Jailer, the Tamil-language action thriller with one of India’s most enduring stars, blasted off to circa $2.56 million on 450 screens, hitting the top ten at the box office this weekend, according to Comscore.
Bollywood (Hindi), Tollywood (Telugu) and Kollywood (Tamil) pics, which open day-and-date in India, occasionally cross over to general audience, especially following the RRR global phenomenon last year. Even when they don’t, Indian communities Stateside turn out loyally en masse the first weekend, the more hype and better the reviews locally, the bigger the box office here. The first week is usually the bulk of the run, making way for the next group of titles. There are always a handful premiering each week and they have long been a boon to exhibitors. That was notable during the Covid recovery and will be even more so if the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes continue to impact the release calendar.
Sean Gamble, CEO of the nation’s third biggest theater chain Cinemark, gave a shout out to “multi-cultural” offerings last weekend, as well as faith-based and concert films, which represent a growing chunk of overall revenue. He was talking with Wall Street analysts on a conference call after quarterly earnings, fielding questions about the impact of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike that has seen some release schedule changes.
Jailer, from Prime Media, written and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, is the highest grossing Tamil film so far this year. As Deadline reported, one company based in South India offered employees free tickets to the first showing, another, a half-day off work. (Kollywood is coined from the Kodambakkam neighborhood in the state of Tamil Nadu.)
Gadar 2 from Zee Studios International saw a weekend debut of $1.135 million for a PTA of $3,244 at 350 locations, Comscore said. The sequel to Gadar Ek Prem Katha, is set in 1971, amidst the backdrop of the partition of Bangladesh and East Pakistan.
Specialty releases this weekend: Jules, from Bleecker Street, grossed a respectable $834,450 on 780 screens. Breakdown: Friday $302,158; Saturday; $304,167; Sunday – $228,125. The indie by Marc Turtletaub stars Ben Kingsley as a small town elder who befriends an alien after spaceship crash lands in his backyard. An 88% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. Not surprisingly older-skewing with 90% of audience over 45. Strong word of mouth.
Emmanuel Carrère’s Between Two Worlds from Cohen Media Group took in $6,360 on two screens for a PSA of $3,180. Opens in five key markets and expands in NY and LA Friday, continues to roll out through Labor Day weekend.
MTV Documentary Films The Eternal Memory by Maite Alberdi (The Mole Agent) grossed an estimated $12k at one location, the Angelika Film Center in NYC. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Documentary at Sundance and runner-up for the Panorama Audience doc prize in Berlin. Expands to LA and San Francisco next weekend before rolling out to 25 additional cities this month and into September.
Utopia’s Day by Day, the story of the NCAA champion Nebraska Huskers, opened to an estimated $31K gross and a $4.4K PSA at seven theaters across Lincoln, Omaha and Bellevue (in Nebraska) with Marcus Cinemas. Expanding next weekend. Follows Tom Osborne’s chase for a National Championship as head coach.
Holdovers: Dreamin’ Wild from Roadside Attractions grossed $14.5 on 72 screens (down from 402 last weekend) for an estimated cume of $239k.
Shortcomings from Sony Pictures Classics, by Randall Park, grossed $83,495 on 210 screens (down from 404), for a cume of $557,496.
CatVideoFest 2023 from Oscilloscope grossed $65.2k on 28 screens in week two for a cume of $216.2k.
Mubi’s Passages by Ira Sachs is looking at a $98.8k weekend on 40 screens for an estimated cume of $185,564.
Reissue: Rialto Pictures’ reissue of Winter Kills (1979) is estimated to gross $12,000 on one screen at NYC’s Film Forum. Opening Los Angeles on 8/25 at the New Beverly Cinema.
Still scaring up dough: A24’s horror Talk To Me grossed $5.1M down only 20% from last weekend, passing a $31mm cume in week three. It’s no. 7 at the box office.