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‘Love Lies Bleeding’, ‘One Life’ In Top 10

Indies in moderate-wide release claimed the nos. 6, 8 and 9 spots at the domestic box office led by Love Lies Bleeding. Kristin Steward toplines the Berlin-premiering film by Rose Glass that expanded nationwide, grossing $2.5 million for the weekend on 1,362 screens (up from five theaters opening week). The steamy crime thriller from A24 also stars Katy O’Brian with an ensemble featuring Ed Harris, Anna Baryshnikov Dave Franco and Jenna Malone. It’s 88% Certified Fresh with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes (92% critics score).

Stewart plays a reclusive gym manager who falls hard for an ambitious bodybuilder headed through town to Vegas in pursuit of her dream as the pair is pulled into the web of Lou’s criminal family. Weekend breakdown: Friday, $1.1 million; Saturday, $790k; Sunday; $592k.

One Life by James Hawes pulled in a $1.7+ million debut 983 screens. The Bleecker Street film, starring Anthony Hopkins as a British stockbroker who helped rescued hundreds of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia, saw an estimated $799k Friday, $563k Saturday and $366k Sunday. Hopkins’ Nicholas “Nicky” Winton worked against time to save as many children as possible before that Nazi occupation closed the borders on the verge of World War II. He kept it a secret for fifty years and is still haunted by the fate of those he wasn’t able to bring to safety. With Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Flynn and Jonathan Pryce. 

The TIFF-premiering true story, which has grossed $30 million internationally, is sitting at 92% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes (88% with critics). The Stateside opening came in “way above the norm” on the audience reaction and “definite recommend’, said Bleecker distribution chief Kyle Davies, calling it “a good, old-fashioned word of mouth movie.” Like Golda, the Helen Mirren-starrer that opened last August, One Life skews older, an audience that doesn’t necessarily storm theaters Friday nights.

The American Society of Magical Negroes from Focus Features grossed $1.25 million at 1,147 theaters in North America with Friday – $520,000; Saturday – $470,000; and Sunday – $260,000. Exit data on the first feature by Kobi Libii was 50% male, 75% aged 25 years and older, and 52% African American (with 31% Caucasian, 10% Hispanic, 4% Asian). The satirical comedy that premiered at Sundance stars Justice Smith and David Alan Grier as a young man and his mentor at a secret society of magical Black people dedicating their lives to a cause of utmost importance — making white people feel at ease. It’s a original idea but the execution didn’t resonate with critics (30% RT). It’s tracking 60% with audiences (under 50 verified ratings). Focus said “it remains committed to supporting and discovering new, diverse voices with a unique point of view.” 

Spike Lee coined the term Magical Negro, a trope in American cinema for a supporting stock character who comes to the aid of white protagonists in a film.

This was a weekend with diverse indie films in the spotlight holding up the middle of the market as best they can. But it’s not great when the gap between the top (Kung Fu Panda 4 at $30M and Dune: Part 2 at $29 million) and the rest of the top ten so wide, which was a hallmark of the theatrical landscape for a while post-Covid.

Cabrini by Alejandro Monteverde in wide release (2,850 screens), from independent Angel Studios, was no. 5 at the box office at $2.8 million, and a $13 million cume, in week two.

Republic Pictures Snack Shack by Adam Rehmeier grossed $300k in moderate release opening at 437 locations. Stars Conor Sherry and Gabriel LaBelle (The Fabelmans) as teenage best friends AJ and Moose, who jump to run their local pool’s rundown snack shack after other hustles fall flat.

Limited releases: Well Go USA’s South Korean horror film Exhuma by Jang Jae-hyungrossed $65k on three screens in LA (CGV Buena Park, CGV Los Angeles, and Regal La Habra). Expands in U.S./Canada next weekend. A renowned shaman (Kim Go-Eun) and her protégé (Lee Do-hyun) are hired by a wealthy, enigmatic family to investigate the cause of a disturbing supernatural illness that affects only the first-born children of each generation. “We are thrilled to see the positive audience reaction to the film’s chilling story and intense performances,” said Well Go.

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus opened to an estimated $11.3k at one location, Film At Lincoln Center. Distributor Janus Films said “the film connected with New York audiences this weekend and we are looking forward to opening it throughout the country in the weeks to come.”

Rialto Pictures’ release of the 4K restoration of Claude Sautet’s 1960 film Classe Tous Risques will gross an estimated $9.5k in its premiere weekend at one location, New York’s Film Forum.

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