The Quiet Girl, an Oscar contender for Best International Feature, opened to a robust $60k on six screens this weekend for a per-theater average of $10k. The film by Colm Bairead presented by SUPER LTD is based on the short story by Claire Keegan of a shy nine-year-old girl in rural Ireland. It led debuts in a specialty market that’s showing consistent signs of recovery amid a wider slate of films. Emily from Bleecker Street expanded to solid numbers and this year’s program of Oscar Nominated Short Films blew past last year with a $1.6 million cume in week two.
It’s hard to describe the specialty landscape. “We’re not where we want to be yet,” said one distributor. “Slowly approaching pre-Covid” levels sounds too optimistic. But there is a recovery underway that seems to be consistent. “It used to be one step forward, one step back. A good sign, and then something sh-tty happened. But this feels like it’s been week after week of, like, ‘Okay, that’s good.’”
Couched potatoes are the key. “There is a segment of the audience that migrated out of theates and into streaming that will never come back. I don’t think we know yet [how big]. My instinct is that if you thought 20% were not coming back, this year will prove out that it’s not that much. I’m not sure if its 15% or 10% or 5%. But I think that gap will close. Because so much of this has been a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you don’t put movies out consistently [people] get out of the habit of coming,” he said, echoing many others in the specialty distribution space.
Other openings: Shout! Studios’ comedy Linoleum by Colin West grossed in $20k at 14 theaters with sold out screenings at NYC’s Quad where West and star Jim Gaffigan, the Grammy-nominated stand-up comedian, hosted Q&As. Filmmakers and co-star Rhea Seehorn appeared at screenings in LA and Columbus. Premiered at SXSW last year.
Blue Fox Entertainment opened Bunker in 225 locations to an $76.8k debut.
Roadside Attractions My Happy Ending by Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon, starring Andie MacDowell, grossed $26k on 126 screens.
Expansions/ongoing: Bleecker Street’s Emily will gross an estimated $405k in a major expansion its second weekend on 579 screens (up from five) for a gross of $466k, that may be conservative. The period drama about Emily Brontë is directed by Frances O’Connor and stars Emma Mackey.
The 2023 Oscars Nominated Short Films presented by ShortsTV grossed $468k on 301 screens in week two (up from 75) for a cume of $1.6 million. Week one sales more than double their theatrical box office for the same period in 2022, said ShortsTV CEO Carter Pilcher, “And this weekend has been great as well – putting us on target to exceed last year’s total gross in just 14 days.”
“It’s not just Maverick and Marvel that are bringing audiences to theaters – this year’s Oscar Shorts are packing them in right now,” he said. Oscar nominated animated, live action and documentary films are split into three feature length presentations with theaters deciding how and when to show them.
The Goran Stolevski written-directed Of An Age from Focus Features grossed an estimated $53k in week two at a steady 289 domestic theaters for a cume of o $520k. The film is set in the summer of 1999 as an Serbian born, Australian amateur ballroom dancer experiences an unexpected and intense romance with a friend’s older brother.
Sony Pictures Classics Return To Seoul saw a nice $44.5k on 11 screens (up from 2) last week, for a per screen average of $4k and a cume of $103.7k.
The distributor’s reissue of, also in week two, grossed $56.8k on 144 screens (last week 475), for a cume of 339,998.
A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once, newly dubbed PGA Best Pictures winner and multiple Oscar nominee, passed $73 million this weekend, adding $119K on 233 screens. The distributor’s The Whale continues to splash, and other Oscar-nominated films are still populating theaters ahead of the Academy Awards March 12.