Richard Linklater‘s adventurous and unconventional “Boyhood,” which was filmed over a period of 12 years as a young boy aged from preschool to high school graduation, broke out at the specialty box office this weekend.
Distributor IFC Films opened “Boyhood” on five screens in New York and Los Angeles and it grossed $359,000 for a per-screen average of $71,800, the year’s second-best limited debut behind only “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
“Boyhood” was written and directed by Linklater and stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as the parents of newcomer Ellar Coltrane; the cast and crew reconvened for a few weeks each year to shoot new scenes, which were then assembled into a casual but singular portrait of a life.
The film’s critical reception had to have helped with the strong debut. It has a rare 100 percent ‘fresh” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, with 97 critics weighing in. An extensive publicity campaign that included profiles in the New Yorker and TV appearances by Linklater and the film’s cast helped, and it also benefitted from a promotional push on AMC TV and Showtime.
IFC Films chief Jonathan Sehring and Josh Sapan, head of IFC’s parent AMC Networks, remembered when Linklater came to the project.
“Back in 2002, we thought Rick’s idea was an extraordinary notion and we believed him to be a great filmmaker,:” the two said. “Putting our creative and commercial fates in the hands of people who are brilliant has proven to be a terrific strategy for the company and we couldn’t’ be happier to have supported Rick’s creative vision. The result is a film for the ages and we can’t wait to bring ‘Boyhood’ to the rest of the country in the weeks to come.”
Linklater is a veteran director who has been behind projects like 1993’s “Dazed and Confused” and 2003’s “School of Rock,” and over the past decade turned to indie fare like 2006’s “Fast Food Nation,” 2012’s “Bernie” and last year’s “After Midnight,” the finale in a film trilogy launched in 1995.
Sony Pictures Classics’ comedy “Land Ho” opened to $37,811 on four theaters, for a strong $9,453 per-screen average. Co-written and co-directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, it stars Paul Eenhoorn and Earl Lynn Nelson as a pair of ex-brothers-in-law set off to Iceland in an attempt to reclaim their youth through Reykjavík nightclubs, trendy spas and rugged camp-sites.