‘Licorice Pizza’ Delivers: Paul Thomas Anderson Pic’s Opening Among Filmmaker’s Best With Record Screen Average – Specialty Box Office

Remember when New York and Los Angeles use to post big figures for the opening of a specialty film at the box office?

Well, those days look to be coming back.

United Artist Releasing’s MGM Paul Thomas Anderson’s 1970s teen comedy Licorice Pizza posted a huge $83,8K opening screen average from four theaters, which the studio is calling an-all-time record.

How is that? Well, when it comes to the top opening theater averages, many of those are comprised of multiple screens a theater, while Licorice Pizza is literally making its moola from four screens at the LA Regency Village, NYC’s Lincoln Square, Village East and Alamo Brooklyn. All of them are 70MM prints. Anderson shot the movie, which showcases the frosh talents of indie rocker Alana Haim and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s son Cooper Hoffman, in 35MM but had the prints blown up. Anderson shot the movie old school using physical film stock and lenses to achieve an authentic look. Licorice Pizza is loosely based on the teenage actor days of Tom Hanks’ producer Gary Goetzman, and follows a young actor’s pursuit of a girl in her early 20s as they try and launch a waterbed business together in the San Fernando Valley. The title of the movie is named after an old record-store in the Valley which was a big hang for local teens.

The movie is booked at LA’s Regency Village for the next month, and it turned in the best gross at the venue in 25 years; Licorice Pizza reaping close to half of its weekend gross from that cinema.

The pic’s total weekend of $335K bests the specialty launches of previous Anderson fare including 2014’s Inherent Vice ($328K, 5 theaters), 2017’s Phantom Thread ($216K, 4 theaters), 1999’s Magnolia ($193,6K from 7 theaters), 2007’s There Will Be Blood ($190,7K, 2 theaters), 1997’s Boogie Nights ($50,1K, 2 theaters) and Hard Eight ($69,4K, 29 theaters). Licorice Pizza‘s debut ranks behind the openings of the 8x Oscar nominee’s The Master ($736K, 5 theaters) and 2002’s Punch Drunk Love ($367K, 5 theaters). UAR Distribution Boss Erik Lomis worked with Anderson on the release of The Master which also had 70MM bookings.

According to studio polling, those who ordered Licorice Pizza had been waiting to see it for quite some time: Over 55% of the audience decided they were going to watch Anderson’s latest either a year or months ago. The 18-34 demo was enormous at 72% who gave it an 87% positive rating and 73% definite recommend.  Diversity demos were 70% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic and Latino, 3% Black and 8% Asian. Close to 70% of the audience were college graduates. Guys repped 66% of the audience.

UAR plans to sneak the movie in a few markets this coming weekend before going wide with it at Christmas.

UAR also had extra bragging rights in bringing adults back over Thanksgiving with Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci which opened to $21.8M over 5-days, the best opening for a drama film since 2019’s Little Women. 

Of those arthouse titles expanding due to the holiday and seeing a boost in their ticket sales are A24’s C’mon, C’mon (+119%), Focus Features’ Belfast (+3%), and Sony Pictures Classics’ Julie Cohen-Betsy West documentary Julia (+126%).

Notable performances at Thanksgiving box office for Nov. 24-28.

Caitríona Balfe and Jamie Dornan in 'Belfast'

Belfast (Foc) 1,128 (+544) theaters, Wed $170K (+36%),Thurs $150K/ Fri $380K/Sat $350K/Sun $240k/PTA $860/3-day $970K (+3%), 5-day: $1.3M/Total $4.99M/Wk 3
New York continues to be the top market for the Kenneth Branagh-directed black and white movie, seeing 11% of the weekend followed by Boston (5%), Philly (4.7%), LA (4.5%), and Chicago (4%). Canada is drove close to 10% of the weekend’s gross with Toronto accounting for 2.2% of the weekend. Finale domestic endgame here is looking like $7M.

The French Dispatch (Sea) 450 (-355) theaters, Wed $122K,Thurs $109K/ Fri $235K/Sat $250K/Sun $137k/PTA $1,38K/3-day $622K (-38%), 5-day: $853K /Total $14.4M/Wk 6
The Wes Anderson directed movie which dynamited the specialty box office with $1.3M opening at 52 locations will likely end its stateside run at $16M.

Licorice Pizza (UAR) 4 screens, Fri $142K/Sat $105K/Sun $89K/ $83,75K PTA/3-day $335K/Wk 1

C'mon C'mon

C’mon, C’mon (A24) 102 (+97) theaters Wed $54,2K,Thurs $30K/ Fri $96,3K/Sat $109,7K/Sun $87,7k/PTA $2,88K/3-day $293,8K (+119%), 5-day: $378K /Total $528,8K/Wk 2
We are hearing that the Mike Mills directed movie is seeing most of its business in its expansion from NY, LA, Boston and Toronto despite a footprint in 36 markets. A24 also had The Humans booked at 17 runs in 17 markets, but that was day-and-date on Showtime, and we hear the figures are around $13K for the five-day weekend.

Antim: The Final Truth (Zee) 310 theaters Fri $85K/Sat $113K/Sun $7k/PTA $887/3-day $275K, 5-day: $361,5K /Wk 1
Mahesh Manjrekar directed action-crime drama follows a cop coming up against the land mafia.

Maanaadu (GINF)110 theaters/Fri $70K/ Sat $76K/ Sun $37,5K/ 3-day $183,5K, 5-day $300K/Wk 1
Venkat Prabhu directed movie follows a state’s chief minister, who on the day of a public conference, finds himself in a time loop with a police officer and bodyguard.

For the Love of Money (Freestyle) 519 theaters, Wed $28K,Thurs $50K/ Fri $80K/Sat $85K/Sun $67k/PTA $447,3-day $232K , 5-day: $310K /Wk 1

Spencer (NEON) 346 (-608) theaters Fri $79,6K/Sat $82,1K/Sun $49,2K/PTA $610, 3-day $211K (-70%)/Total: $6.6M/Wk 4

Sooryavanshi (Rel) 59 (-156) theaters Wed $26K,Thurs $31,3K/ Fri $24,7K/Sat $30,7K/Sun $25k/PTA $1,3K/3-day $80,4K (-67%), 5-day: $137,7K /Total $3.5M/Wk 4

Julia (SPC) 288 (+241) theaters, PTA $332, 3-day $95,6K (+126%), Total $197,6K/Wk 3

India Sweets & Spices (BST) 121 (-222) theaters Wed $11,6K/Thurs $10,6K/Fri $10,5K/Sat $13,1K/Sun $9,5k, PTA $273, 3-day $33,1K (-81%), 5-day $55,3K/Total $247,8K/Wk 2

Drive My Car (Sideshow/Janus) 2 theatres, 3-day $14,9K, PTA $7,4K, 5-day, $20,35K/Wk 1

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