‘You Were Never Really Here’ Rides Cannes Praise to Big Indie Box Office Start

“Isle of Dogs” also performs well, with nationwide expansion coming next week

Off the wave of strong reviews from critics, Amazon’s Cannes thriller “You Were Never Really Here” got off to a good start at the indie box office, releasing on three screens in New York and Los Angeles and making just under $130,000 for a per screen average of $43,304.

“You Were Never Really Here” got heavy marketing aimed towards the arthouse crowd, with trailers and ads touting the Best Screenplay and Best Actor awards the film won for director Lynne Ramsay’s script and Joaquin Phoenix’s lead performance as a trauma-stricken former FBI agent turned hired gun who rescues young girls from sex traffickers. The film holds an 88 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes and now has the second-highest PSA of the year behind “Isle of Dogs.”

Speaking of “Isle of Dogs,” Fox Searchlight expanded the stop-motion animated film to 554 screens in its third weekend, which pushed the film into the top 10 among all films with $4.6 million and a PSA of $8,300. Now with a domestic total of just over $12 million, the film will expand nationwide next weekend to over 1,700 screens.

On the new release list is A24’s horse drama “Lean on Pete,” which made just over $50,000 on four screens in Los Angeles and New York for a per screen average of $12,530. The film stars Charlie Plummer as a teen who bonds with an old horse named Pete after his relationship with his father (Travis Fimmel) ends up on the rocks. When the boy discovers that Pete is scheduled to be slaughtered, he takes the horse and runs away from home.

The film is directed and written by Andrew Haigh and also stars Chloe Sevigny and Steve Buscemi. It currently has a 90 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Among holdovers is FIP’s “Baaghi 2,” a Bollywood action film starring Tiger Shroff and directed by Ahmed Khan, made $255,000 from 124 screens to push its U.S. cume to $1.17 million. Lastly, IFC’s “The Death of Stalin” added $1.1 million in its fifth weekend from 554 screens, bringing its total to $5.6 million.