Luca Guadagnino’s gory, polarizing remake of Dario Argento’s “Suspiria” arrived in limited release this weekend, and it has set a new annual mark for per screen averages in 2018.
Released at the Arclight Hollywood and the Regal Union Square in New York, the film made $179,806, for a per screen average of $89,903, passing the previous 2018 record held by National Geographic’s “Free Solo” with $73,572.
“This weekend’s opening was truly exciting, the film played to both horror/genre audiences and arthouse/specialty crowd,” said Amazon Studios’ distribution head Bob Berney. “The film received a thunderous ovation at the ArcLight Hollywood Dome screen on Saturday where Luca Guadagnino and the cast appeared for a Q&A. Since previewing a shocking clip at CinemaCon, our online presence and social media engagement has been very robust and the anticipation really paid off this weekend.”
The clip was indeed a major point of discussion at CinemaCon, showing one of the victims of Madame Blanc’s dance academy/coven of witches being brutally and unknowingly contorted into knots by the academy’s newest student, played by Dakota Johnson. With graphic violence and disturbing imagery throughout its 152-minute runtime, critics have been wildly varied in their opinions of the film, giving it a 69 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Comparisons have been made to last year’s “mother!,” another disturbing horror film that deeply polarized audiences with its aim to scare viewers beyond their comfort zone.
But unlike “mother!,” “Suspiria” will remain a limited release film, with plans next week to expand it to approximately 250 screens. It’s unlikely that the film will match the box office run made by Guadagnino’s last film, the Oscar-winner “Call Me by Your Name.” The Italian romance rode its awards contender status to a long shelf life at the box office, earning $18 million domestically.
Less impressive this weekend was the opening of “London Fields,” a dystopian noir film starring Amber Heard that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival three years ago. Its release was delayed until last month by a lawsuit filed by Heard against the producers.
Set in a dystopian future, “London Fields” stars Heard as a femme fatale who becomes involved with three different men — a wealthy financier (Theo James), a petty criminal (Jim Sturgess), and a failing author (Billy Bob Thornton). All three intensely desire her, and by the end of the film, one of them murders her. Released by GVN, the film only made $160,705 from 613 screens for an average of just $262.
Elsewhere, Fox Searchlight’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” expanded to 25 theaters in seven cities this weekend, posting another strong outing with $380,000 and a per screen average of $15,200. Searchlight will expand the film again to 125-150 screens this weekend, with the studio planning a peak of 500 screens next month.
A24’s “Mid 90s” written and directed by Jonah Hill expanded to 1206 screens this weekend and got off to a solid nationwide start with $3 million, placing it in the top 10 on this weekend’s charts. National Geographic’s “Free Solo” added another million from 390 screens for a total of $5.1 million after five weekends.
Amazon’s “Beautiful Boy” added just under $593,000 from 190 screens to give it a three-weekend total of $1.4 million. Bleecker Street’s “Colette” has passed the $4 million mark, earning $327,636 for a total of $4.4 million after six weekends.
Finally, in keeping with the Halloween season, Fox re-released the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on 225 screens, earning $360,000 this weekend. Adjusted for inflation, “Rocky Horror” has grossed over $480 million from its initial theatrical run in 1975 and from countless midnight screenings in the decades since.