‘The Worst Person In The World’ Bests Arthouse In Upbeat Weekend For Indie Film – Specialty Box Office

Neon’s The Worst Person In the World racked up a few bests this weekend with a cume of $135,042 at four NY/LA theaters for a popping per screen average of $33,768.

The poignant comedy from Norway by Joachim Trier that premiered at Cannes (star Renate Reinsve took Best Actress) has great word of mouth. It’s shortlisted for Best International Film as Oscar nods loom and scored two BAFTA nominations, Best Foreign Language Film and Actress for Reinsve.

Experiencing the film “in a cinema with an audience was one of the best times I’ve had all year. Seeing packed theaters in NY and LA felt so good, and was a true signifier for the return of the platform release and our specialty box office. I couldn’t be more pleased to see the heartfelt embrace for this film and independent cinema overall,” Neon distribution chief Elissa Federoff said Sunday.

“We started to see presales early and the social traction on it. There was buzz around this, excitement. We haven’t seen this kind of result since Portrait Of A Lady On Fire. It’s like the way it used to be,” Federoff told Deadline.

Others were also heartened by the weekend numbers, hoping at some point soon to call a turning point in a market that’s been crippled by a slow re-entry of older arthouse demos. “Signs of good things to come,” said another distribution exec. The waning of the Omicron variant is key, but there’s a lag. “It’s definitely helping but we have to wait a few weeks,” said another.

As per Neon, The Worst Person had the highest PSA for any film of 2022, and the third-highest for any film of 2021 after Licorice Pizza and Spider-Man: No Way Home. (On four screens, hard to compare to Spidey but still a juggernaut on its own turf).

The distrib also said Worst had the highest PSA of any foreign language film of the past two years after Parasite and Portrait of a Lady on Fire and is in the top 20 PSAs of all time for a foreign language film. It’s the largest opening for any Norwegian film. The audience skewed 60% female, 40% male with 60% under 35. Showings included four sold-out, in-theater Q&A’s in NYC with Trier and Reinsve. (Q&A sellouts across arthouses have been a consistent bright spot in a glum specialty market.)

Grosses were $54,526 Fri; $46,009 Sat.; $34,507 Sun. It expands to about 50 runs in top markets next weekend and further on 2/18 and 2/25. The film in 12 chapters set in Oslo follows a young woman’s quest for love and meaning in the modern world.

In other openings, Cohen Media Group’s Breaking Bread grossed $5,026 on two screens in NY/LA for a PSA of $2,513. The doc, about preparations for the 2017 A-Sham Festival in Haifa, Israel where Arab and Jewish chefs teamed up to create dishes, rolls out to top markets next weekend including Boston, Miami, West Palm, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

Mubi’s drama from Cannes Lingui, The Sacred Bonds grossed $3,170 on one crowded screen at the Film Forum in NYC. The film, about a poor 15-year-old girl seeking an abortion in an Islamic African country where the practice is both taboo and illegal, expands to LA, D.C., Miami, Denver, Seattle and other market in coming weeks.

Sony Pictures Classics’ Parallel Mothers (Week 7) grossed $191,808 on 448 screens (last week 684), a per screen average of 428 and a cume of $1.3+M. The Pedro Almodovar film starring Penelope Cruz was also jolt of energy at the specialty market back when it opened.

SPC’s Compartment No. 6 grossed $11,522 in week 2 on six screens for a PSA of $1,920. Cume $32,998. SPC’s Who We Are in week 4 grossed $50,879 on 357 screens — way up from 3 last week — for a per screen average of $143 and a cume of $87,891.

Bleecker Street estimates Sundown will gross $104,300 in week 2 for a cume of $134,557. The film is on 195 screens — up from six — for a weekend PSA of $535.

Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché from Utopia grossed $4,212 on six screens from 2/4 to 2/6. PSA of $702. A $32,689 cume in week 2.

Major indie holdovers ongoing in theaters include United Artists Releasing Licorice Pizza with 786 runs. Weekend gross, $61,948 ($782 PSA). Cume $12.7M.

UAR’s House of Gucci about $300k on 537 screens (pared by 370) for a PSA $558 and cume of $53M.

Belfast re-expanded for the third weekend to 390 locations. It grossed $190k for the weekend bringing its domestic cume to $7.5milllion.

Heading into its third month, Sideshow/Janus Films’ Drive My Car took in $100,600 on 115 screens for an $875 PSA and new cume of $944,869. With strong buzz going into nominations, the distrib said the film showed weekend-to-weekend increases in all six of its NYC theaters (hit by a storm last weekend) and strong debuts in Providence, Phoenix and Cleveland.

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