‘The Taste Of Things’ Savors Sweet Limited Opening; ‘Out Of Darkness’, ‘Perfect Days’ Debut; ‘American Fiction’, ‘Poor Things’ Hold In Top 10 – Specialty Box Office   

Film

The Taste Of Things, a meditation on turn-of-the-century French cooking — no chicken wings or nachos in sight — is stirring up a nice weekend for IFC Films with $126k and the best per-theater opening of the year so far on Super Bowl weekend.

Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days from Neon is looking at $100k on five screens. In wider release, Bleecker Street’s Out Of Darkness is at a solid $1 million on circa 900 screens. American Fiction and Poor Things are holding in the top ten.

The Taste Of Things, which premiered at Cannes, winning Best Director for Vietnamese-born French filmmaker Tràn Anh Hùng, is seeing a $42k PTA from three screens (NYC’s IFC Center and Film At Lincoln Center, LA’s Laemmle Royal). Originally The Pot-au-Feu, it stars Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel as cook Eugenie and her boss Dodin, longtime partners in love and in the kitchen of Dodin’s country villa. Much of its 2 hours-16 minute runtime lingers on the preparation and reverent enjoyment of elaborate meals.

IFC is expanding nationwide to about 500 screens on Wednesday (Valentine’s Day). Those grosses will be interesting to see since the film, with an upbeat opening, yes, and at a heady 99% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, carries an initial RT audience score of 35% (50+ ratings).

“Since Cannes, we have been passionate about highlighting The Taste Of Things as a cinematic experience which touches all the senses. This weekend’s results showcase how deeply audiences and critics alike are connecting with this stunning work of art,” said Scott Shooman, head of the film group at IFC Films’ parent AMC Networks. “Hùng is a warm and meticulous auteur, and we are proud to share in his ongoing success.”

Shooman said the weekend was also the highest per-theater average opening of a French-language film in the last two decades, as well as one of IFC’s top five limited openings and per-theater averages. 

Justine Triet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winning French film Anatomy Of A Fall from Neon opened in October at $117k on five screens. (It has a cume of $4.5 million U.S. and close $27 million worldwide, with five Oscar noms including Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Editing and Actress.)

Also in limited release this weekend, the debut of Perfect Days starring Koji Yakusho (Cannes, Best Actor) as a cultured public toilet cleaner a public toilet cleaner in Tokyo who seems utterly content with his simple life, until he’s not. Japan’s Oscar-nominated Best International Feature submission, which opened last Wednesday, has an estimated cume through the weekend of $180k.

Bleecker Street’s Out Of Darkness, a prehistoric survival thriller by Andrew Cummings, will gross an estimated $1 million on 897 screens in the U.S. and Canada. The extremely well-reviewed survival film set 4,500 years ago has characters speaking a made-up new langauge called Tola, with subtitles. It’ss reporting Fri. – $484.2k; Sat. – $347k; Sun. – $173.5k.

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers face-off later today at Super Bowl LVIII in Vegas is taking a chunk of the Sunday box office.

Cord Jefferson’s Oscar-nominated American Fiction from Amazon MGM, starring Jeffrey Wright, is keeping a spot in the top ten with a $1.38 million-weekend on 1,462 screens. It’s no. 8.

Ditto Poor Things, from Searchlight Pictures, at no. 10. The Yorgos Lanthimos film starring Emma Stone passed Asteroid City last week as the highest-grossing limited opening release of 2023. It’s seeing $1.25 million in North America on 1,300 screens in week 10, for an estimated cume of $30.3 million to date.

Through the same point in its domestic run, and about a month ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony, Poor Things box office remains ahead of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite ($34.4 million total run), Searchlight said.

Poor Things and American Fiction films have multiple Oscar nominations and expanded strategically and sucessfully into and after noms were announced.

So did A24’s The Zone Of Interest, which grossed $773k this weekend on 598 screens for a cume of $6 million.

Other new specialty openings: Music Box Films release of Ennio, the Giuseppe Tornatore documentary about the late maestro Ennio Morricone, grossed $7.k on one screens, the Film Forum in NYC. The opening is comparable to Frederick Wiseman’s Menus Plaisirs: Les Troisgros, another lengthy documentary that opened recently at the same venue, Music Box noted.

Ennio premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2021 but hadn’t secure a U.S. release until now. Starts an LA run at the Laemmle NoHo on Feb. 23.

'Out of Darkness' release date

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