Following its Venice Film Festival bow and seven César Awards including for Best Film, Lost Illusions was the top weekend title at two core NYC arthouses — taking $10,850 of its estimated $13,579 three-day gross from Film Forum and Film at Lincoln Center.
The period piece based on the Honoré de Balzac novel about greed and hypocrisy in the art world of 1800s Paris was also the top film at the Laemmle Royal in LA. It opened on six screens for a PSA $2,263. Distributor Music Box Films is giving Lost Illusions (Illusions Perdues), from director Xavier Giannoli, a traditional platform rollout with a 60-day theatrical window, expanding to San Francisco, Miami, Denver, Minneapolis and Atlanta next Friday and additional markets including Boston and Seattle on June 24.
“We’re happy with New York. New York has come back,” said Music Box theatrical distribution chief Kyle Westphal.
The most decorated film at the French equivalent of the Oscars has stellar reviews (read Deadline’s here). It was MUBI Go’s pick for Movie of the Week (the platform gives subscribers a weekly free ticket to one arthouse film of its choosing). Its period piece pedigree has a contemporary, satirical edge — highlighted in the reviews — which should help with word of mouth among younger demos, Westphal said. Lost Illusions is classic counterprogramming as Jurassic World Dominion joins Top Gun: Maverick in theaters this weekend. “It’s all of these pieces going together,” Westphal said.
“Comparatively, since we started back with releases last year, it’s like, ‘Okay, we are going to make $500 this weekend.’ Then, it was, ‘If we’re lucky, we’ll do $1,000 a screen.’ New York was always leading the way on that. In April, The Rose Maker did a $3,500 opening at the Angelika, which would have been soft pre-Covid but at the current moment was pretty good.”
Now here’s Lost Illusions with $5,000 each at Film Forum and Lincoln Center. The arthouse market is “still a work in progress,” he said, “but things are moving in the right direction.”
(He noted that opening numbers weren’t inflated “by everyone and their mother and their friends for a Q&A.” Independent distributors have increasingly leaned on in-person discussions with directors and talent to fill seats.)
The revival of the Los Angeles arthouse market — which lost key venues like the ArcLight and, more recently, the LA Landmark — has been more problematic.
Lost Illusions stars Benjamin Voisin, Xavier Dolan and Gerard Depardieu. Lucien (Voisin) is a young, aspiring poet who decamps from his family’s provincial printing house to try his luck in Paris but soon finds the arts have a dark side ruled by profit and pretense.
Elsewhere in specialty, Shudder and IFC Midnight opened animated Mad God in two NYC and LA theaters for an estimated weekend gross of $8,500 (PSA, $4,250). The debut feature from Academy Award-winner Phil Tippett had its world premiere in Locarno. “We are thrilled to see Mad God, a film 30 years in the making, garner such widespread acclaim and attention from the festival circuit to the box office,” said Craig Engler, Shudder’s general manager. The film will launch on the streamer Thursday (June 16) and add additional theaters Friday.
Tippett began fabricating and animating this darkly surreal world of creatures and nightmares in 1987, producing dozens of environments, hundreds of puppets, thousands of detailed sketches and storyboards for the project. Volunteers and a wildly successful KickStarter campaign helped him get the project moving again decades later.
Watcher, also from IFC Midnight/Shudder, grossed an estimated $335k in weekend 2 on 656 screens (PSA, $511) for a cume of $1.574 million.
Ante Sundaraniki! opened at no. 10 in North America in 345 locations to a $620k debut for a domestic cume through Sunday of $856k. The Telugu romantic comedy written and directed by Vivek Athreya stars Nani and Nazriya Fahadh. Distributed by Prime Media and Shloka Entertainment, it’s the latest Indian film to crack the weekend top ten.
NEON’s Crimes of the Future by David Cronenberg reported a weekend gross of $375,750 on 712 screens (PSA $528) in week 2 for a cume of $2 million.
Sony Pictures Classics’ The Phantom Of The Open also in week 2 earned $35,600 on 24 screens (up from six) for a $1,483 PSA and a cume of $67,778.
And Kino Lorber’s Neptune Frost, on 28 screens in week 2, sees an estimated 3-day gross of $23,695 and cume to date of $54,062