John / March 21st, 2016

Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special” (Warner Bros.) marks the writer-director’s third straight strong opener. Its debut in New York and Los Angeles theaters is the best of the year so far. And three other films that debuted well last week—”Hello, My Name Is Doris,” “Eye in the Sky” and “City of Gold”— also expanded well. Just in time, fresh titles are arriving to fill screens in the anemic post-Oscar period.

“Midnight Special” (Warner Bros.) Criticwire: B+; Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Berlin, South by Southwest 2016.

$185,000 in 5 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $37,000.

After his successful middle-America dramas “Take Shelter” and “Mud,” director Jeff Nichols went further afield with this sci-fi story about a young boy with religious cult connections. His father (Michael Shannon) tries to protect him from forces trying to track him down, including government officials who are aware of the boy’s apparent unworldly powers. Warner Bros., not incapable of finding platform success beyond Clint Eastwood films — they had a somewhat bigger opening with a December opening of “Her” in 2014 — has made a major commitment to a more niche than usual film. They achieved at a minimum the top limited opening of the year so far (50% better than last weekend’s “Eye in the Sky”) and look to carefully nurture this going forward.

What comes next: This continues its tiered expansion next week, with early results suggesting a real chance that this becomes a significant early year success.

Tom Brueggemann; indiewire.com

Wow only 5 theaters, I had no idea just how limited an opening the film had. Very impressive figures though.



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