‘Godzilla Minus One’ Set To Exit Theaters With a Roar; Hindi Thriller ‘Fighter’ Busts Out; Oscar Nominees Vie For Bucks – Specialty Box Office

Toho International’s Godzilla Minus One – with an Oscar nom and a $2.6 million estimated three-day gross – was no. 10 at the U.S. box office in week 9, and hit a milestone Friday. The giant radioactive reptile, on 2,001 screens, became the third highest-grossing foreign-language film Stateside passing Hero (2002, $53.7m) and Parasite (2019, $53.4m).

Godzilla’s cume will pass an estimated $55 million this weekend.

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The film by Takashi Yamazaki, starring Ryunosuke Kamiki and Minami Hamabe was on about 2,050 screens. The number is quadruple last week’s footprint as it prepares to exit theaters with a bang on Feb. 1. That gives it only a few days to overtake the no. 2 foreign-language film spot currently held by Life Is Beautiful (1997, $57.6 million). Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, $129 million) in first place remains pretty un-catchable.

Meanwhile, Bollywood has a big one. Hindi action thriller Fighter from Viva Entertainment grossed $3.74 million in 662 locations, for a no. five spot at the North American box office with a domestic cume through Sunday of $4.3 million, according to Comscore. The story of top Indian Air Force combat aviators who come together to fight an imminent threat.

A handful of Indian films from Bollywood to Tollywood and beyond hit each week and some break out. This is a particularly odd weekend with no new wide releases, leaving room for Godzilla and Fighters in the top ten, along with Oscar nominated and expanded Poor Things and American Fiction in pole spots.

Searchlight Pictures’ Poor Things, the Yorgos Lanthimos film starring Emma Stone, was no. 7 at the domestic box office with an estimated $3m weekend after 11 Oscar nominations, and in a major expansion to 2,300 screens from 1,400. It’s grossed $24.8m since its Dec. 8 domestic release (and $51.1m globally).

American Fiction from Amazon MGM Studios was no. 8 with a $2.9 million weekend on 1,702 screens, adding 852 locations in week 7. The Cord Jefferson-directed, multiple Oscar nominee starring Jeffrey Wright has a cume of $11.8m as it continues to play into the final leg of the awards season.

AMERICAN FICTION, Jeffrey Wright, 2023. ph: Claire Folger / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection
AMERICAN FICTION, Jeffrey Wright, 2023. ph: Claire Folger / © MGM / Courtesy Everett Collection

It was a great weekend for A24’s The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, which passed $1 million on just 317 screens in a national expansion on the heels of five Academy Award noms. The majority of audiences across top markets continues to be under 35, making this a significant work on Holocaust for a new generation. The film starring Sandra Hüller has a $3 million cume and will continue to expand throughout awards season.

Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers jumped its screen count in week 14 after multiple Oscar noms. The Focus Features’ film starring Paul Giamatti grossed $520K at 1,267 theaters (+1,140) this weekend for a cume of $19.3m.

Fresh off its leading 13 Academy Award nominations this past week, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer took in $1 million on 1,262 screens. The Universal film grossed $900k globally back on Imax for a limited re-release. Paramount’s Oscar nominee Killers of the Flower Moon from Apple Original Films, with ten nominations, added 925 locations for a weekend gross of $220k.

Noting a nice expansion for Ava DuVernay’s Origin. The film starring Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor didn’t get much love in Oscar nominations but it grossed $1.46 million in week 2 on 664 screens. The Neon film has a cume of $2.5 million.

The distributor’s much-nominated Anatomy Of A Fall by Justine Triet grossed $211k on 380 screens in a week 16 expansion for a cume of $4.19m.

As of Saturday, GKIDS said The Boy and the Heron became the third highest-grossing anime ever in the U.S., surpassing Pokemon the Movie 2000, with a cume of $44.2m. The Oscar-nominated film from Hayao Miyazaki saw $660.9k in week 8 on 610 screens. The top two are Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back (1999, $85.7m) and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train (2021, $49.5m).

New indie openings: Daisy Ridley-starring Sometimes I think About Dying from Oscilloscope took in $40.4k on two screens in NYC and LA. The film by Rachel Lambert, a hit at Sundance last year, saw multiple sold out shows at the Angelika Film Center and AMC’s Grove 14.

“It’s incredibly heartening to see how early audiences have responded to it. They’re seeing what we saw, which is Daisy Ridley completely transformed. It’s flat-out a career-best performance and critics have recognized it as such,” Oscilloscope said. Will add San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C. and Boston next weekend, with a national expansion February 9.

Sony Pictures Classics animated gem The Peasants grossed $15.2k on 1 screen. A cume of $26.7k includes a short Academy run in December.

'The Peasants'
‘The Peasants’

Tótem by Lila Aviles,from Sideshow/Janus Films,grossed an estimated three-day of $11.4k, also on one screen, in NYC. Aviles’ Indie Spirit-nominated film is “a beautiful story of love and family, and we are looking forward to opening it throughout the country in the weeks to come,” the distributor said.

Utopia’s The Sweet East grossed just shy of $20k at Landmark’s NuArt in LA this weekend after an eight-week road show across the East Coast. It was also the top-ranked film at the Cinema Village in NYC, and played a single weekend show in Montreal. The weekend gross passed $23k on the three screens. After scoring Utopia’s strongest NY opening to date, the distributor said, the film has now also scored the studio’s strongest LA single-screen opening and is resting at the $163K mark on just 11 screens to date. Kicks off a national expansion into the Midwest Feb. 9

Limited expansion: Christian Carion’s Driving Madeleine from Cohen Media Group grossed $68.5k on 76 screens for a cume of $177.2 k in week 3. Opening on at least 30 more screens next weekend.

American Star from IFC Films, a new opening, grossed $9k in 47 theaters. Directed By Gonzalo López-Gallego, starring Ian McShane.

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