of utopia Squaring the Circle (The Story of Hypgnosis) earned about $10,000 from an engagement at the NYC Film Forum, where it was the top-grossing film. Famed filmmaker and photographer Anton Corbijn’s first feature documentary is the story of Hipgnosis, the iconic album art design studio that was a force in the music industry behind some of the most iconic covers of all time. It features new interviews with Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Noel Gallagher and more.
Attendance was supported by a multi-generational crowd of music, design and cinema enthusiasts, Utopia said, with multiple sold-out shows and personal appearances by Corbijn alongside Hipgnosis co-founder Aubrey “Po” Powell. Head of marketing and distribution Kyle Greenberg said the doc appealed to the distributor’s traditional Gen Z fans, along with older demos “who grew up with that music and those albums.”
“Kids are discovering new music all the time. The rise of vinyl over the past few years only increases the value of album design. Even if you are talking about General Z, [Pink Floyd’s] The dark side of the Moon transcends age. People know that album and that design.”
The Sundance and Telluride-acclaimed feature has received strong support from artists featured in the film such as Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel and Gallagher, in addition to support from new champions Chrome Hearts, Posteritati, Criterion Collection and Roxy Cinema (which hosted retrospective screenings of Corbijni control). It expands to LA (Laemmle Royal) next weekend before a larger national expansion with event screenings Tuesday in nearly 100 locations, including AMC, Regal, Angelika and Alamo theaters. It will be on as many screens as possible over the summer, with a digital release in August.
The state of New York’s air quality was in question this weekend after heavy smoke from Canadian wildfires prompted NYC Mayor Eric Adams to urge people to stay indoors. “We were wondering” what the impact would be, Greenberg said. “But we came with strong pre-sales. We didn’t see a big impact in the previews [Wed./Thurs.]. You might ask if it could have been better on Friday, but overall we sold out Friday night for the main show.”
With that directive to stay indoors, it may be that “cinemas were a safe space this weekend,” he said.
Wednesday was the cloudiest day in New York with conditions improving from there. Smoke blanketed most of the East Coast.
Heroic Hold: A24 Past lives took tenth place at the domestic box office in its second week, earning over $520,000 on 26 screens (up from four). Greta Lee’s love story played strongly across markets, the distributor said, with releases continuing to show strong word of mouth. It will continue to roll out ahead of a nationwide expansion on June 23.
Other new openings: Lorber’s cinema Bright red debuted to a solid $8.2K in two theaters for a $4K PTA. Pietro Marcello’s (Martin Eden) The French-language fable is based on a 1923 novel by Russian writer Alexander Grin. It will follow an expansion of the platform in the coming weeks, adding LA. and other major markets on June 23.
Rhythm Boyz Entertainment opened Maurh in 88 countries for a debut weekend of $333.2K for a PTA of $3,787. Two friends fight the oppressive rule of British colonizers and local kings against the backdrop of the untamed sandy badlands of southern Punjab in the late 19th century. Of the distributor Iodine hit big Stateside last month, opening to $802K on 125 screens (after setting a record in April as the most watched Punjabi trailer in 24 hours with over 12 million views on YouTube). It is the third-highest opening weekend 2023 for a Punjabi film in North America after Iodine in May and In order to pass in February.
Blue Fox Entertainment’s Line upgrade starring Brian Cox opened in 403 theaters with a debut weekend of $225.7K ($560 PTA).
IFC’s AllBlk/RLJE Films’ Angry Black Girl and her monster debuted with $50K in 56 theaters ($893 PTA).
Note: Blackberrythe low-budget film from Canadian director Matt Johnson that opened on May 13 now has an impressive $2.58 million in North America – that’s $1.427 million in the US.