After winning over critics at Sundance, Bart Layton’s “American Animals” has taken the indie box office by storm in its four-screen opening this weekend, scoring a big win for The Orchard and its distribution partner, MoviePass.
Releasing in Los Angeles and New York, the film made $140,633, earning a per screen average of $35,158. That ranks in the top 10 highest per screen averages of 2018 and is the best average ever for an Orchard release. The previous record for the studio belonged to Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” which had a per screen average of $15,688 from its five-screen start and went on to gross $5.2 million during its theatrical run.
The Orchard paid $3 million at Sundance for the rights to “American Animals” with the help of MoviePass’ distribution subsidiary, MoviePass Ventures. At the start of the festival, MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe announced that the company would begin partnering with distributors to co-release indie films and market those titles to subscribers of its $9.95/month, movie ticket per day subscription service.
Lowe told TheWrap earlier this week that his company wants to prove that it can drive its subscribers to more indie films through MoviePass Ventures and the upcoming production studio, MoviePass Films, which will be launched with the recently acquired production slate of Emmett Furla Oasis Films.
While MoviePass has yet to report how much of “American Animals”‘ revenue came from their subscribers, The Orchard reports that the film was the top ticket seller at the Arclight Hollywood and The Landmark in Los Angeles, and had sell-out screenings at the Regal Union Square and Lincoln Square in New York, as well.
Starring Evan Peters, “American Animals” has an 84 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and will expand to an estimated 30-50 screens next weekend.
Elsewhere, the Indian import “Veere Di Wedding” had strong results from its release on 117 screens. Distributed in the U.S. by Zee Studios, it made just under $1.2 million for a per screen average of $10,236. Directed by Shashanka Ghosh, the coming-of-age film follows four childhood friends in Delhi who reunite as adults and discover how much each other’s lives have changed.
Elsewhere, Filmrise’s “Breath” and IFC’s “A Kid Like Jake,” released on a single screen this weekend, with the former grossing $5,700, while the latter grossed $9,063.
Starring Simon Baker in his directorial debut, “Breath” follows an Australian surfer who becomes the unexpected mentor for a pair of wayward teenage boys. It has a 77 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. “A Kid Like Jake,” which stars Jim Parsons and Claire Danes as parents of a 4-year-old who shows signs of gender dysphoria, has a 68 percent RT score.
Among holdovers, A24’s critically acclaimed “First Reformed” passed the $1 million in its third weekend, making $455,435 from 91 screens. While Magnolia Pictures/Participant Media’s “RBG” finally fell out of the top 10 in its fourth weekend, it is now Magnolia’s highest grossing film ever after adding another $1.1 million to push its total to $7.8 million. The studio’s previous record was held by the Oscar-nominated doc “I Am Not Your Negro” with $7.1 million.
Warner Bros.’ 50th anniversary re-release of “2001: A Space Odyssey” added $69,000 from five screens, bringing its total to $564,000. Bleecker Street’s “Disobedience” crossed the $3 million mark in its sixth weekend with $211,271, while Focus Features’ “Tully” crossed $9 million with $110,000 in its fifth weekend. Finally, Fox Searchlight’s comedy sequel “Super Troopers 2” hit $30 million after making $320,000 in its seventh weekend.