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Two high-level openings with Oscar hopes, Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” (Universal) and Julian Schnabel’s “At Eternity’s Gate” (CBS), dominate the new releases entering the crowded and volatile specialized award season marketplace. “Green Book” is struggling to pull audiences with a multi-city opening at top theaters. The true 60s story starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali will need a dramatic word-of-mouth boost it before its planned quick expansion. Schnabel’s Vincent Van Gogh biopic launched well with its iconic subject promising strong positive specialized response ahead.
“Boy Erased” (Focus) led the new expansions –among the best of wider releases this fall. The market has suddenly become very competitive, with a number of films struggling and risking not getting full holiday bookings as the lucrative Thanksgiving weekend approaches.
Contenders - Crucible - Weekend - Responds - Tricky
But all contenders, especially the most serious, need to get through the crucible of their opening weekend and how the public responds (a tricky process that Netflix is struggling with as the soon-to-be stream “Roma” opens on Wednesday). And based on the initial results, “Green Book” is falling short so far.
In a move familiar to canny Oscar campaigners Fox Searchlight and Weinstein, Universal opened “Green Book” at 25 theaters in 17 markets. The resulting per theater average from is $12,520; the four core New York/Los Angeles theaters will average a more robust $25,000.
Universal - Attempt - Dates - Word - Mouth
Universal’s attempt to broaden the initial dates was designed to spark strong word of mouth ahead of the planned 1,000 theater expansion this Wednesday. So they booked the movie in 15 other general audience theaters, including some with significant African-American patronage. Opening a movie with more than just the usual two cities is not uncommon. Fox Searchlight, Weinstein and others have shown success with this approach, particularly when trying to reach out to African-American audiences.
The $12,520 PTA for the 25 theaters shows itself to be...
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