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‘The Farewell’ Expands Wide as ‘Luce’ Opens at Indie Box Office

Two Sundance films take center stage on the arthouse scene

As “The Farewell” expanded yet again this weekend, another Sundance film arrived at the indie box office as NEON and Topic Studios released the psychological thriller “Luce” on five screens in Los Angeles and New York.

Directed by Julius Onah and based on J.C. Lee’s stage play, “Luce” stars Octavia Spencer as a teacher who confronts a wealthy white couple (Naomi Watts and Tim Roth) when their adopted African son (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) submits a school essay that advocates for “violence as a cleansing force.” With a 94% Rotten Tomatoes score, “Luce” earned $132,916 for a strong per screen average of $26,583.

Meanwhile, A24 expanded “The Farewell” to 409 screens, earning $2.3 million to rank seventh among all films this weekend. The acclaimed film, which was acquired by A24 at Sundance for a reported $6 million, now has a box office total of $6.7 million.

Back on the new release side, IFC released Jennifer Kent’s intense historical drama “The Nightingale” on two screens, grossing just under $50,000. The film stars Aisling Franciosi as an Irish convict in 19th century Australia who seeks revenge on the vicious British lieutenant (Sam Claifin) who rapes her and murders her husband and child. The film has a 79% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Next weekend sees the release of Roadside Attractions’ adventure film “The Peanut Butter Falcon” starring Shia LaBeouf, as well as the documentary “One Child Nation.”