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Bollywood’s ‘Animal’, Expanded ‘Dream Scenario’ With ‘Saltburn’, ‘The Holdovers’ Buoy Weekend As Awards Season Kicks Off – Specialty Box Office

Three very different movies, original, with arthouse cred and in theaters for weeks, are drawing audiences showing welcome depth and breadth in the specialty market as awards season kicks off. Nicolas Cage’s nerdy character sees his life collapse when he randomly starts appearing in people’s dreams as Dream Scenario has a solid expansion, Saltburn is attracting young crowds on the coasts, The Holdovers drawing elusive older demos to theaters.

Meanwhile, Bollywood’s Animal showcases the ongoing strength of Indian films Stateside. The revenge thriller starring Ranbir Kapoor racked up an estimated $6.14 million on about 700 screens over the three days, the second biggest opening weekend of all time for a Bollywood film in North America behind Pathaan (from Jan. of this year, $6.9 million), taking the no. 7 slot at the North. American box office.

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A24’s Dream Scenario has an estimated weekend gross of about $1.69 million in a major expansion to 1,578 screens this weekend (from 124 last). Kristoffer Borgli’s dark comedy passed a $3 million cume. Continues its theatrical run in coming weeks.

Saltburn from Amazon/MGM continues to hold strong with an estimated weekend of $1.57 million on 1,566 screens for a cume of $6.23 million. Saturday was up 28% week-on-week for the Emerald Fennell film starring Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi. The coasts are overperforming. The film’s top 500 theaters are about 80% the total gross, the top 700 theaters are 90%. Strongest markets are NY, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, D.C., Boston, Seattle and Toronto.

And Focus Features’ The Holdovers also continued its run, grossing an estimated $1.15 million at 1,311 locations this weekend for a cume of  $15.1 million. The film by Alexander Payne stars Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who was honored last week as Best Supporting Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle. A competitive and crowded awards season has begun – launched last Monday night at the Gotham Awards in New York City.

It’s likely not what any or all of the three would have been grossing pre-Covid, but it’s nice to see all of them out selling tickets.

New openings: Anne Hathaway-starrer Eileen from Neon grossed just over $90.5k on six screens for a PSA of $15.1. The thriller by director William Oldroyd, based on the 2015 debut novel by Otessa Moshfegh, premiered at Sundance. A young secretary Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) becomes enchanted by the glamorous new counselor Rebecca (Hathaway) at the prison where she works in 1964 Massachusetts. Shea Whigham, Marin Ireland and Owen Teague also star. Adapted for the screen by Moshfegh with Luke Goebel. Opened in NYC (Alamo Drafthouse Downtown Brooklyn, AMC Lincoln Square, Angelika Film Center); Los Angeles (AMC Century City, AMC The Grove); and Austin (Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar). Moderate expansion next week.

The Sweet East, the Cannes and NYFF-premiering directorial debut of cinematographer Sean Price Williams, grossed $30k on one screen in NYC (IFC Center), the strongest opening weekend for distributor Utopia. The opening was propelled by Utopia’s social media with support from cast/crew (Talia Ryder, Simon Rex, Jacob Elordi, Ayo Edibiri, Jeremy O. Harris, Andy Milonakis, Earl Cave, Alex Ross Perry, Nick Pinkerton) who collectively drove over 8 million trailer views on Instagram, 4 million views on Twitter and 2 million views across TikTok.

The Sweet East will embark on a theatrical road show throughout December and January ahead of a larger national expansion on February 9. Cast/Crew will travel to Baltimore, Toronto, Philadelphia, upstate NY, Long Island, DC, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and LA. and more. Utopia is announciung new dates and events weekly on social media.

Kino Lorber’s release of La Syndicaliste  at Quad Cinema in NYC is seeing an estimated $10k weekend. The twisty corporate thriller stars Isabelle Huppert as an influential union boss who makes powerful enemies within the French nuclear sector, before being violently sexually assaulted in her own home, seemingly targeted for her attempts to reveal the truth. The shocking true story, directed by Jean-Paul Salomé, opened to multiple sold out shows. Expands to additional markets on December 8.

Greenwich Entertainment’s documentary Pianoforte took in $5.5k at  NYC’s IFC Center. The 2023 Sundance World Documentary premiere follows some of the world’s most talented young pianists as they compete in the International Chopin Piano Competition, held every five years in Warsaw. Moving to Los Angeles and select regional markets starting Dec. 15.

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