Clang, clang, clang went the box office! The Roadside Attractions’ musical biopic Judy starring Renee Zellweger had an over-the-rainbow debut this weekend to the tune of an estimated $3,091,417. Even more good news — the stellar opening landed Judy in the #7 spot in the top 10 movies for the weekend.
The Rupert Goold-directed film based on the life of the legendary Judy Garland premiered on 461 screens and had an estimated per-screen average of $6,705 in North America. Of those screens, 376 were in the U.S. and they netted a higher estimate with a per-screen average of $7,334. We are hearing the film brought in solid numbers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami and San Diego, making it a strong start for the film.
Roadside Attractions co-founder Howard Cohen told Deadline that you never know how films in the specialty box office space will perform even if they have strong buzz. Luckily, for Judy, Cohen said “the signs were incredibly positive.”
The standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival gave the film a hefty publicity boost and the film had packed early screenings in cities like Dallas, San Francisco and St. Louis in the weeks leading up to the release.
“You don’t get these kinds of days that often so you have to be happy when they come,” said Cohen. “We knew the excitement was building. Theaters started calling from all over the country asking when they were going to get the movie — they don’t do that unless they feel like there’s a buzz. It’s kind of worked all as planned.”
Cohen said they are going to strike while the iron is hot and make a significant expansion, targeting a staggering 1,400 to 1,500 screens for week two This weekend, the film didn’t have much competition besides Downton Abbey, but Cohen said that even though they were neck and neck with the film adaptation of the popular series, the marketplace can afford to withstand two films for the same audience.
For next week’s release, Cohen admits that they initially had concerns about going up against Joker. Roadside was faced with a similar situation in 2013 when the second week of the release of Mud was up against the premiere of Iron Man 3.
“It’s two different audiences and the marketplace has the tendency to expand, making more room for indie films,” said Cohen. “As we open in new theaters and those theaters have Joker, the same moviegoer is less likely to see both films. The intersection between the two audiences is small.”
With the Oscar buzz and successful box office debut, Cohen said Roadside is keeping the scope on each of those spaces separate. “The box office story of Judy is going to be written in the next five weeks even if it keeps playing for 12 weeks — and that is well before the nominations,” he said. “We’re still focused on it being successful if anything.”
“The plan was if the movie is successful it will have that more of a chance at awards,” he continues. “When you release a movie in September, you get the opportunity through this period to get everybody to see it as opposed to releasing something in December — then you’re doing a crazy rush to get everyone to see it. This is a different strategy. It may not be top of mind maybe as the movies right before the nominations but it has the whole fall for people to get the opportunity to see it in a theater with crowds — that’s the best possible way for all the awards voters to see the movie.”
In addition to Judy, There was even more good box office news for Roadside on Sunday morning. The Peanut Butter Falcon brought in an estimated $908,270 this weekend, bringing its estimated cume to $18,128,998. It has surpassed The Farewell to become the #1 indie platform release of 2019. Cohen said, “We really got a shot at $20 million.”
Judy pretty much dominated the specialty box office this weekend as other releases had quiet performances. A24’s The Death of Dick Long came in soft on 30 screens, netting an estimated $27,571 and averaging $919 per screen.
Meanwhile, Takashi Miike’s First Love debuted at the Angelika in New York and Nuart in Los Angeles and hardly made a dent in the box office bringing in an estimated $24,150 for its first weekend out.
The Portugues language film Nothing To Lose 2 also had its premiere this weekend on 97 screens and netted $580,184 for the weekend. We are hearing that it had a decent performance in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Boston and a few other cities, but elsewhere not so much.
In its second week out the Sony Pictures Classics documentary Where’s My Roy Cohn? tripled its number of screens and netted $60,089 while the GKIDS animated feature Promare earned an estimated $113,455 in its second weekend bringing its cume to $1,068,806. This marks the second highest theatrical gross in GKIDS’ history, behind 2018’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower. It is also the highest gross for an original anime title in 2019.
The Death of Dick Long (A24) – Week 1 [30 Screens] Weekend $27,571, Average $919
First Love (WellGo USA) – Week 1 [2 Screens] Weekend $24,150, Average $12,075
Judy (Roadside Attractions) – Week 1 [461 Screens] Weekend $3,091,417, Average $6,705
Nothing To Lose 2 (Nada A Perder 2) (Swen Releasing) – Week 1 [97 Screens], Weekend $580,184, Average $5,981
Fantastic Fungi (Area 23a) – Week 2 [3 Screens], Weekend $20,100, Average $6,700, Cume $39,459
Nikka Zaildar 3 (Rising Star Entertainment) – Week 2 [44 Screens], Weekend $122,998, Average $2,795, Cume $634,000
Promare (GKIDS) – Week 2 [30 Screens], Weekend $113,455, Average $3,782, Cume $1,068,806
Where’s My Roy Cohn? (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 2 [12 Screens], Weekend $60,089, Average $5,007, Cume $120,813
Chhichhore (FIP) – Week 4 [78 screens], Weekend $139,515, Average $1,789, Cume $1,928,000
The Farewell (A24) – Week 12 [75 Screens] Weekend $75,075, Average $988, Cume $17,488,741
Fiddler: A Miracle Of Miracles (Roadside Attractions/Samuel Goldwyn Films) – Week 6 [26 Screens] Weekend $13,560, Average $521, Cume $511,361
Honeyland (Neon) – Week 10 [40 Screens] Weekend $21,900, Average $548, Cume $617,280
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich Enterainment/1091) – Week 4 [247 Theaters], Weekend $416,729, Average $1,687, Cume 2,297,132
Luce (Neon) – Week 9 [36 Screens] Weekend $17,750, Average $493, Cume $1,993,024
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Abramorama) – Week 6 [31 Screens] Weekend $51,278, Average $1,654, Cume $411,467
Monos (Neon/Participant Media) – Week 3 [35 Screens], Weekend $79,149, Average $2,004, Cume $218,244
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements (Abramorama) – Week 3 [4 Screens], Weekend $3,586, Average $896, Cume $15,252
Ms. Purple (Oscilloscope Laboratories) – Week 3 [22 Screens] Weekend $11,025, Average $501, Cume $67,570
Official Secrets (IFC Films) – Week 6 [259 Theaters] Weekend $158,550, Average $612, Cume $1,697,000
The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside Attractions/Armory Films) – Week 8 [935 Theaters] Weekend $908,270, Average $971, Cume $18,128,998