Bleecker Street’s sci-fi romantic comedy I’m Your Man blasted off – relatively speaking in today’s specialty market – with a per screen average of $2,139 in 16 theaters in North America (12 U.S., four in Canada).
Directed by Maria Schrader film with Maren Eggert and Dan Stevens, it was the rare specialty film of late to pass $2K per screen in limited release. New York and Los Angeles (Lincoln Square, the Angelika in NY and The Landmark in LA) were standouts. It also played San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Phoenix and Dallas. Bleecker will expand in those markets next week and add 15 new ones.
Stevens (Downton Abbey, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga) supported the film at a Q&A at the Landmark Saturday. It has a 17-day exclusive theatrical window.
Bleeker estimates a cume of $34,239. Friday, $10,377; Saturday, $14,727; and Sunday, $9,135. The film ranked 20th at the North American box office this weekend.
Meanwhile, young distributor Utopia (Shiva Baby) also made a splash with El Planeta, a dark comedy exploring contemporary poverty, female desire and a complicated mother-daughter relationship. The film — directed, written, produced by and starring Spanish artist-turned-filmmaker Amalia Ulman — was well received at Sundance and opened in New York at the IFC Center to an estimated $7,181.
It adds the Museum of the Moving Image in NY and the Landmark Westwood in LA next weekend then expands to 10-15 more markets and onto digital Oct. 8.
The meta mother-daughter, glam-grifter tale was IFC’s top performer driven by Q&A’s with Ulman Thurs.-Sat. nights. Her debut feature has been backed by a strong critical response – 96% on Rotten Tomatoes — a social media campaign by Utopia and by the artist, who has a strong following (some of her projects have been Instagram-based). She also has fans in art world, fashion and style, attracting a generally younger crowd than the arthouse average.
Utopia VP of Marketing and Distribution Kyle Greenberg said he’s “thrilled” with the opening, especially as the specialty market is currently getting crowded and theaters are extremely cautious about what they book. The number “gives us some wind in our sails,” he said as it seeks to build an audience and word of mouth and keep the film in theaters.
“This is a project worth taking the risk on,” he said.
It portrays a daughter (Amalia Ulman) returning home after the death of her father who reconnects with her eccentric mother (real life mom Ale Ulman, making her acting debut), The two hustle to maintain a semblance of their middle-class lifestyle in the face of impending eviction. With Nacho Vigalondo and Zhou Chen. It ranked 23rd at the box office.
Elsewhere in specialty, Hamsini Entertainment released Love Story (Telugu) in 271 locations for a weekend debut of $893,765. The film stars Naga Chaitanya, Sai Pallavi and is directed by Shekar Kammula. It was ranked10th.
Going wider, Searchlight estimates a 3-day gross of $621K for The Eyes Of Tammy Faye. The cumulative gross for the picture now stands at $1.53M in week 2. It added over 900 new theatres this weekend with the print count at 1,367. A new opening, the Balcourt in Nashville, Tenn., took the top spot. Also in the top ten were the Alamo in Brooklyn, AMC Lincoln Square in Manhattan, Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, Alamo in Springfield Mo., Enzian Orlando, Nighthawk Williamsburg, Varsity in Toronto, Angelika NY, and the Grove in Los Angeles.
The Michael Showalter film stars Jessica Chastain, Andrew Garfield, Cherry Jones, and Vincent D’Onofrio.
Also in its second weekend, from Focus Features, Blue Bayou grossed an estimated $155,000 in 487 theatres with a cume of $639,000. The distrib’s The Card Counter in weekend 3 earned $290k in 739 theaters for a PTA of $395 and a North American cume through Sunday of $2.396M.
Eyes, Card Counter and Blue Bayou ranked, respectively, at 11, 12 and 13.
Specialty films, including some featured in Deadline’s Specialty Preview from Friday, don’t release weekend grosses until early in the week.