A noteworthy addendum to Sergio’s box office post published just below this one…
Barry Jenkins’ critically-acclaimed sophomore feature film, “Moonlight,” saw an incredible opening for distributor A24, who released the film on just 4 screens nationwide, to an estimated $414,000 weekend gross.
What’s noteworthy about this is that the per-screen average of over $103,500 earns the film the largest opening per theater average of the year, and, even more significant, it now ranks as one of the top 25 movie opening averages of all time, at number 24, putting it in the company of celebrated titles like “Birdman,” “The Revenant,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “American Hustle,” “Steve Jobs,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Lion King,” “Toy Story 2,” “The Master,” and even “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” to name a few of the other films that make up the top 25 all-time list.
I should also note that many of these films went on to become Oscar contenders, and, in some cases, Oscar winners in various categories. So Mr. Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is again in very good company here.
With plans to gradually expand the film’s reach nationwide, starting next weekend, along with the wave of strong positive buzz it’s garnered since its premiere at Telluride over the summer (including a current 98% rating on RottenTomatoes and 99% on Metacritic), I expect “Moonlight” will continue to perform very well at the box office for distributor A24. It’s already quadrupled the cumulative box office gross that Jenkins’ last film, his feature debut “Medicine for Melancholy,” earned through its entire run!
I’d also expect that this kind of attention-getting achievement will lead to even more opportunities for the talented Mr. Barry Jenkins. As of today, we know that Universal has hired him to write the script for what will be a coming-of-age drama based on the life of Olympic Gold Medal boxer Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (one can only wonder if he’ll direct the film as well); and he also recently set up a limited TV series based on celebrated author Colson Whitehead’s latest novel, “The Underground Railroad,” which was published this summer, and saw immediate success thanks in part to Oprah Winfrey naming it a Book Club selection, as well as critical praise from literary critics. Jenkins is re-teaming with his “Moonlight” producers (Brad Pitt’s) Plan B, and Adele Romanski to adapt Whitehead’s novel, which chronicles a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
A seemingly long 8 years between his first and second feature films, Mr. Jenkins, it appears your time has come!