases it’s one of the biggest since Covid.

The distributor acquired Dean Fleischer Camp’s stop-motion/live-action hybrid about an adorable snail, voiced by Jenny Slate, at Telluride last fall and screened it at SXSW – where Everything Everywhere made a splash. It’s a favorite with critics (99% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), has strong word-of-mouth (92% RT audience score) and corresponding stellar exit polls. It will expand to 130-150 screens next week setting up for a long summer run.

“It absolutely rules that everybody is seeing our film in theaters because we made it to be enjoyed that way,” says Camp via email. “Not only does the theatrical experience really put you in Marcel’s shoes (sorry), but it’s a film about the importance of community, which we’re all feeling right now, and that stuff just hits different when you’re with a big group all laughing and crying together.”

There’s a big opportunity here because the audience is mostly A24’s core 18-35 indie-movie fan demo for what could be a charming crossover kids’ film. Fans of the original YouTube series are Millennials/Gen Z now, and while the percentage of a self-described family audience increases each week, that’s still mostly parents bringing their kids along. Marcel has the best word of mouth of any A24 film and well as more IP than is typical for the distributor. A Marcel short film and several books followed the original series.

The faux documentary follows Marcel and his grandmother Connie, voiced by Isabella Rossellini, once part of a sprawling community of shells who now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. When a documentary filmmaker discovers them amongst the clutter of his Airbnb, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope at finding his long-lost family. Marcel opened at $170K on six screens on June 24 in New York and LA with a per screen average of $28,267.

Everything Everywhere grossed an estimated $241k this weekend for a cume of more than $67.6 million since opening in late March as younger demos flocked to the independent martial arts fantasy feature, A24’s highest grossing movie at the domestic box office. The Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert written-and-directed film stars Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan. (Kwan is married to Marcel’s animation director, Kirsten Lepore.)

A24’s releases this year and last also include The Green Knight, Zola, Lamb, C’mon C’mon, Macbeth (with Apple) Red Rocket and X.

Specialty openings this weekend: There were some good ones. Neon’s Fire Of Love, which opened on three screens last Wednesday, saw a strong $40,686 three-day weekend for a per theater average of $7,443 and a total cume of $40,686 (PSA of $13,562).

A woman in a bathing suit and a shirtless man in 'Murina'

Kino Lorber’s Murina grossed a solid $6,702 in one location, NYC’s Metrograph.

“We are gratified by the audience’s embrace,” of the film, says Wendy Lidell, the distrib’s SVP theatrical/nontheatrical distribution and acquisitions of the Camera d’Or winner by Antonieta Kusijanovic. Lidell said the opening puts the film “in good stead to continue this success as we expand to over a dozen additional cities next week” — including LA, Chicago, Montreal, Washington D.C. and Miami.

IFC Films Both Sides of the Blade had a weekend gross of $25,000 in four theaters for a PSA of $6,250 and a cume of  $25,000. (Mad God from IFC Midnight/Shudder, in week two, saw a gross of $19,000 at 25 locations for a PSA of $760, and a cume of $215,737.)

White Hill Studios opened Shareek 2 in 55 locations to a debut of $99k for a PTA of $1,800. The Punjabi film hails from “Pollywood” as the landscape for regional Indian films from Bollywood and beyond continues to expand in the U.S.

Among holdovers, Mr. Malcolm’s List from Bleecker Street was no. 10 in North America in week two at 1,057 locations with a gross of $245,416 ( PSA of $232) and a cume of $1.64 million.

Roadside Attractions’ The Forgiven saw an estimated three-day gross of $63,275 on 137 screens in week two for a per screen average of $462 and cume to date of $278,589.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, also in week two, grossed $37,621 on 15 screens, up from three last week, for a per screen average of $2,508 and a cume of $75,871.

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