‘The Zone Of Interest’s Second Million Dollar Weekend; ‘Poor Things’ Hits Milestone – Specialty Box Office

Two specialty films now in wide release hit the top ten this weekend with American Fiction at no. 8 and Poor Things, at no. 9 and claiming the mantle of the highest-grossing limited opening release of 2023. The Zone of Interest has had a terrific expansion for a foreign language film about a heavy subject as A24 draws young audiences. Jonathan Glazer’s film took Film of the Year at the London Critics’ Circle Awards today with nods for director, music and sound as well. 

All three had nice holds from the previous week. So, well done, with help from a lull in big studio releases. But there have been other big-ticket quiet periods post-Covid. This is a first since the pandemic with multiple specialty films racking up strong grosses week to week — should including Saltburn, The Holdovers, Anatomy of A Fall and others here. Yes, industry economics are challenged but people are back in theaters for a variety films.

On Searchlight Pictures’ Emma Stone-starring Poor Things by Yorgos Lanthimos, it grossed an estimated $2.1 million, dropping 27%, at 1,950 theaters – 350 fewer than last week. That rings in an estimated $28.2 million to date that Searchlight says is the highest limited opening cume of 2023 releases (just edging past Asteroid City), and the second highest post-Covid after A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once ($77.2 million).

Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction from Amazon MGM is seeing an estimated $2.3 million on 1,902 screes (up 200). It’s down just 11% from a week ago. The film starring Jeffrey Wright has a cume of $15 million.

The Zone Of Interest, coming off five Academy Award nominations, grossed $1.1 million on about 600 screens, up from 300, in its second week of limited nationwide expansion. It made $1.08 million last weekend. The film continues strong in big markets like New York, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Montreal and Toronto with nice play in secondary markets as they’re added. The cume is close to $4.6 million.

More than half the audience has been under 35 (through last weekend) thanks to avid young fans of A24, as well as Glazer’s unusual tale of an Auschwitz commander and his family living in a bucolic villa whose garden wall abuts the concentration camp and its horrors, which are only heard, never seen. Both have made it a significant work on the Holocaust for this generation. The film, which was shown at the United Nations last month, is touring college campuses with screenings done or skedded at Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, University of Miami, USC, University of California San Diego, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Florida State University.

Now in week seven, it will likely begin to pick up more of the traditional and older audiences.

The film launched in this weekend in the U.K., grossing $750K at 106 locations, and other European markets.

High-profile, Oscar nominated holdovers: Searchlight Pictures’ All Of Us Strangers by Andrew Haigh grossed $253K on 150 screens for an estimated cume to date of $3.5 million.

Focus Features’ The Holdovers starring Paul Giamatti took in $171k at 562 locations for a cume through Sunday closing on $19.8 million.

Neon’s Anatomy of a Fall grossed $117k in 220 theaters for a weekend gross of $117k and a domestic cume through Sunday of $4.4 million in week 17.

Other new openings: Mubi’s How To Have Sex grossed $52k at four theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Austin. Molly Manning Walker’s acclaimed debut expands to over a dozen new markets next week including Chicago, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Portland.

Shree International’s Indian action film Warning 2 opened at 103 locations to a weekend debut of $517.8k, according to Comscore.

Viva Pictures’ French family animated film Jungle Bunch: Operation Meltdown debuted at $442.4k on 1,030 screens, also per Comscore.

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