“Taylor Probably Picked Up Some Spillover From Us,” Quips Steven Soderbergh Of ‘Divinity’ Debut; ‘Anatomy Of A Fall’ Sees Solid Open – Specialty Box Office

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Cannes Palme d’Or winner Anatomy Of A Fall from Neon grossed $125,377 at five theaters for a per screen average of $25,075 — a solid limited opening for the Justine Triet-directed film that made its theatrical debut Friday in NYC, LA and San Francisco. A limited expansion is planned for next week. 

Sandra Hüller stars as a German writer living a secluded life in a remote town in the French Alps with her husband Samuel and their 11-year-old son. When Samuel is found dead in the snow below their chalet, the police question whether it was suicide or murder. They fix on the latter and Sandra becomes the main suspect who finds herself and her relationship dissected in a courtroom. Anatomy most recently packed screenings at the New York Film Festival.

The dynamics at play are all different, but here are some of the best recent limited openings in terms of screen count: Dicks: The Musical with a per screen average of $31.5k on seven screens last week. Dumb Money by Craig Gillepsie with a $27k PSA at eight locations last month; Emma Seligman’s Bottoms in August on ten screens with a $51.6 PSA.

(Neon also had the 2022 Cannes winner, Titane, which grossed $515k on 562 screens when it was released a year ago. That was the biggest opening for a Palme d’Or winner in nearly two decades, and the largest French opening in North America in over 15 years.)

Caution was the word this weekend among indie distributors as Taylor Swif: The Eras Tour blasted off. A few moved out of the way and the ones that didn’t – including two executive produced by Steven Soderbergh — kept it small and did okay considering. Black-and-white sci-fi Divinity by Eddie Alcazar, distributed by Utopia, took in $6k at a single-screen launch in NYC at the Regal Union Square with appearances from Soderberg, Alcazar, star Stephen Dorff and composer DJ Muggs.

“When ERAS moved on to our date and we saw all the SWIFTINITY memes, I knew we were going to have a big weekend, but this is beyond our expectations. All of our shows were sold out, so Taylor probably picked up some spillover from us, but we’re in for the long haul, and once again we see there’s plenty of room out there for two good movies showing up at the same time,” said a cheeky Soderbergh. 

Divinity expands to LA next weekend for special 35mm screenings with the American Cinematheque before a national expansion Nov. 3.

Godfrey Reggio’s Once Within A Time, Soderbergh EP, opened at New York’s IFC Center, grossing $12,250 despite — distributor Oscilloscope Labs noted — challenges from limited showtimes, an atypical run time (52 minutes), limited reviews and Swift competition. “For the past 40 years, Godfrey Reggio [Koyaanisqatsi] has amassed a passionate following for his bold and uncompromising foresight into our rapidly (d)evolving society, and incomparable vision as a storyteller. We’re extremely pleased with this result and look forward to bringing this truly unique film to cinemas all across the country.,” Oscilloscope said.

Co-directed by Jon Kane. Adds a run in LA next week before a national expansion throughout October and November.

Documentary The Mission from Picturehouse grossed just shy of $30k on eight screens in NY and LA. The film directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss (Boys State) explores the shocking murder of young American missionary John Chau while he was attempting to make contact with one of the world’s most isolated Indigenous peoples on remote North Sentinel Island. Producers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn of Lightbox. Playing at the Angelika and Jacob Burn Film Center in NY, Laemmle Monica in LA, Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. 

The doc, said Picturehouse CEO Bob Berney, “offered a provocative alternative to filmgoers this weekend in NY & LA. The Telluride hit generated lively discussion after several Q&As, including at Landmark’s Pasadena location where the underdog film outperformed Taylor Swift on Friday!”

Holdovers: Dick’s The Musical from A24 took in $94,677 on 15 screens on week two in a limited expansion in NY and LA for a cume of $354,180k. The R-rated musical comedy from Larry Charles features Nathan Lane, Megan Mullally and Megan Thee Stallion. It rolls out nationwide on Friday and will continue to expand through the fall.

Joan Baez I Am A Noise from Magnolia Pictures, a doc about the life and career of the iconic singer, grossed $143k in week two on 111 screens. On Friday, Lana Del Rey moderated a conversation with Joan at the Nuart in LA. “Joan’s reach into the fabric of contemporary music continues to amaze us as we roll this film out across the country. There have been a lot of younger faces in the audiences, which speaks to the timelessness of Joan’s voice and message,” the distrib said.

Sony Pictures Classics Strange Way Of Life saw a $70k weekend on 158 screens in week two (down from 276) for a cume of $375,792.

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