The opening weekend of Jonah Hills feature directorial debut Mid90s has given distributor A24 two of the years three best opening-frame per-theater averages to date. Fresh off premiere screenings at the Toronto and New York film festivals, the coming-of-age pic grossed $249,500 during the weekend for a robust $62,375 per-screen average to lead a full slate of specialty fare.
Also debuting this weekend was Fox Searchlights Can You Ever Forgive Me?, starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, which started its box office run by taking in $150,000 in five locations. Wildlife, from director and co-writer Paul Dano and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, opened $105,614 in four locations, averaging $26,403.
A24 said Mid90s, starring Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges and Katherine Waterston in Hills homage to his growing up in 1990s Los Angeles, will add more runs next weekend after the strong opening. It was 2018s third-best per-screen start behind National Geographic Documentary Films Free Solo ($73,572 opening average) and A24s own summer hit Eighth Grade ($65,949 PTA).
“Exit polls were also through the roof in [New York and Los Angeles] from the predominantly under 35-year old audience that responded to Jonahs touching and entertaining ode to an era with incredible performances from the ensemble cast,” said A24, which touted “energized sellouts” and the films “terrific start.”
The start didnt crowd out other high-profile newcomers. Can You Ever Forgive Me?, from second-time feature director Marielle Heller, did well out of the gate with its $30K per-screen average. McCarthy plays bestselling celebrity biographer Lee Israel in the pic, which had been 10 years in the making.
“[Can You Ever Forgive Me?] is able to play in both commercial, mainstream theaters and specialty venues,” Fox Searchlight said Sunday, adding that it expects the pic to be in 20-25 theaters next week when it adds new markets Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Further expansion is planned from there.
Not far behind was Wildlife , also by a first-time director in Dano, who wrote the script with Zoe Kazan. IFC Films acquired the pic after its Sundance bow.
“Paul Dano has made an impressive first feature and we are thrilled to see the critical support,” IFC co-president Jonathan Sehring said. “The creative collaboration on and off screen between Paul, Jake, Carey and co-writer Zoe Kazan is what independent filmmaking is all about. Carey Mulligan delivers an awards-worthy performance and we are excited for audiences to see the film as we expand nationally in the coming weeks.”
Free Solo, meanwhile, continues to ascend, marking its first month in theaters with an expansion and a weekend gross of just more than $1M. The Nat Geo title by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi averaged $4,020 Friday-Sunday, bringing its four-week cume to $3,592,812.
Compared with the three other big docus of the year — Wont You Be My Neighbor?, RBG and Three Identical Strangers — the title is showing similar zest at this stage of its release. RBG grossed $1.28M in its fourth weekend in 415 theaters ($3,105 average); Wont You Be My Neighbor? was in 654 locations in Weekend 4, grossing $2.42M ($3,703 average); and Three Identical Strangers took in $1.47M from 332 runs ($4,440 average).
Also premiering this frame was The Met Opera: Live in HD: Saint-Saënss Samson et Dalila in 900 North American theaters as an event performance. It grossed $1.25 million, which reps 60,000 admissions. The Met Operas next installment will be Puccinis La Fanciulla del West next week. Bleecker Street opened What They Had by first-time director Elizabeth Chomko and starring Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon, grossing $18,845 ($4,711 average).
Meanwhile, Abramoramas release of HBO documentary The Price of Everything had an exclusive engagement at New Yorks Quad, grossing $17,280 in what the distributor said was a 100-seat theater.
Among second-week expansions, Amazon Studios grew its Beautiful Boy theater count to 48, grossing $439K ($9,147 average), which gives it a cume of $722,006. Sony Pictures Classics The Happy Prince took in $58,862 in 25 theaters ($2,354 average); and Roadside Attractions/Topic Studios The Oath grossed $223,510 ($745 average).
The Advocates (Cinema Libre) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4,000
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $150,000, Average $30,000
An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn (The Film Arcade) NEW [16 Theaters] Weekend $4,800, Average $300
Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story (Abramorama) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4,166
Mid90s (A24) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $249,500, Average $62,375
The Met: Live in HD, Saint-Saënss Samson et Dalila (Met Opera) Event Engagement [900 Theaters] Weekend $1,250,000
On Her Shoulders (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4,500
The Price of Everything (HBO) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $17,280
What They Had (Bleecker Street) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $18,845, Average $4,711
Wildlife (IFC Films) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $105,614, Average $26,403
Wings Of Desire (Janus Films) NEW (1987 re-release) [1 Theater] Weekend $11,635
Beautiful Boy (Amazon Studios) Week 2 [48 Theaters] Weekend $439,056, Average $9,147, Cume $722,006
Bigger (Freestyle Releasing) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $516, Average $103
The Happy Prince (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [25 Theaters] Weekend $58,862, Average $2,354, Cume $117,395
Liyana (Abramorama) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $1,307, Cume $7,977
The Oath (Roadside Attractions/Topic Studios) Week 2 [300 Theaters] Weekend $223,510, Average $745, Cume $261,406
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
The Great Buster: A Celebration (Cohen Media Group) Week 3 [3 Theaters] Weekend $7,436, Cume $24,672
The Hate U Give (20th Century Fox) Week 3 [2,303 Theaters] Weekend $7,500,000, Average $3,257, Cume $10,641,873
Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 4 [251 Theaters] Weekend $1,009,168, Average $4,020, Cume $3,592,812
Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. (Abramorama) Week 4 [6 Theaters] Weekend $9,763, Average $1,627, Cume $170,028
Monsters And Men (Neon) Week 4 [25 Theaters] Weekend $13,433, Average $537, Cume $481,437
The Old Man & The Gun (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [802 Theaters] Weekend $2,050,000, Average $2,556, Cume $4,200,856
Assassination Nation (Neon) Week 5 [5 Theaters] Weekend $2,241, Average $448, Cume $2,003,830
Colette (Bleecker Street) Week 5 [520 Theaters] Weekend $585,020, Average $1,125, Cume $3,693,223
The Sisters Brothers (Annapurna) Week 5 [1,141 Theaters] Weekend $742,014, Average $650, Cume $1,971,000
God Bless The Broken Road (Freestyle Releasing) Week 7 [6 Theaters] Weekend $2,039, Average $340, Cume $2,837,822
The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10 [130 Theaters] Weekend $138,429, Average $1,064, Cume $7,482,171
Tea With The Dames (Sundance Selects) Week 5 [70 Theater] Weekend $80,862, Average $1,155, Cume $433,688
Pick Of The Litter (Sundance Selects) Week 8 [20 Theaters] Weekend $10,137, Average $507, Cume $517,351