‘Fighting With My Family’ Breaks Out of Sundance at Specialty Box Office

IndieWire | 2/17/2019 | Staff
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As Oscar contenders transition to home viewing platforms, their box-office presence is on the wane. Next up on the specialized calendar: Sundance releases. Producer Dwayne (“The Rock”) Johnson’s wrestling biofilm “Fighting With My Family” (MGM) has scored the best limited opening gross so far this year.

Lower but also impressive is the Colombian Oscar submission “Birds of Passage” (The Orchard), which scored decent initial two city numbers. Continuing with Focus’ “Everybody Knows,” which expanded decently in its second week, foreign-language films are on the rebound.

Hit - Sundance - Opening - Grosses - Beale

The first hit out of Sundance delivered the best limited opening grosses since “If Beale Street Could Talk” two months ago. This retelling of the rise of WWE female superstar Paige features producer Johnson as himself. Despite its mid-American appeal, it opened as a platform run at four New York/Los Angeles theaters. Positive reviews helped, but even in these more sophisticated locations this found an initial strong response.

What comes next: This goes nationally as a wide release this weekend where it appears it will find considerable interest.

Birds - Passage

“Birds of Passage”

Though not opening at the same level as Colombian director Ciro Guerra’s previous surprise success “Embrace of the Serpent” (he shares directing credit on “Birds of Passage” with his ex-wife Cristina Gallego), this multi-decade story of how drugs upended a remote indigenous community is the latest impressive subtitled opener. Its initial exclusive New York and Los Angeles dates showed strong initial interest along with high-end reviews in the same range as several of its fellow short-listed Foreign Language Oscar contenders.

Rebound - Interest - Films - Plans - Film

What comes next: The rebound in interest in subtitled films is underscored by plans to expand the film to up to 250 theaters.

“Hotel by the River”

Acclaimed - South - Korean - Director - Hong

Acclaimed South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s most recent release is another black and white subtitled art house release on the heels of “Roma” and “Cold...
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