Box office report: ‘Tinker Tailor’ expands well, ‘Dragon Tattoo’ still strong

All the adult-oriented films competing with each other over the holidays meant that there was still an audience for each this weekend. And there was still room for a film to expand beyond its limited release to a wider audience. 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Focus)  – week 5
$5,767,000 in 809 theaters (+ 752); PSA (Per-screen-average): $7,129; Cumulative: $8,803,577
Besides horror flick “The Devil’s Inside” which opened at #1, this film was the only significant new presence in theaters nationwide. It had the second best PSA among the top 10. While it came in at #9 for the week, it ranked much higher in nearly all of its new dates.

The good not great gross is nearly identical to that for “The Descendants” when it expanded to over 800 screens a month ago. However, that film had been playing at a greater number of theaters the week before. The PSA is somewhat comparable to Focus’ post-New Year’s weekend expansion of “Atonement” four years ago, which had a higher gross playing in more theaters. 

Bottom line: Can “TTSS” continue to benefit from the same strong WOM (word of mouth) of its earlier limited run. Oscar nominations, which are not certain, would be a bonus in a few weeks. “Atonement,” aided greatly by multiple Oscar nods, got to $50 million while “The Descendants” will end up considerably beyond that.

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War Horse” (Buena Vista) – week 3
$8,600,000 in 2,783 theaters (+ 236); PSA: $3,090; Cumulative: $56,830,000
Down 40% despite a small boost in theaters, this is the weakest hold among the top eight films in PSA. Reaching $100 million domestic may prove difficult.  

Bottom line: By the time nominations are announced, this may have lost many theaters. Disney would have to make a new push for dates and launch an expensive new campaign.

“Pariah” (Focus)  – week 2
$111,573 in 11 (+7); PSA: $10,521; Cumulative: $235,000
A modest three-city expansion shows that, despite solid reviews (Metacritic score 79), this is failing to go beyond its niche audience.

Bottom line: This likely didn’t get lost in the shuffle. Rather, a wider audience is a hard sell for a drama about African-American lesbians.

The Iron Lady” (Weinstein) – week 2
$172,100 in 5; PSA: $34,420; Cumulative: $516,000
Down only 22% from the holiday weekend, which is quite good. It added one strong LA theater: the one closest to Beverly Hills and a large number of Academy voters. I am actually more impressed by this number than the opening gross. Whatever issues critics had with the film, audiences are responding to Streep.

Bottom line: This expands into more limited markets next weekend to capitalize on upcoming awards shows.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony) – week 3
$11,300,000 in 2,950 (+ 36); PSA: $3,831; Cumulative: $73,840,000
This might be the story of the weekend as it holding much better than early numbers indicated and is down only 23% following a holiday frame. Whether it is good WOM or just that a dark story like this is more appropriate when the Christmas tree has been taken down, Sony should be thrilled.

Bottom line: This is going to be on screens for several more weeks. And with PGA and WGA nominations, it could also end up being a stronger Oscar contender than originally thought.

A Separation” (Sony Classics) – week 2
$96,618 in 3 theaters (unchanged); PSA $32,206
Down only 10% from its first weekend, this joins “Pina” and “The Iron Lady” as strong new films for specialized theaters around the country over the next few weeks. 

Bottom line:  These grosses and wins from the National Society of Film Critics could aid its chances in the foreign language category.

“Pina” (IFC-Sundance Selects) – week 3
$81,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $27,000; Cumulative: $383,000
This was already a strong performer, but a jump of 14% post-holidays is amazing. At the moment, “Pina” is only playing in New York, which could be disproportionately strong for a documentary about a dance company. But even so, it has enhance its exposure in the rest of the country.

Bottom line: If Academy documentary and foreign language committee members react the same way as audiences, this could be the first ever dual nominee in those categories.

The Artist” (Weinstein) – week 7
$1,136,000 in 172 (+5); PSA: $6,604; Cumulative: $7,114,000
Finally, some encouraging signs for “The Artist.” Down only 13% from last weekend at mainly the same theaters, the earlier resistance to this film seems to be starting to melt just in time.

Bottom line: It remains a limited audience film at this point. Perhaps heavy awards attention will find it a broader audience.

The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight) – week 8
$2,565,000 in 737 (- 19); PSA $3600; Cumulative: $43,891,000
Yet another fine hold, down only 22%. This has already shown strength throughout the holidays. That it continues post-holidays validates earlier expectations that this could top $100 million ultimately.

Bottom line: A wider release after the nominations now looks quite sustainable as the current grosses are decent enough for most of the current theaters to continue.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” (Warner Brothers) – week 3
$96,000 in 3 theaters; PSA: $16,000; Cumulative: $495,000
In its still very limited NY/LA theaters, this fell 50% in a strong weekend for adult/awards films. This comes despite very heavy newspaper advertising (full pages) to try to rescue the film.

Bottom line: It’s hard to see how WB can turn this around for the still-anticipated wide release later this month.

The Adventures of Tintin” (Paramount) – week 3
$6,600,000 in 3,006 theaters (- 81); PSA: $2,196; Cumulative: $61,880,000
And still “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” in 2D outgrossed it by 50%, even post-holidays with people catching up and no new kids’ film out there.

Bottom line: Put the grosses of the two Spielberg performances together and it would be closer to what was thought possible for each.


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