‘Uncut Gems’ and ‘Bombshell’ Soar, Malick’s ‘A Hidden Life’ Drags

IndieWire | 12/15/2019 | Staff
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This pre-Christmas weekend often launches awards contenders into limited release ahead of wider audience attention. Both “Uncut Gems” (A24) and “Bombshell” (Lionsgate) gambled and won, clicking with strong New York/Los Angeles performances.

On the other hand, Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” (Fox Searchlight), though never expected to have the same potential, fell far short of its hopes with a weak start in the same cities. It broadens out to more limited engagements next week.

Seberg - Amazon - Kristen - Stewart - Actress

“Seberg” (Amazon) starring Kristen Stewart as the iconic actress booked a qualifying one-week run (with no grosses reported) ahead of further limited theatrical play, with a Prime date set for February.

The Safdie brothers’ character study of a troubled Diamond District merchant (Adam Sandler) boasted a triumphant start at five New York/Los Angeles theaters. Aided by some Q&A screenings, but strong throughout the weekend, this placed behind “Parasite” as the best platform of the year so far. “Uncut Gems” was aided by more access to seats and screens and less overall competition–it’s tracking at the same level as A24’s “Moonlight” two years ago. The total platform gross with five theaters is a record for them.

Megyn - Kelly - Says - 'Bombshell - Was

Megyn Kelly Says 'Bombshell' Was 'Incredibly Emotional,' but 'I Have Nothing to Do With This Film'

So far the movie is performing without any awards boost for Best Actor candidate Sandler, but reviews are among the best this month. A24 plans to take “Uncut Gems” wide on Christmas Day. For any distributor, claiming real estate on that date is a challenge: it’s even more so for an intense indie drama. A24 shows faith in the film with this opening platform, and more with its goal to move quickly in a potentially lucrative period. This level of gross makes that task easier, as does the drawing power of a movie star. For all the flak that Sandler’s...
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