Monday, April 15, 2024
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‘Late Night With The Devil’, Indian Film Duo Rock

IFC Films’ Late Night With The Devil topped the specialty market in its second week, as a Tollywood and a Bollywood film both made the top ten in a rare occurrence. Strong horror and Indian fare have helped buoy the box office since Covid. They continue to fill in the top ten, including this week, which boasts a monstrous hit in Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire — but is a neighborhood with fewer overall wide release due to Hollywood strikes.

Scary first: Late Night With The Devil by Australian duo Colin and Cameron Cairnes stars David Dastmalchian, perfection as a late 1970s talk show host whose quest for ratings on a Halloween night broadcast goes nowhere good, unleashing evil into the nation’s living rooms. It grossed $2.2 million on 1,442 screens in week two, for a cume of $6.2 million. The film is in the top ten again, at no. 7.  

A pleased AMC Films’ Group chief Scott Shooman said it “continues show the power of quality films in the marketplace defying horror norms by only dropping 22% and adding four hundred screens due to increased demand.”

“We are proud to say this is now IFC’s fifth highest grossing film,” he added.

Last week, Late Night  became the distributor’s largest opening weekend ever with an estimated $2.8+ million on 1,043 screens, coming in at no. 6 at the domestic box office.

This is also the also the first weekend in about three months with two Indian films in the top ten. Debuting at no. 8, Prathyangira Cinemas Tillu Square rocked 450 theaters for a gross of $1.83 million. The Telugu-language (Tollywood) romantic crime caper directed by Mallik Ram is the sequel to the 2022 film DJ Tillu. Siddhu Jonnalagadda reprises his role from the first film, while Anupama Parameswaran plays the female lead in the twisty thriller.

In ninth place is FunAsia Films’ Crew, a Bollywood (Hindi) film that opened to an estimated $1.49 million at 485 theaters. A comic caper adventure that sees a group air hostesses from Mumbai set out on a journey to pursue their dreams. Directed by Rajesh Krishnan. Stars Tabu, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kriti Sanon, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Kapil Sharma, Diljit Dosanjh and. Pooja Bhamrrah.

Tillu Square and Crew grosses are courtesy of Comscore.

Indian films have been a U.S. box office staple for years with local audience Stateside and sometimes cross over to a wide audience, as with RRR. But their relative importance has grow post-pandemic and they remain crucial currently given a thinned-out release schedule. The last time two Indian films both opened in the top 10 was in late December with Salaar: Part 1 – Ceasefire and Dunki. Other great performing titles of late include Jawan, Pathann and Animal.

Indian films usually open day and date in India and North America, where they often bring out entire extended families. They usually don’t stick around for more than a week or two, except in special cases like RRR. But there’s a pretty steady pipeline of new fare to keep screens busy.

In 11th place, Samuel Goldwyn Film’s In The Land Of Saints And Sinners with Liam Neeson opened to an estimated $1 million on 896 screens. The Monster fight film likely siphoned off audiences for the actioner by Oscar-nominated Robert Lorenz. Set in a remote coastal town in 1970s Ireland. Neeson is Finbar Murphy, a retired hit man facing down a menacing crew of terrorists. A great cast with Kerry Condon, Jack Gleeson, Colm Meaney and Ciarán Hinds.

Reviews are great with Rotten Tomatoes critics and audiences. And Saturday rose 27% from Friday (when removing Thursday sneaks), the distributor noted, indicating great word of mouth. The film played strongest on the West Coast with top theaters including AMC Century City, Ipic River Oaks, Regal Irvine Spectrum, Cinepolis Del Mar, iPic Fulton Street and Harkins Estrella Falls.

Neeson and Condon have been out promoting the Venice-premiering film, including it on top national shows The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Good Morning America. 

Moderate release: Asphalt City from Vertical and Roadside Attractions opened at $130k on 298 screens. Starring Tye Sheridan and Sean Penn as two paramedics over the course of one hellish night in New York City. The film directed by Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire was a harder sell at 44% with critics, no RT audience scores yet.

Limited releases: They did nicely. Sony Pictures Classics’ Olivia Colman-starring Wicked Little Letters grossed $87.9k on five screens ($17.5k per screen). Thea Sharrock’s period comedy follows two neighbors, deeply conservative local Edith Swan (Colman) and rowdy Irish migrant Rose Gooding (Jessie Buckley). When Edith and fellow residents begin to receive wicked letters full of unintentionally hilarious profanities, foul-mouthed Rose is charged with the crime. But is she guilty? Premiered at TIFF.

Altas Distribution grossed $73k over the three days at 55 locations from Vietnamese romance-music-drama A Fragile Flower by Mai Thu Huyền. The film stars Thach Thao (Maya) as a beautiful young singer her first time on stage at the Itango Club, where she catches the eye of a music producer and scores a gig to sing on a music video called A Fragile Flower. It makes her famous and desired. But all is not what it seems.

Alice Rorwacher’s La Chimera from Neon took in $45k on three screens for a $15k PSA. Stars Josh O’Connor as Arthur, a young Brit who arrives in 1980s Italy and hooks up with a ragtag group of Tombaroli, or robbers who loot ancient Etruscan graves. Premiered at Cannes. With Isabella Rossellini, Alba Rohrwacher, Carol Duarte, Luca Chicovani and Vincenzo Nemolato.

Le Samouraï from Janus Films, the 4k restoration of Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 French noir starring Alain Delon, grossed about $10k at the Film Forum in NYC. Runs through April 11.

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