Metropolises like New York and L.A. are normally the strongholds for specialty pics, but for Roadside Attractions’ Sundance Grand Jury prizewinner “Winter’s Bone,” smaller markets in middle America have served up the meat and potatoes of the pic’s domestic run.
Since its June 11 release to Sunday in just New York and Los Angeles, “Bone” has cumed a hearty $3.6 million, performing strongly in markets like Kansas City, Mo., where it has earned $64,000, the top-grossing title so far this year in the theater where it’s playing.
Likewise, the film’s core St. Louis location, with $88,000, has grossed more than Los Angeles’ Landmark Theater, which to date has contributed $74,380. Roadside mounted a steady rollout for the film, expanding it to 126 locations last weekend.
And while multiplexes on the coasts have contributed solid perfs — Gotham’s Angelika theater is the pic’s highest-grossing run with $168,442 — “Bone” continues to outpace major studio fare in some smaller urban areas like Louisville, Ky., where it’s outperformed “Eclipse,” “Shrek Forever After” and “The Karate Kid.” Also performing well were playdates in Detroit, Salt Lake City and Springfield, Mo.
Roadside co-prexy Howard Cohen attributed “Bone’s” success in smaller cities to strong word of mouth, combined with the pic’s familiar setting. Directed by Debra Granik, “Bone” is set and shot in the Missouri Ozarks. Pic, which toplines Jennifer Lawrence, tells the story of a local woman who goes to great lengths to keep her house and family intact.
“I think audiences know that it takes place in rural Missouri, which is different from a typical art film,” Cohen said, referring to foreign-lingo pics or urban-set indies. “The film is performing more like a studio thriller in those areas and seems more mainstream.”
As “Winter’s Bone” became one of the best-reviewed films this year, the pic’s talent took to the road to help with promotion. Thesp John Hawkes attended a sold-out screening in his hometown of Alexandria, Minn., on Friday, while thesp Shelley Waggener, a Missouri native, showed up for a screening in Little Rock, Ark.
Music consultant Marideth Sisco, who performed on the pic’s bluegrass soundtrack, also tubthumped the film in Memphis, Tenn., on July 17.
Roadside plans to expand the film to an additional 10 U.S. cities this weekend, including Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, which should boost domestic grosses past the $4 million mark.