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‘Thelma’ Blasts Off, ‘Kinds Of Kindness’ Rocks Year’s Best Limited Opening In Big Indie Weekend – Specialty Box Office

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The indie box office roared to life this weekend as Thelma from Magnolia Pictures saw a hefty $2.2 million on 1,280 screens and Searchlight Pictures’ Kinds of Kindness booked a stellar $70k per screen average at five theaters in LA and NY for $350k — the year’s highest per screen average and best overall limited opening.

Thelma is Magnolia’s widest release and the question of whether a broad audience would turn out for a film with a 93-year-old star is a resounding yes. It’s poignant, funny and June Squibb is so good, but this wasn’t by any means a slam dunk. Magnolia felt it was intergenerational and the audience would be as well. Squibb plays a feisty grandma, Parker Posey her uptight daughter, and Fred Hechinger the affectionate slacker grandson.

The distributor said a number of top runs are at Alamo Drafthouse theaters, indicating a younger crowd. But the matinees, which skew older, are solid too. It’s screened for enthusiastic Letterboxd and AAPR auds alike. It played well in NY/LA and markets from Boston to Phoenix to Raleigh-Durham, and it will likely over-index midweek as older theatergoers continue to turn out.

As for Kinds of Kindness, it beat the best PTA this year by multiples in debuts at the Angelika, AMC Lincoln Square and the AMC Burbank, the AMC Grove and the AMC Century City. The Yorgos Lanthimos film, a triptych of stories starring Emma Stone and Jesse Plemons, will roll out to about 500 theaters across major next week. It goes wider July 3 on over 1,000 screens.

Wider indie fare included Jeff Nichol’s The Bikeriders from Focus, which saw a cool $10 million, on the high end of tracking, on 2,642 screens. Vertical’s The Exorcism by Joshua John Miller starring Russell Crowe saw $2.4 million on 2,240 screens, the distributor’s widest release and biggest opening.

Other limited openings: Janet Planet from A24, the directorial debut of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker, had a nice start on two NYC screens, grossing an estimated $49.7k with multiple sold-out Q&As at both. Julianne Nicholson and Zoe Ziegler star as mother and daughter in Western Massachusetts during the summer of 1991 in this poignant, quiet coming of age story. Expands to a limited nationwide footprint on next week.

Kino Lorber’s political thriller Green Border by Agnieszka Holland grossed $7k at the Film Forum. Set on the Belarus-Poland border, it follows a Syrian family, a border guard, and an activist who become pawns in the deadly conflict that is the European migrant crisis. 

Expansion: IFC Film’s Ghostlight grossed $247k in a big week 2 expansion to 502 screens, for a cume of $295k.

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