'SWISS ARMY MAN' SHARP IN EXPANSION: SPECIALTY BOX OFFICE - DEADLINE

By: Brian Brooks

July 3, 2016 - A24’s Sundance debut Swiss Army Man is holding sway among the Specialty releases. In its expansion, the feature is landing 11th in the overall domestic box office, though in far fewer locations than its studio competition. On the Specialty chart, newcomers are having a mixed start. Music Box Films’ The Innocents had a decent launch in three theaters grossing $31,500 through Sunday, while The Orchard’s doc Life, Animated also bowed in three locations grossing $26,547. Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions’ Our Kind of Traitor with Stellan Skarsgård and Ewan McGregor topped $1M, while Screen Media’s Microbe and Gasoline opened two theaters grossing $13,385. Among holdovers, The Orchard added 18 locations for The Hunt of the Wilderpeople, holding strong. And two months out, A24’s The Lobster is flirting with $8M.

Music Box’s The Innocents is scoring the third best per theater average of the weekend, though the numbers are only decent. The French/Polish/Russian feature by Anne Fontaine grossed $31,500, averaging $10,500. Universal’s The Purge: Election Year ($11,040 average) and Warner Bros. The Legend of Tarzan ($10,709 average) edged over The Innocents, but of course in far more locations. Music Box targeted the art house crowd as well as Catholics heading into the weekend, and it appears there’s at least some initial success. It is not a “faith-based film,” but instead hints at issues that are not so “black and white,” noted Music Box’s Ed Arentz earlier this week, adding: “I think the art house is highly playable. To the extent that we can play beyond that to a Catholic audience that may not be habitués of art house cinema will also be great.”

After its opens at the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza in New York and Landmark in L.A.,The Innocents will broaden out to 25 theaters in additional markets as well as suburbs of NYC and Los Angeles. The company expects it to be in 100-plus theaters by early August.

The weekend’s top grossing Specialty opener was Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions’ Our Kind of Traitor, starring Stellan Skarsgård, Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris, taking in just over a million dollars in 373 theaters for a $2,685 average. That placed the title 12th as of early afternoon Sunday, just under Swiss Army Man. “We’re targeting the smarter, older audience, which is our sweet spot,” said Roadside co-president Howard Cohen earlier this week. “This is very different from the audience the big three releases are going for.”

After a sizable festival run including a debut at Sundance, The Orchard opened docLife, Animated in three theaters with a so-so start as of Sunday. Life, Animatedopened in three theaters grossing $26,547, averaging $8,849. Though a very different feature, The Orchard followed its template for its 2015 Oscar-nominated doc Cartel Land by opening in summer. “From a release standpoint, we’ve been fans of opening docs with audience and awards potential in the summer because it’s counter-programming,” said the company’s Paul Davidson earlier this week. “We had a similar release plan for Cartel Land. It’s the right timing for an Awards contender.”Life, Animated actually opened higher in its bow. Cartel Land played two theaters when it opened July 4 weekend last year, grossing $15,581 for a $7,791 average. It went on to cume over $704K. The Orchard plans a one-day screening of the film on 50-75 screens across the country via Regal Cinemas. The title will play the top 50 markets through summer.

Screen Media opened French filmmaker Michel Gondry’s Microbe and Gasoline in a pair of locations this weekend, grossing $13,385 ($6,692 average). The opening is about half the start of Gondry’s previous feature, Mood Indigo, which also debuted in two theaters in the U.S. in July 2014, though that title grossed $26,511 ($13,256 average). Microbe and Gasoline will head to about a half dozen additional screens July 15.

In its second weekend, The Orchard’s The Hunt For the Wilderpeople grossed a solid $142,474 in 23 theaters, averaging $6,195. The New Zealand-produced feature by Taika Waititi opened with a $85,336 gross in five theaters last weekend, averaging $17,067. “[The film’s] stellar word of mouth and critical acclaim continued this weekend in the film’s second frame, landing it number one in the complex in more than one-third of its engagements and in the top of the remaining complexes just behind this weekend’s commercial releases,” noted The Orchard Sunday. “Huntcontinues to resonate broadly and successfully across younger and older audiences alike and the film exceeded expectations in its second frame on its way to a third frame expansion into 60 screens in the Top 30 DMAs.”

SPC added 8 runs for doc Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words grossing $31,490 in ten locations, averaging $3,149. The feature bowed in two theaters, grossing $18K last week ($9K average). And Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon shed 598 locations vs its opening weekend. In week 2, the Broad Green release grossed $134,558, averaging $727, technically not far off its debut PTA of $775 from a $606,594 gross in 783 theaters. The feature did cross seven figures this weekend.

Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions’ Genius also crossed one million dollars. In its fourth weekend, the feature grossed $106,825 in 98 theaters, averaging $1,090 giving it a total cume of $1,029,873. And most likely A24’s The Lobster will pinch $8 million before the holiday weekend is over. Friday to Sunday, the feature has grossed $344,280 ($2,280 average) giving it a $7,966,258 cume.

For the weekend’s general domestic box office results, read Deadline’s story here, and for international box office, go here.