Global Indies 2011: Indie distrib reports

photos/_specials_arts/Global_125_Kings-Speech.jpg” vspace=”3″ hspace=”3″ align=”left”>The Weinstein Co.
$277 million

Thanks to the Oscar-winning hit “The King’s Speech,” the Weinstein Co. was the royalty of the 2011 indie realm. This year, “The King’s Speech” tallied $115.9 million of its remarkable $138.8 million domestic total, which repped 42% of TWC’s entire year-to-date tally. Other than “Speech,” TWC has had a just-tolerable year, with its second-best title so far, “Scream 4,” earning just $38.2 million. That’s a far cry from the franchise’s third entry, which grossed $89 million Stateside in 2000. The distrib’s summer entries, “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World,” “Our Idiot Brother” and “Apollo 18″ round out TWC’s top five, though none of them became major B.O. players.
Up Next: “My Week with Marilyn” and “The Artist” (Nov. 23), “W.E.” (Dec. 9), “The Iron Lady” (Dec. 16)

Lionsgate
$183 million

If only Lionsgate could have ended its year back in April. The minimajor had notable spring successes, “The Lincoln Lawyer” and Tyler Perry’s “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” before winding down with a string of late-summer B.O. duds, including “Conan the Barbarian,” “Warrior” and “Abduction.” (Lionsgate won’t have another release until “The Possession” on Jan. 6.) “Lincoln Lawyer,” a modestly budgeted courtroom potboiler, grossed $58 million, followed closely by Perry’s latest offering, which ended its U.S. run with $53 million. Though Lionsgate has an ace on the horizon, with “The Hunger Games” franchise.
Up Next: “The Hunger Games” (March 23)

Relativity Media
$145 million

Relativity Media made an auspicious start for a rookie, collecting enough coin for third place. But like Lionsgate, Relativity saw most of its biz come from the first quarter, with March release “Limitless” leading the pack with nearly $80 million. Otherwise, it’s been a pretty uneven year for Relativity, since the $40 million “Season of the Witch” — the company’s first inhouse release — ranks second with $24.8 million. “Shark Night 3D” ($18.8 million) and “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” ($15 million) both proved underwhelming for Relativity this summer. Relativity has something to prove with “Immortals.”
Up Next: “Immortals” (Nov. 11)

Focus Features
$123 million

Last year, Focus made good with summer hit “The Kids Are All Right,” grossing more than $20 million through mid-October. And in 2011, the company has done even better, though the majority of its year-to-date tally comes from a pair of first-quarter wide releases, “Hanna” and “The Eagle.” The former stands as Focus’ best performer so far, with $40 million domestically, while “The Eagle” at No. 3 tallied just shy of $20 million. Focus acquired distribution rights to Miramax title “The Debt,” which launched Labor Day weekend and has cumed a respectable $31 million in the U.S. “One Day,” Focus’ other summer wide release, struggled to build much buzz, earning $13.8 million. Results for the distrib’s platform rollouts were mixed: “Jane Eyre” did well in March with $11 million, while “Beginners” — Focus’ attempt at duplicating “Kids”-like indie success — topped out at just shy of $6 million.
Up Next: “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” (Dec. 9), “Pariah” (Dec. 28)

FilmDistrict
$117 million

The year’s second rookie distrib to focus on mid-range-budget fare, FilmDistrict, has made the most out of only a few releases. As of mid-October, the company launched just three films: “Insidious,” “Drive” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.” With “Insidious” grossing a stellar $54 million, FilmDistrict took a page from Par’s “Paranormal Activity” success (pic was produced by “Paranormal” alum Jason Blum and Oren Peli). “Drive,” which FilmDistrict acquired late last year, has grossed $34 million as of Oct. 31, while “Dark,” another orphaned Miramax title, should top out Stateside somewhere north of $25 million. Johnny Depp starrer “The Rum Diary” bowed soft on Oct. 28.
Up Next: “In the Land of Blood and Honey” (Dec. 23)

Summit Entertainment
$116 million

Without a summer “Twilight” entry, 2011 year-to-date totals for Summit seem a bit depressed vs. this time last year. But give the distrib a couple of weeks for things to pick up, as penultimate “Twilight” offering “Breaking Dawn — Part 1″ launches Nov. 18. Other than the mega-hit franchise, Summit had success with April release “Source Code,” which grossed $54.7 million domestically. The company’s fall pic “50/50″ did OK business at the box office; 3D pic “The Three Musketeers” struggled, as did specialty pair “The Beaver” and “A Better Life.”
Up Next: “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1″ (Nov. 18), “The Darkest Hour (Dec. 25)

Fox Searchlight
$102 million

In typical Fox Searchlight fashion, the majority of its year-to-date grosses came from an awards heavyhitter released the year before — think “Crazy Heart,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Juno.” Add to that list “Black Swan,” of whose total domestic cume ($106 million), nearly half of that ($59 million) was earned in 2011. But beyond Searchlight’s Oscar fodder, little else has worked — “The Tree of Life” and “Win Win” are important exceptions with $13 million and $10 million, respectively. A trio of Sundance pickups saw mixed results: “The Art of Getting By” and “Another Earth” both stalled at the B.O., while “Martha Marcy May Marlene” got off to a strong start on Oct. 21. Expect George Clooney family-dramedy “The Descendants” to occupy one of Searchlight’s top B.O. slots next year.
Up Next: “The Descendants” (Nov. 16), “Shame” (Dec. 2)

Sony Pictures Classics
$86 million

It’s been a Woody Allen-dominated year for Sony Pictures Classics. The helmer’s latest film, “Midnight in Paris,” not only debuted with the year’s highest opening per-screen average for a traditional theatrical release ($99,834) but also turned in the best perf of a specialty pic this year so far, with $55 million domestically. “Midnight” provided a nice cushion for SPC, whose other 2011 releases haven’t reached “Midnight’s” lofty heights, although Sundance pickup “The Guard” perfomed decently ($5 million), as has Pedro Almodovar’s Cannes pic “The Skin I Live In” released Oct. 14. SPC’s other fest buys, including critical hits “Higher Ground” and “Take Shelter,” have had a tougher time at the B.O., struggling to crack the $1 million mark.
Up Next: “A Dangerous Method” (Nov. 23), “Carnage” (Dec. 16), “A Separation” (Dec. 30)

CBS Films
$57 million

A pair of pics landed CBS Films among the year’s top indie distribs, but one of them, “Beastly,” had been pushed back from 2010 to March 4. The teen-targeted film was positioned to be the distrib’s “Twilight”-esque offering, though it cumed just $27.9 million. “The Mechanic,” CBS Films’ second 2011 release, did only slightly better with $29 million domestically. And that’s it for the distrib this year; it’ll kick off 2012 with Daniel Radcliffe horror-thriller “The Woman in Black” on Feb. 3, followed by “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” which CBS Films bought at the Toronto Film Fest on March 2.

Open Road Films
$25 million

As the newest company to enter the distribution game, Open Road Films hardly has had time to prove itself. But with one release under its belt, “Killer Elite,” the startup did well enough to land a spot among the top 10 indies. Launched earlier this year as a joint venture between AMC Entertainment and Regal Cinemas, Open Road faced skepticism straight off as some bizzers questioned whether exhibitors (particularly AMC and Regal) would play favorites with Open Road pics. That hasn’t happened. Open Road has two pics skedded for 2012, “The Grey” and “Silent House,” with a potential gem in 2013, “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer’s “The Host” feature adaptation.

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