‘Eyes Of Tammy Faye’, ‘Blue Bayou’ Show Arthouse Resurgence Remains Elusive – Specialty Box Office

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The Eyes Of Tammy Faye from Searchlight Pictures finished in the top ten domestically (at no. 9) with the highest per screen average of the group after Shang-Chi and Free Guy. Its estimated PTA, $1,500 in 425 theaters, bested newcomers Blue Bayou and wide releases Cry Macho and Copshop on a per screen basis. That’s the good news. The bad — Eyes’ number are not fantastic and weekend stats show moviegoers still picking favorites with surgical precision and a rising tide not lifting all boats, yet.

“We had hoped for a resurgence of moviegoers in the art/specialty world this weekend, as we were booked in many of the best art houses in North America, and [while] there are gladly some exceptions… the more mature cinephile moviegoers have yet to rush out to their local specialty theatre in any great numbers,” said Searchlight’s head of distribution Frank Rodriquez. “Hopefully they will start to come back as we get into the fall season.” Searchlight is estimating a 3-day total of around $675K for Eyes.

The distributor marketed the film heavily, gave it at least a 45-day exclusive theatrical window and had hoped for a per theater average on par with the circa $1,900 per screen opening of Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter last weekend from Focus Features on 580 screens. (That film’s weekend no. 2 estimate of $440,000 brings its cume to $1.9 million on four more screens.)

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Focus’ emotional drama Blue Bayou opened in 477 theaters with estimated cume of $315,000 and a per theater average of $660. Directed and written by Justin Chon and starring Chon and Alicia Vikander, it had a 96% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Exits polls scored a 71% definite ‘recommend’ (with 55% the norm).

(Warner Bros. opened Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho to $4.515 million in 3,967 theaters for a PTA of $1,138. Open Road/Briarcliff’s Copshop debuted in 3,005 theaters and grossed an estimated $2.31M for a PTA of $769.)

Distributors are awaiting a specialty resurgence from the rollout of high-profile festival fare from Cannes, Telluride, Venice and Toronto that began arriving in theaters this month and will accelerate. “Hopefully they will start to come back as we get into the fall season,”  Rodriquez said.

“With the coverage we have in most markets, with very good upscale multiplexes, moviegoers are not too far from any complex where they can see” Eyes. The Michael Showalter film stars Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Its top grossing theatres were NY, LA and San Francisco with good numbers in Orlando, Austin, Charlotte, Raleigh and Oklahoma City. Eyes was the no. 2 or  no. 3 top grosser in most of these locations, Searchlight said, with Disney/Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings invariably holding the top spot.

Eyes will expand in existing markets and add a number of new ones this week to get to around 1000 runs. Searchlight said the film received a B+ score from CinemaScore, whose polling reported around a 50-50 split between male and female audience members and between moviegoers over 50, and under 35.

Elsewhere in specialty, IFC Films opened The Nowhere Inn starring St. Vincent and Carrie Brownstein and directed by Bill Benz day-and-date to estimated grosses of $20,000 from 46 for a per theater average of $435.

Kino Lorber opened Wife of A Spy in one location — New York’s IFC Center where it was the top grosser — to an estimated weekend take of $6,650. Kino Lorber set up word of mouth screenings with film buff social network Letterboxd in advance of release. It expands to Los Angeles and Chicago on 9/24 and more cities on 10/1.

Zeitgeist Films opened In Balanchine’s Classroom in three locations to an estimated debut of $9,950.

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