Ari Aster’s Surreal Odyssey ‘Beau Is Afraid’ Lands A24’s Best Limited Opening Since ‘Uncut Gems’ – Specialty Box Office

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Beau Is Afraid posted the top per-screen average of the year so far and the best limited opening for distributor A4 since Uncut Gems, grossing an estimated $320,396 at four locations in New York and LA for a hefty per screen average of $80k+ to sold out shows on both coasts. (Uncut Gems with Adam Sandler had a $105k PSA on five screens in 2019 — a limited opening record at the time.)

In Ari Aster’s surrealist black comedy-horror Beau, Joaquin Phoenix is a mild-mannered man riddled by paranoia, who confronts his worst fears on an epic journey to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Presales had been looking strong and the numbers certainly came through for the distrib and the director beloved by fans of his previous films Hereditary and Midsommar. The ensemble cast includes Nathan Lane, Amy, Ryan, Parker Posey and Patti LuPone. Expanding in a regional Imax event on 4/18 ahead of a nationwide rollout 4/21.

Weekend: Fri: $141,091; Sat. $100,733; Sun., $78,396.

Other specialty releases: Wild Life from Picturehouse and National Geographic Documentary Films grossed $46k+ on two screens – Angelika Film Center/NYC and Angelika Pop-Up/D.C. — for the weekend’s second biggest PTA of $23,359. The film by directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Meru, Free Solo, The Rescue) premiered at Telluride, screened at SXSW and played this weeked to a young demo that included the environmentally-conscious and outdoor enthusiasts who follow climber and director Chin. The subject of the film, conservationist Kris Tomkins, appeared with directors in Q&AS.

Utopia opened Kristoffer Borgli’s Cannes and Fantastic Fest satire Sick of Myself in NY/LA at the IFC Center and the Nuart to sold-out shows, a $10,106 PSA and estimated $20,212 gross. Featuring Borgli with guests such as Kate Berlant, Screen Slate founder Jon Dierenger and comedian Jeremy Levick. With strong RT scores and backing from John Waters, Ari Aster, Michael Cera and Bret Easton Ellis, the film’s audience continues to grow with support from Letterboxd, Mubi Go, Vimeo, streetwear brand Praying, exhibitors Alamo and Landmark and a social-driven campaign targeting a millennial audience on Instagram (the platform lampooned in the film about young woman who fakes illness to gain sympathy and one-up her boyfriend). A few more dates including Chicago and Alamo’s Fantastic Fest Presents lead to a wider expansion 4/28.

Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber opened adult animated Blind Willow Sleeping Woman on two screens, New York’s Film Forum and Laemmle’s Royal, with an estimated three-day gross of $7,400. Film Forum’s main Saturday show sold out a Q&A with filmmaker Pierre Foldes.

Wider releases: Crunchyroll’s Suzume from Sony Pictures is looking at a $5 million opening weekend at 2,170 locations including Imax and premium large formats. The original anime film by Makoto Shinkai is 95% Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh by critics, 98% by audiences, with a 5-star PostTrak rating. It’s the latest theatrical release for Crunchyroll, which is distributing with Sony Pictures Entertainment in North America, and the widest opening for director Shinkai. No. 7 at the domestic box office. Fri., $2.15m; Sat. $1.64m; Sun. projected $1.2m. No. 7 at the domestic box office.

Mysterious doors unleash a supernatural force of destruction that threaten Japan as one determined teenager, Suzume, sets out to close them and save her country from disaster.

Mafia Mamma from Bleecker Street will gross a $2+ million opening on 2,002 screens, for a weekend PSA of $1,021. t’s no. 8 this weekend. Fri. $866,940; Sat. $692,903; Sun. $485,032. Toni Colletee is an insecure American woman who inherits her grandfather’s mafia empire in Italy and defies expectations guided by the clan’s trusted consigliere, Monica Bellucci.

Faith-based horror film Nefarious grossed an estimated $1.4+ million on 933 screens. Directed by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman, produced by their Believe Entertainment and distributed by their affiliated Soli Deo Gloria Releasing. On the day of his scheduled execution, a convicted serial killer gets a psychiatric evaluation during which he claims he is a demon and that the psychiatrist will commit three murders of his own. In 10th place at the domestic box office. Fri. $505k; Sat. $470k; Sun. $355k. PSA $1,426. The film has 25% with critics on RT (five reviews) but is 97% with audiences (250 ratings).

More to come…

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