There was a stampede of new titles opening this weekend at the specialty box office, and despite coronavirus-induced fears of being in close proximity in theaters, there weren’t any glaring slumps in the indie and arthouse space. Of the films released this weekend, First Cow made some moo-ves at the box office, earning an estimated $96,059 with a per-theater average of $24,015. Not only is that an impressive debut for the A24 title, but it marks a career-high for the talented auteur Kelly Reichardt.
The period film about a prized bovine, starring John Magaro and Orion Lee, had four exclusive runs in New York at the AMC Lincoln Square and Angelika, as well as Los Angeles at the Arclight Hollywood and Landmark. The opening was a solid start for the film that will hopefully fuel the long roll-out that will continue into spring. Reichardt has been lauded for her intimate, cinematic gaze of the rural Pacific Northwest, and her past four films have progressively improved in opening numbers, with First Cow topping them all. If the pattern continues into the film’s expansion, her latest can be her best-performing film at the box office.
Wendy and Lucy (2008) opened in two theaters to the tune of $18,218 before earning nearly $1.2 million at the global box office, while Meek’s Cutoff (2010) debuted in two theaters to $20,024, banking another $1.2 million for her. Her 2013 film, Night Moves, earned $21,488 when it opened in two theaters, but was the lowest-grossing pic, making $858,513 worldwide. But she rebounded in 2016 with the celebrated Certain Women, which opened in five theaters to $60,898 before going on to earn over $1.5 million globally, making it her most successful film at the box office.
Currently sitting at a fresh 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, First Cow is co-written by Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond and premiered at Telluride last year. Set in the 19th century, the film follows a lone cook (Magaro) as he travels west with a group of fur trappers. Out of all of them, he connects with a Chinese immigrant (Lee), and they collaborate on a lucrative business that hinges on the participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow.
The weekend saw many films opening on less than five screens and delivering numbers that ranged from noteworthy to predictable to meh-worthy. Kino Lorber’s Brazilian social thriller Bacurau from Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles opened on two screens in New York to earn an estimated $15,210, with reported sold-out screenings, while Greenwich Entertainment’s docu The Booksellers from director D.W. Young debuted at the Quad in New York and earned $17,000 — which was expected, considering the theater caters to such tastes. Greenwich certainly knows its audience. The same could be said for Metrograph’s re-release of Fruit Chan’s Made In Hong Kong, which earned $12,000.
The IFC Films pic Swallow digested an estimated $14,100 in its opening weekend across three theaters in New York and Los Angeles, with decent runs on both coasts despite a reduced schedule. While the Sony Pictures Classic neo-noir thriller Burnt Orange Heresy didn’t deliver any numbers to call home about, it was earning $18,296 in its opening weekend.
Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman’s supernatural comedy Extra Ordinary currently sits at 100% at Rotten Tomatoes and opened as part of a non-exclusive Drafthouse theaters-supported initiative. It played at the majority of Drafthouse locations and earned an estimated $83,954, with a per-screen average of $2,623. Fair numbers for the film, but with such a high Rotten Tomatoes number, one would expect the average to be better. Meanwhile, the Roadside Attractions drama Hope Gap had 18 runs in six markets, had a sleepy opening with $32,655.
Focus Features continues to bring the charm of Emma, as it expanded to a staggering 1,565 theaters and added an estimated $5 million in its third week out to bring its cume to $6,900,000. Ranking at 6th place at the box office this weekend, the film also opened internationally in 10 new markets, grossing $1.5 million to bring its international cume to $14 million. Combined with domestic gross, Autumn de Wilde’s visionary take on the Jane Austen classic has banked a cume of $20.9 million worldwide.
Impractical Jokers: The Movie shed some theaters this weekend, but still is holding strong, earning $1.8 million, which makes its cume cross the $8 million mark. The 101 Studios Burden struggled in its opening weekend, and the needle moved in its second week with its expansion to 31 locations, grossing an estimated $40,205, while Neon’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire upped its screen count to 334 to earn $540,000, making its cume cross the $3 million mark.
Baaghi 3 (FIP) – Week 1 [265 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $502,000, Average $1,894
Bacurau (Kino Lorber) – Week 1 [2 Screens] Weekend/Cume $15,210, Average $7,605
Beneath Us (Vital Pictures) – Week 1 [165 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $131,482, Average $797
The Booksellers (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 1 [1 Theater] Weekend/Cume $17,000
Burnt Orange Heresy (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 1 [4 Screens] Weekend/Cume $18,296, Average $4,574
Extra Ordinary (Good Deed Entertainment) – Week 1 [32 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $83,954, Average $2,623
First Cow (A24) – Week 1 [4 Screens] Weekend/Cume $96,059, Average $24,015
Hope Gap (Roadside Attractions) – Week 1 [18 Screens] Weekend/Cume $32,655, Average $1,814
Made In Hong Kong (Metrograph) – Week 1 [1 Theater] Weekend/Cume $12,000
Swallow (IFC Films) – Week 1 [3 Theaters] Weekend/Cume $14,100, Average $4,700
Burden (101 Studios) – Week 2 [31 Theaters] Weekend $40,205, Average $1,297, Cume $68,243
Greed (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 2 [596 Screens] Weekend $213,799, Average $359, Cume $244,874
Saint Frances (Oscilloscope Laboratories) – Week 2 [4 Screen] Weekend $14,220, Average $3,555, Cume $31,640
CatVideoFest 2020 (Oscilloscope Labs) – Week 3 [27 Screens] Weekend $41,150, Average $1,524, Cume $478,775
Emma. (Focus Features) – Week 3 [1,565 Theaters] Weekend $5,000,000, Average $3,199, Cume $6,900,000
Impractical Jokers: The Movie (WarnerMedia) – Week 3 [1,750 Theaters] Weekend $1,811,000, Average $1,035, Cume $8,545,000
Las Pildoras De Mi Novio (My Boyfriend’s Meds) (Pantelion Films) – Week 3 [280 Theaters] Weekend $252,782, Average $903, Cume $2,801,000
The Last Full Measure (Roadside Attractions) – Week 7 [48 Screens] Weekend $16,990, Average $354, Cume $2,934,315
The Lodge (Neon) – Week 5 [96 Screens] Weekend $53,050, Average $553, Cume $1,654,938
Parasite (Neon) – Week 22 [625 Screens] Weekend $638,600, Average $1,022, Cume $52,812,054
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Neon) – Week 5 [334 Screens] Weekend $540,000, Average $1,617, Cume $3,362,281
Seberg (Amazon Studios) – Week 3 [213 Theaters] Weekend $26,860, Average $126, Cume $414,781