‘Armageddon Time’ struggles and ‘even’ shows its power as more niche films infiltrate the top ten

Five specialty films (widely defined) among the top 13 this weekend, including three in the top ten: “Till” (United Artists), “Terrifier 2” (Iconic), and “TÁR” (concentration). That’s the good news, with continued strong access to a large number of theaters to maximize profits.

The least good news: most of the earnings come in much less than previous similar films.

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James Gray’s “Armageddon Time,” the biggest new platform release of the week, could bring in just $72,000 in six theaters. Given the decent reviews, its director, and cast that includes Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins, this is a disappointment. The 1980s story had six major theaters in New York/Los Angeles.

“Holy spider”

Danish-produced “Holly Spider” (Utopia) about an Iranian serial killer grossed an impressive $17,000 at the IFC Center in New York. This shows (at least at first) that a title that is less commercial can work with niche/genre appeal.

On the flip side, “Call Jane” (Attractions on the Road), a pro-choice story in time with Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver only managed to raise $241,000 in 1,070 theaters. This is $225 PTA.

The gap in niche titles is much larger than the 35-40 percent between the studio’s film totals. There is enough data to suggest that the niche market is lagging 60 percent or more behind that was expected by 2019 standards.

“Till” and “Terrifier” are exceptions that prove the rule because their relative strength comes from expanding the traditional definition of niche audience.

This has become increasingly true in recent years, as “everything everywhere at once” has shown in its appeal to younger, Asian Americans. Likewise, “Terrifier 2” attracts fans of the genre, not patrons of the art. (She ranked eighth this weekend with $7.6 million so far.)

Drama “Till,” which reenacts the murder of martyr Emmett Till and the 1955 trial, grossed $2.8 million in 2,058 theaters, its widest release to date among limited openings. That put it in seventh place with a PTA of $1,366 — not impressive, but higher than any other recent releases being shown in fewer theaters. With A+ Cinemascore (polled this weekend), the depth of release should give the movie a boost to keep it alive in the coming weeks.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight) can claim the best expansion area for this fall’s second weekend at $9,310, versus $540,000 in 58 theaters. That’s a positive sign for Martin McDonagh’s popular Irish period movie heading into more play with 800 release dates next week.

Comparisons with previous similar films don’t come very close to those of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” director exactly four years ago. In 53 theaters, it grossed $1.1 million, double that, versus $20,975 in PTA. And in 2018, tickets cost about 75 percent of what they do today, which means “Banshees” saw 60 percent fewer customers.

“Banshees” has better ratings than “Billboards,” but the drop matches that of the older, traditional niche audience in the big city.

Some other comparisons: The November 2018 hit “Ladybird” grossed $1.2 million in its second weekend in 37 theaters. At 2o19, “The Lighthouse,” a bleak black and white movie with famous actors, managed $3 million in 586 theaters for over $5,000 in PTA.

In its fourth weekend, “TÁR” jumped to 1,087 theaters for just over $1 million, the $938 prize money for the competition. Cate Blanchett is a tough contender for the Best Actress Awards. Among the indie titles in recent years that have presented Oscar winners in that category have been “Room” and “Still Alice” — films that, at gross average, made somewhere in the $20 million range. It seems unlikely that TÁR will be valued at $5 million.

“Sad Triangle” (Neon) is expanding more slowly, but it’s still in 610 theaters. With $549,000, it also failed to hit $1,000 per theater, for a total of $2.3 million so far.

“Aftersun” – Credit: A24

A 24

Aftersun (A24) in its second weekend jumped to 17 theaters at $75,242. This British indie drama has had the best reviews of any movie released so far this year. A PTA of $4,426 for this still-limited run puts it in line with what the market appears to be able to do at the moment.

MUBI has not reported any total numbers for the third weekend of the “decision to leave”. The South Korean film, in an extraordinarily aggressive expansion for a subtitled release, grossed approximately $255,000 per source in 133 theaters for $1,900 each. Not great, but some independent theaters have good numbers.

No numbers have been reported as expected on ‘Causeway’ that will air soon (on Apple) with Jennifer Lawrence or ‘Is It Black Enough for You?!?’ (Netflix), as well as Hong Sang Soo’s “The Novelist’s Song” (Film Guild) and “Please Baby Please” (Music Box).

Movies are listed by week in release, starting with those that opened that week:

Armageddon Time (Focus) New – Metacritic: 77; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, New York 2022

$72,000 in 6 theaters; PTA: $12,000

Call Jane (Roadside attractions) NEW – Metacritic: 64; Festivals include: Sundance, Berlin 2022

$240,755 in 1,070 theaters; PTA: $225

Holy spider (Utopia) NEW – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto 2022

$17,086 in one theater; PTA: $17.086

Inisherin from Inisherin (Scout) week 2

$540 thousand in 59 theaters (+55); PTA: 9,310 US dollars; Cumulative: $790,760

after the sun (A24) second week

$75,242 in 17 theaters (+14); PTA: $4,426; Cumulative: $166,030

It all breathes (Deluxe Submarine / Sideshow) Week 2

$7,118 at 2 (+1) theaters; PTA: $3,559 Cumulative: $18.076

until (United Artists) Third week

$2,811,000 in 2,058 (+1,954) theaters; PTA: $1,366; Cumulative: $3,637,000

Decision to leave (Moby) third week

$255,000 in 133 (+95) theaters; PTA: $1,911; Cumulative: 800,000 USD

cat parents (Grey Hat) Week Three

$8000 in 4 (+1) theaters; Cumulative: $37,135

terrifying 2 (Cinedigm / Iconic) Fourth week

at $1,550 (+795) theaters; PTA: $1,164; Cumulative: $7,638,000

tar (focus) week 4

$1,020,000 in 1,087 (+946) theaters; PTA: $938,000 Cumulative: $2,500,000

sadness triangle (neon) week 4

$549,000 in 610 (+330) theaters; PTA: $900 Cumulative: $2,281,000

terrifying 2 (Cinedigm / Iconic) Fourth week

$1,803,000 in 1,550 (+795) theaters; PTA: $1,164; Cumulative: $7,638,000

See how they run (Scout) Seventh week

$24,000 in 160 (-120) theaters; Cumulative: $9576000

Daydream Monaj (neon) week seven

$20,000 in 52 (-34) theaters; Cumulative: $4,200,000

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