Art House Box Office: A Big To Do About “Much Ado”

Did any Whedonites become Shakespeareans this weekend?

Yes, as anyone could have predicted, the support of Whedonites and Shakespeare fans led Joss Whedon’s production of “Much Ado About Nothing” to the top of the specialty box office. Playing in five theaters in NY, LA, and San Francisco, the film earned $183,400 for a per screen average of $36,680. Roadside Attractions, the distributor, congratulated itself with this statement:

“The film broke the house record last night at the [Film Society of Lincoln Center] with a $15,027 gross for Saturday there. Reviews were terrific and anecdotally we’re getting a great mixture of the Joss Whedon fans and the classic arthouse and Shakespeare fans. The film had a great festival run starting at last year’s TIFF, and then a fantastic 2013 festival run including SXSW and a huge sellout screening as the opening film of Seattle Film Festival. Joss and his ensemble cast did a mammoth amount of PR including festival appearances, an appearance at WonderCon, the talk show circuit and a plethora of screenings and online interviews. We are expanding within the three markets on June 14, and then opening nationwide on a moderate pattern in the 200-300 screen range on June 21.” [Quote courtesy of Deadline]

Among the other new openers, the doc “Dirty Wars” opened well in four theaters, averaging $16,500 for a total of $66,000. The Australian movie “Wish You Were Here” played in 11 locations, earning $25,723 for an average of $2,338, which isn’t bad for something with literally no publicity. “Violet & Daisy,” which I think was made about three years ago, had a tougher go of it, taking in $10,250 at 17 theaters, for a pretty awful $602 per screen average.

Holdover “The East” is up to 41 theaters, earning $247,000 for a $6,024 average. “The Kings of Summer” expanded to 44 theaters, averaging $5,000 for a $220,000 total. The real champ, though, is “Before Midnight,” which earned $584,648 at 52 theaters, averaging $11,243 per screen. Pretty good for something that Ethan Hawke, one of the movie’s stars, aptly described as part of the lowest grossing trilogy in movie history.

Next week! If you don’t want to see “Man of Steel,” the art house circuit offers the much buzzed about Sofia Coppola movie “The Bling Ring,” the award-winning British horror movie “Berberian Sound Machine,” and the doc about backup singers that charmed Sundance, “20 Feet From Stardom.” Hope what you want to see is playing in your neighborhood!

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