Oscar Short Film Showcase Enjoys Widest Opening at Indie Box Office

2018 Sundance Midnight selection “Lords of Chaos” and Chinese blockbuster “The Wandering Earth” also opened

Last Updated: February 10, 2019 @ 10:49 AM

With two weekends to go until the Oscars, the indie box office saw the annual release of this year’s nominated short films by Magnolia Pictures and ShortsTV. With a release on 265 screens, it is the widest opening for the shorts showcase since Magnolia Pictures began distributing the nominees in 2005.

This weekend, screenings for the live action, animated and documentary categories combined for a total of $912,000. It’s the largest total in the history of the Oscar shorts showcase, and represents a per screen average consistent with years past with $3,442 per screen.

Elsewhere, the largest per screen average of the weekend went to the Chinese sci-fi blockbuster “The Wandering Earth,” which was brought to 70 screens by China Media Capital. The film takes place in a distant future where advanced technology has been built to move the Earth out of the range of the growing, dying sun. It has made $2 million this weekend for a per screen average of $28,500.

Back on the domestic side, Focus Features released “Everybody Knows,” Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning Persian film “The Salesman.” Starring Penelope Cruz as a mother who must deal with the kidnapping of her daughter and the reveal of uncomfortable family secrets that follows, the thriller made $75,000 from four screens for a per screen average of $18,750. Reviews were mixed, as it currently holds a 64 percent Rotten Tomatoes score.

Finally, Gunpowder & Sky released “Lords of Chaos,” a dark comedy-drama from Jonas Akerlund that premiered in the Midnight section at last year’s Sundance. The film retells the true story of Mayhem, the Norwegian black metal band that became infamous after the death of two of its members; one by suicide and the other at the hands of the band’s bassist Varg Vikernes, who was imprisoned for both the murder and for burning down several centuries-old churches.

Released this weekend at four Alamo Drafthouse locations, “Lords of Chaos” grossed $28,086 for a per screen average of $7,021. The film has a 75 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and will be released on VOD on Feb. 22.