‘Tár’, ‘Triangle Of Sadness’ A Double Shot Of Optimism For Arthouse Fare Specialty Box Office

Focus Features’Tár opened in limited release to strong results with $160,000 at four locations in New York and Los Angles for a $40,000 per theater average, one of the best PTAs since Covid and not bad for a 2-hour and 38-minute arthouse film pre-pandemic.

Riding strong reviews, the Cate Blanchett-starrer by Todd Field was no. 1 in three out of its four theaters – Lincoln Square and The Angelika in NY, and The Grove in LA, and plans to add 30 locations in 10 additional markets this week. It’s at 97% with critics, 80% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Todd Field's Return With Tár, Cannes Winner 'Triangle Of Sadness' Lead Busy Arthouse Weekend – Specialty Preview

Focus Features distribution chief Lisa Bunnell said “it’s a big deal” that Tár was the top grosser Saturday for AMC multiplexes The Grove and Lincoln Square. “We need to look at those signs as encouraging as bringing those adult audiences into theaters again.” And Bunnell noted that anecdotally, pending formal exit poll data, it seems the demo for the two-and-half-hour pic “is not that old. It feels like it’s a nice mix of females and males, over 50 and under.”

The weekend looks like Friday – $64,000; Saturday – $53,000; Sunday – $43,000.

Focus said the $40k PSA is the second highest this calendar year for a limited release (A24 juggernaut Everything Everywhere All At Once opened to a $50k per theater average on ten screens in late March).

From producer-writer-director Todd Field after a long hiatus, the film won Blanchett Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival as conductor Lydia Tár, a brilliant musician who rose the the heights of fame but abused her position in this exploration of the changing nature of power, its impact and durability in our modern world. 

Tár opened alongside Ruben Östlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, from Neon, in 10 locations to a debut of $210,074 for a PTA of $21,007.

“It’s good news for specialty films when you have two elevated films in the marketplace doing business, and it’s a step in the right direction,” said Bunnell. “As we go into awards season, each week, you will have specialty films coming and they will all perform at various levels. But the fact that we are getting people to see these films is really important.”

Triangle of Sadness is a biting comedy about the tawdry relationship between power and beauty as celebrity model couple, Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), are invited on a luxury cruise for the uber-rich, helmed by an unhinged boat captain (Woody Harrelson).

Alamo Brooklyn and AMC Burbank led the way with 24.4K and 22.2K respectively weekend to date. The movie, which is 73% fresh with critics, 88% with audiences on Rotten Tomatoes clocks in at 2 hours, 20 minutes.

Also opening, new horror release, Terrifier 2 from Iconic Events is pushing an estimated gross of $825k and a cume of $1.23 million on 886 screens for a weekend $931 PSA and no. 10 spot. The film held additional screenings last week which are included in the cume. The story of Art the Clown who, after being resurrected by a sinister entity, returns to the timid town of Miles County where he begins to target a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween. 

IFC Films opened Pretty Problems to a weekend debut of $7,500 on 27 screens for a PTA of $278. The ensemble comedy tells the story of a couple on the rocks are pulled along by absurdly wealthy strangers for an unhinged wine country getaway.

Indian films march on: Sarigama Cinemas’ Ponninyin Selvan: Part 1 took in $910k on 500 screens for a PSA of $1,820 and a week 2 cume of $5.7 million. The Telegu hit, or PS-1, was no. 9 at the domestic box office.  

Prime Media opened Mojan Raja’s Telugu political crime thriller GodFather in 350 locations to a weekend gross of $540k for a domestic cume through Sunday of $1.12 million, according to Comscore.

White Hill Studios opened Babe Bhangra Paunde Ne in 100 locations to a weekend debut of $520k for a domestic cume through Sunday of $674,351. This is an Indian Punjabi family comedy led by Pakistani actor Sohail Ahmed, directed by Amarjit Singh Saron.

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