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Audrey Diwan’s Happening opened to an estimated $34k on four screens in NY and LA this weekend for a PTA of $8,500. The locations on both coasts — IFC Center/AMC Lincoln Square and The Landmark/AMC The Grove — while limited showed the abortion drama set in 1968 France competing successfully in commercial crossover multiplexes as well as arthouses.
That’s a pattern Arianna Bocco, distribution head for IFC Films, hopes will continue as it expands to over 100 cities nationwide as well as within the New York City and Los Angeles markets, next week. Anamaria Vartolomei plays Anne, a brilliant student resolved to risk shame, physical risk and prison to end her pregnancy.
“IFC Films is committed to bringing Happening to screens across America at this pivotal moment in time,” she said. “We hope audiences seek this film out and that it sparks important conversations about our future.” The film opened Stateside days after it became clear that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to dismantle Roe v. Wade.
The film premiered last year in Venice, where it won the Golden Lion. It played Sundance, then opened New Directors/New Films in April. Diwan was nominated for a 2022 BAFTA Film Award. Vartolomei won the César for Most Promising Actress.
Also this weekend, Yellow Veil Pictures opened Gaspar Noe’s Lux Aeterna at the Metrograph in NYC with a three-day PSA of $9,000. The horror pic expands to LA next week and nationwide May 20. It follows Béatrice Dalle and Charlotte Gainsbourg are on a film set telling stories about witches. Technical problems and psychotic outbreaks gradually plunge the shoot into chaos.
Meanwhile, Noe’s Vortex expanded to 39 locations after opening exclusively at NYC’s IFC Center last week. taking in $31,212 for a PTA of $800 and a domestic cume through Sunday of $52,664. Utopia will continue to platform the Cannes and NYFF-lauded film into new markets nationwide next weekend. It stars iconic Italian horror director Dario Argento (in a rare on-screen role) and French actress Francoise Lebrun as husband and wife coping with dementia.
“Despite a competitive landscape of independent, foreign language film, initial expansion results for Noe’s split-screen drama were very encouraging, holding especially well in NYC, plus performing in new top market additions such as LA, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, Austin, DC,” Utopia said, adding that word of mouth continue to build among critics, audiences and filmmakers. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins called it “a miracle of a film” in a series of tweets this weekend.
The Cinema Guild’s In Front Of Your Face by director Hong Sang-soo reported an estimated three-day opening/PSA of $9,150 at Film at Lincoln Center and will be expanding to about 20 theaters through June. The Cannes premiering drama follows former actress Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung), returned to Seoul and staying with her sister after years abroad.
Specialty holdovers/expansions: Sony Pictures Classics’ The Duke now in weekend three earned $364,442 on 350 screens (expanded from 57), for a PSA of $1,041 and a cume of $580,883.
Comscore reports Yash Raj Films Runway 34 now in weekend two earned $100k in 70 locations for a PTA of $1,429 and a domestic cume through Sunday of $549,624.
And Pantelion Films’ Y Como Es El? in weekend three in 72 locations took in $59,139 for a PTA of $821 and a domestic cume of $1,247,696.