January 28, 2018

‘The Shape of Water’ Gets Oscar Boost as ‘Hostiles’ Lures Crowds

Following last week’s Oscar nominations, Fox Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” led the field of Oscar contenders. Both films showed healthy jumps over last weekend, with Guillermo del Toro’s showing the most strength.

While both films were outgrossed by 20th Century Fox’s “The Post” in much wider release, they did add around $21 million to their impressive totals so far. That’s far above boosts for last year’s “Hidden Figures” and “La La Land.”

This weekend will be the high water mark for the nominees, with the next weeks seeing normal drops and in some cases possible alternative home viewing (several titles are nearing the three-month mark when streaming becomes a choice). It remains to be seen what will replace them in theaters after what has been a strong awards season boosting grosses above average for the last few months.

Among the openers, the sole new release to show any strength was Strand’s Chinese adul animated feature “Have a Nice Day.” Its $11,000 initial Manhattan exclusive gross is the top limited release opener so far this year.

“Padmaavat” (Viva), a Bollywood historical epic which has caused controversy in its Indian release this week, managed to place in the overall Top Ten with a $4.3 million gross in only 324 theaters. In a limited run it managed to gross better than all but two of the lead category nominees playing this weekend.

“Tosca,” a Live at the Met single showing presentation in over 900 theaters, grossed $2 million. That’s a healthy boost and an example of how theaters are supplementing normal business with targeted audiences.

In a sign of the times, the first Sundance 2018 title has already debuted on Netflix though with little notice: Netflix’s National Lampoon early days biopic “A Futile and Stupid Gesture’ started showing on Friday while festival was still in progress.


Have a Nice Day (Strand) Metacritic: 81; Festivals include: Berlin, Seattle 2017

$(est.) 11,000 in 1 theater; PTA (per theater average): $(est.) 11,000

Not high on the radar in festival attention and not a factor in any awards race, this Chinese animated title was boosted by strong reviews which led to a good initial exclusive New York result. This crime drama (hardly typical of either animated content nor what Chinese censors  usually allow) centers on a man who steals money from his boss to pay for his fiancee’s surgery in a remote city.

What comes next: Los Angeles opens Friday, with other cities (likely boosted by the initial performance) to follow.

International releases:

Padmaavat (Viva/India): $4,273,000 in 324 theaters

Also available on Video on Demand:

Please Stand By (Magnolia/Austin 2017): $(est.) 4,000 in 5 theaters

“Mary and the Witch’s Flower”

Week Two

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Fathom)

$137,087 in 77 theaters (-84); PTA: $1,780; Cumulative: $1,786,000

Most of the gross for this Japanese animated release, which was overlooked for the Oscar, came for its Fathom special event one day showings two Thursdays ago. But those theaters who have continued playing added more to its already decent total.

A Ciambra (IFC)

$7,531 in 2 theaters (+1); PTA: $3,766; Cumulative: $17,405

This Italian foreign-language Oscar submission added Los Angeles. The drama centering on a young Roma teen headed for early adulthood continues to do minor business.

Christian Bale in Hostiles


Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Hostiles (Entertainment Studios) Week 6

$10,200,000 in 2,816 theaters (+2,697); Cumulative: $12,053,000

Though the strategy of a Christmas platform release and only minor added runs until the nominations didn’t pay off with a hoped for nod for Christian Bale, the early play and word of mouth did boost this western. Despite just slightly favorable reviews, Entertainment Studios’ marketing has propelled this into a decent national break, with a top three placement overall for the weekend despite major competition for older viewers. Its B Cinemascore doesn’t guarantee a big multiple ahead, but this Toronto acquisition looks like it could head to a respectable $30 million total. That’s much better than appeared possible with its mediocre initial results.

The Post (20th Century Fox) Week 6

$8,850,000 in 2,640 theaters (-211);  Cumulative: $58,536,000

The 24 per cent drop likely is better than what normally would have occurred for the third wide weekend for Steven Spielberg’s film. Its two nominations were in top categories (Pictures and Actress) should guarantee an ultimate gross above the director’s last Oscar contender. “The Bridge of Spies” in 2015 grossed $72 million in a release in the fall before it got any boost from its award contention.

“The Shape of Water”

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight) Week 9

$5,700,000 in 1,854 theaters (+1,001);  Cumulative: $37,679,000

The leading nominee jumped 161 per cent. The $5 million+ gross is better than any Best Picture winner has done after the nominations since “The King’s Speech” seven years ago (that smash had six weekend over that number), and a better weekend than any of them in its entire run since the fourth (in October) for “12 Years a Slave.” The film, even without a win in the category, looks headed for at least a $55 million total, likely more.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight) Week 12

$3,600,000 in 1,457 theaters (+503); Cumulative: $37,011,000

A strong 88 per cent increase (helped by additional theaters) for this multiple nominee that looks like it will be Searchlight’s second $50 million+ grosser for the season.

I, Tonya (Neon) Week 8

$2,969,000 in 960 theaters (+18);  Cumulative: $18,844,000

The second wide week for this retelling of the Tonya Hardy story fell 30 per cent after its multiple nominations. It still looks headed for somewhere around $30 million, which would put it ahead of films nominated in acting categories but not Best Picture.

“Phantom Thread”

Photo Courtesy of Focus Features

Phantom Thread (Focus) Week 5

$2,890,000 in 1,021 theaters (+125);  Cumulative: $10,622,000

Paul Thomas Anderson’s film came out well in nominations, but still fell 11 per cent from last weekend. It still should end up grossing better than either of his two films since “There Will Be Blood,” with its international response (the roll out starts this week) to determine whether it has a shot at profit. (Its budget was $35 million).

Darkest Hour (Focus) Week 10

$2,885,000 in 1,333 theaters (-10);  Cumulative: $45,197,000

With six nominations, this 1940 Winston Churchill wartime drama saw its grosses increase slightly despite its already lengthy run. This remains the leader among specialized company Best Picture nominees and now has taken over from “The Big Sick” among all specialized grossing 2017 titles (“The Space of Water” will likely overtake it).

Lady Bird (A24) Week 13

$1,925,000 in 1,177 theaters (+502);  Cumulative: $41,648,000

Greta Gerwig’s comedy added Oscar acclaim to its accolades and rebounded once again to add to its already impressive total. It looks headed to $50 million depending on home viewing availability (the film is completing its third month in release).

Timothée Chalamet stars as Elio in <em>Call Me By Your Name</em>

“Call Me by Your Name”

Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10

$1,345,000 in 815 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $11,356,000

Though it received some top category nods (including Picture and Actor), this dropped 58 per cent from last weekend, which was its first wider break. This is not getting the response that other contenders have received from more mainstream audiences despite great acclaim. It still has a shot to hit somewhere close to $20 million if SPC can maintain screens for the next several weeks.

Molly’s Game (STX) Week 5

$900,000 in 556 theaters (-535); Cumulative: $25,900,000

After a decent run, Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, without either a Best Picture or Actress nomination, will soon finish its play.

The Disaster Artist (A24) Week 9

$104,108 in 84 theaters (-63); Cumulative: $20,916,000

Only a screenplay nomination for James Franco’s film means its successful run is coming to an end.

The Insult (Cohen) Week 3

$60,000 in 10 theaters (+7);  Cumulative: $143,712

Capitalizing on its Foreign Language Film nod, Cohen added more cities for this Lebanese court drama with a better than average result for a subtitle expansion.

The Florida Project (A24) Week 17

$55,289 in 33 theaters (-4);  Cumulative: $5,656,000

A supporting actor nomination for Willem Dafoe was the sole mention for Sean Baker’s much acclaimed film, now at about the end of its four-month run.

Also noted:

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Sony Pictures Classics) – $35,918 in 19 theaters; Cumulative: $247,751

Happy End (Sony Pictures Classics) – $21,792 in 14 theaters; $198,481

Faces Places (Cohen) – $14,068 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $722,829

Jane (Abramorama) – $12,221 in 9 theaters; Cumulative: $1,644,000

Source: IndieWire film


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