Cate Blanchett and the Cannes-winning drama kick off a period that is both Oscar season and breakthrough for specialty exhibitors.
Using long-unseen release strategies, “TÁR” (Focus) and “Triangle of Sadness” (Neon) showed us that nearly three years of hard knocks haven’t killed specialty films.
As we resume our Sunday specialist analytics after a 30-month absence, it’s time for a public service announcement: nuance matters and opening weekends can be misleading, but early results matter both. for what they indicate and for their influence on future coverage.
The good news is that the two films, taking slightly different directions to begin (“TÁR” a traditional four-screen New York/Los Angeles start, “Triangle” 10 theaters in six cities) need no apologies. Each has shown decent or better signs of initial interest, not only compared to recent releases, but similar pre-pandemic titles as well.
“TÁR” opened in two traditional New York platforms (Lincoln Square and Angelika) and two in Los Angeles (Grove and Century City). He came up with $160,000, or $40,000 per theater. This is the best limited initial PTA since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24) debuted with $500,000 in 10 theaters last spring.
This film has caught a wave, with excellent marketing and solid reviews attracting younger audiences rather than hard-to-attract older ones for Todd Field’s new film, a nearly three-hour drama. “Everything” also had huge initial appeal to Asian audiences, central to its initial success. It hit $70 million, which no one imagines possible for “TÁR,” even with a Best Actress nominee.
It should be noted that “Little Children”, Field’s last film, also with strong acting but also heavy drama, grossed $97,000 in five theaters initially in 2007. Adjusted for inflation, this is a result similar. Consider it a victory.
Courtesy of Everett Collection
“Triangle,” an English-language satire of the wealthy by Swedish director Ruben Östlund has expanded, with six theaters in New York/Los Angeles (three also playing “TÁR”), two in Toronto and two in San Francisco. His take of $210,000 led to a PTA of $21,000. The director’s 2017 “The Square,” also a top-prize winner at Cannes, grossed $74,000 in four initial theaters. So not only did “Triangle” do better, it did so in more than twice as many theaters. It’s encouraging.
Relevant now and for the future: More than ever, retailers are improving limited opening weekends. These strategies include not only Thursday previews, but also past paid shows, Q&A screenings, and promotions that may slightly increase the total. It’s all good play, but another reason why first contact with the public doesn’t always indicate future results.
Also note the big head-to-head in the same theaters. Until Saturday, “TÁR” has collected between 87,000 and 48,000 dollars for “Triangle”. The latter had an additional race in both cities.
Exhibitors anticipate that both films will have longer windows than standard with expansion. In the case of “TÁR”, they were told that normal Focus PVOD three weeks after release would not begin at least until the October 28 release (with an expansion in between, starting with 30 additional theaters out of 10 markets This weekend). “Triangle” also develops right away.
“Terrified 2,” a very different specialty release, held this weekend after the Cinedigm release presented by Iconic Events, added $825,000 over the previous week’s results at 886 theaters. It was good enough to move “Top Gun: Maverick” into the top 10.
Many releases still go unreported, which has become the norm during the pandemic. These films include “Piggy” (Magnolia, well-reviewed from Sundance) and “To Leslie” (Momentum) starring Allison Janney, a hit at SXSW. The handful that reported numbers, whether limited or broader, all had PTAs well below $1,000. They are listed below.
Running races will play a big role in these reports, but as the recipes below suggest, the shelves are empty at the moment. Coincidentally, this is the first week after 28 that “Everything Everywhere” is absent. It will be a difficult feat to achieve this year.
TAR (Tweak) – Metacritic: 85; Festivals include: Venice, Telluride, New York 2022
$160,000 in 4 theaters; TPA: $40,000
triangle of sadness (Neon) – Metacrit: 65; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto, New York 2022
$210,074 in 10 theaters; APT: $21,007
Terrifying 2 (Cinedigm/Iconic) – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Fantastic 2022
$825,000 at 886 theaters; APE: $931; Cumulative: $1,229,000
Superspreader: The Rise of #Let Us Worship (Iconic)
$25,600 in 98 theaters; APT: $261; Cumulative: $370,800
The troubled life of AJ Fikry (Vertical)
$121,000 in 332 theaters; APE: $364
pretty problems (IFC) – Festivals include: South by Southwest
$7,500 in 27 theaters; APE: $278
The good house (Road Attractions) Week 2
$347,210 in 989 (-173) theaters; APT: $353; Cumulative: $1,581,000
pearl (A24) Week 4
$292,702 in 588 (-1,150) theaters; Cumulative: $8,932,000
See how they work (Spotlight) Week 4
$417,000 in 775 (-875) theaters; Cumulative: $8,815,000
Lunar Reverie (Neon) Week 4
$170,000 in 290 (-385) theaters; Cumulative: $3,818,000
Make the basics work (UPU2) Week 4
$49,000 in 217 (-160) theaters; Cumulative: $1,374,000
Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva (Disney) Week 5
$43,000 in 50 (-120) theaters; Cumulative: $7,829,000