Specialty box office: Everyone’s into that pricey Sundance pick-up

Those who can see it are seeing "The Way, Way Back," starring Nat Faxon (who co-wrote/-directed), Sam Rockwell, Liam James and Maya Rudolph. Credit: Fox Searchlight
Those who can see it are seeing “The Way, Way Back,” starring Nat Faxon (who co-wrote/-directed), Sam Rockwell, Liam James and Maya Rudolph.
Credit: Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight picked up “The Way, Way Back” — a slovenly, all-star “I’ll never forget that summer” ditty — at Sundance for $10 million. So it’s a good thing that people are actually seeing it. According to Indiewire, in its first, soft weekend, it grossed a mighty $525,000 from 19 theaters, for a $30,263 average. That’s nothing to sneeze at, though it’s hard seeing the picture having the same legs as the ultimate pricey Sundance pick-up, “Little Miss Sunshine,” which also featured Steve Carell and Toni Collette. The film, which stars Liam James as a mega-introvert who makes unlikely friends (like Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph) while on dysfunctional family vacation in a New England beach town, expands further next weekend, and by July 26 will be everywhere.

Such glories did not occur for another “Little Miss Sunshine” vet. “Stuck in Love,” starring Greg Kinnear as a writer struggling with amour (alongside Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman and others), did only $38,135 from 21 theaters, for a weak $1,816 average.

In terms of holdovers, the background singers documentary “Twenty Feet From Stardom” crossed the $1 million line, and will likely become the highest grossing documentary of the year (so far). And “Before Midnight,” a scathing, unpleasantly honest look at the problems maintaining true love over a long-term, serious relationship, crossed the $8 million line. The previous installment in the series, “Before Midnight,” made “only” just north of $5 million nine years ago.

In other news, “Byzantium,” which brings “Interview With the Vampire” director Neil Jordan back to the ever-popular bloodsucker genre, only with women this time, has only made $43,000 at the North American box office. Good job, America. This is why we can’t have nice things. In brighter news, Jem Cohen’s very excellent “Museum Hours” expanded into three theaters (from two, last weekend) and had the highest per-screen average among the holdovers, with $32,328 for a $10,776 average. Perhaps humanity isn’t doomed.

For more, including even more numbers, please consult the original Indiewire piece.


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