All was fairly quiet on the specialty box office front the weekend before Thanksgiving. Todd Haynes’ legal thriller Dark Waters has played well with critics as it sits at a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it has the potential to reach the masses. This weekend, the awards season contender starring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway had a decent opening in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. The pic from Focus Features and Participant Media had a satisfactory initial dive into the box office as it earned an estimated $110,000, with a per-screen average of $27,500, earning the top spot at the Angelika in New York. It is certainly relying on word-of-mouth so that the box office numbers will match its critical acclaim come next week, when expands to approximately 100 theaters.
The Alex Gibney-directed docu Citizen K also had a decent debut, opening at the Laemmle Royale with an estimated weekend gross of $10,250. The latest feature from Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney spotlights post-Soviet Russia from the perspective of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oligarch turned political dissident. The film from Greenwich Entertainment (the same distro company that released last year’s Oscar-winning Free Solo) hopes to build on this opening weekend and its 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as it opens in more theaters in Los Angeles and expands to New York City on January 15 at Film Forum, with a national rollout to additional markets to follow.
Other openings in the specialty space were nothing to get excited about. Oscilloscope’s When Lambs Become Lions had a low opening in Los Angeles, with an estimated weekend gross of $3,155. Fingers crossed that the pic, about the corrupt ivory trade, will gain more traction as it expands to New York theaters on December 6. Meanwhile, South Asian pics George Reddy and Pagalpanti opened fairly soft, with estimated grosses $50,687 and $226,547, respectively. Varda By Agnes, the self-portrait by the iconic storyteller and filmmaker, opened in two theaters at an estimated $12,644, while the docu Shooting the Mafia had a dismal debut at $3,095.
Fresh off of its five nominations at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, A24’s The Lighthouse reached a milestone in its sixth week of release, as it earned an estimated $182,260 this weekend, crossing the $10 million mark. Also under the A24 banner is Waves, expanded to 21 screens in its second week out and adding $168,760 to its box office till, ticking up from its gross from last weekend. The film maintains a high Rotten Tomatoes score with 88%, and earned the talented Taylor Russell a Spirit Award. Other than that, the Trey Edward Shults-family drama was wildly overlooked by the indie awards ceremony, despite moving performances by Kelvin Harrison Jr., Sterling K. Brown, and Renee Elise Goldsberry. A24 hopes Waves will surf into awards season with enough word-of-mouth buzz to pad its box office numbers.
Also riding the announcement of the Spirit Awards nominees was Amazon’s Honey Boy. The Alma Har’el-directed drama starring Shia LaBeouf earned an estimated $269,280 in 44 theaters in its third weekend, which brings it closer to $1 million. That said, it will more than likely cross during the Thanksgiving weekend as it expands to more theaters. LaBeouf’s drama about his relationship with his father and his rocky childhood journey in Hollywood was nominated for four Spirit Awards noms for Director for Har’el and Supporting Male for both LaBeouf and Noah Jupe, as well as Cinematography.
As for awards season favorites Parasite and Jojo Rabbit, they keep rolling along with respectable runs. Bong Joon Ho’s critically acclaimed dark comedy Parasite at Neon earned an estimated $1,218,500, and it is on track to hit $20 million at the domestic box office. Fox Searchlight continues to shine with Taika Waititi’s World War II satire Jojo Rabbit,which has banked an estimated $1,538,000 in its sixth weekend and is also looking to cross the $20 million mark domestically.
Citizen K (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 1 [1 Theater] Weekend/Cume $10,250
Dark Waters (Focus Features) – Week 1 [4 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $110,000, Average $27,500
George Reddy (Abhishek Pictures) – Week 1 [60 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $50,687, Average $845
Pagalpanti (Eros) – Week 1 [120 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $226,547, Average $1,888
Shooting the Mafia (Cohen Media) – Week 1 [2 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $3,095, Average $1,548
Varda By Agnes (Janus Films) – Week 1 [2 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $12,644, Average $6,322
When Lambs Become Lions (Oscilloscope Laboratories) – Week 1 [1 Screen] Weekend/Cume $3,155
Everybody’s Everything (Gunpowder & Sky) – Week 2 [19 Theaters] Weekend $19,169, Average $1,009, Cume $500,649
Mickey and the Bear (Utopia) – Week 2 [4 Theater2] Weekend $8,010, Average $2,002, Cume $19,245
Waves (A24) – Week 2 [21 Screens] Weekend $168,760, Average $8,036, Cume $335,991
American Dharma (Utopia) – Week 4 [3 Theaters] Weekend $2,267, Average $756, Cume $30,011
Better Days (Well Go USA) – Week 3 [32 Theaters] Weekend $84,985, Average $2,656, Cume $1,832,000
Honey Boy (Amazon Studios) – Week 3 [44 Theaters] Weekend $269,280, Average $6,120, Cume $939,676
The Kingmaker (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 3 [7 Theaters] Weekend $7,500, Average $1,071, Cume $56,135
Jay & Silent Bob Reboot (Saban Films) – Week 6 [5 Screens] Weekend $64,688, Average $12,937, Cume $2,762,773
Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight) – Week 6 [787 Theaters] Weekend $1,538,000, Average $1,954, Cume $16,091,000
Judy (Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment) – Week 9 [58 Screens] Weekend $35,300, Average $612, Cume $23,844,489
The Lighthouse (A24) – Week 6 [113 Screens] Weekend $182,260, Average $1,613, Cume $10,172,945
Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 8 [217 Screens] Weekend $135,279, Average $623, Cume $3,320,813
Parasite (Neon) – Week 7 [433 Screens] Weekend $1,218,500, Average $2,814, Cume $16,461,940