Border Town Drama ‘Radical’ With Eugenio Derbez Busts Out In U.S. Debut; ‘Priscilla’ Rocks Expansion – Specialty Box Office

At the Gates, Breaking News, Exhibition, Independent, Indies, Movies, Priscilla, Radical, Specialty Box Office, Subject, The Holdovers, The Marsh King's Daughter, What Happens Later

Radical with Eugenio Derbez built on its smash opening in Mexico to hit no. 5 at the U.S. box office with a super $2.7 million at 416 theaters. The Pantelion film had delayed its debut Stateside by two weeks to skirt The Eras Tour juggernaut, allowing word of mouth to build for the drama about a dedicated teacher in a troubled Mexican border town.   

Priscilla by Sofia Coppola is looking at an estimated $5 million weekend and a no. 4 box office slot in a major week-two expansion to 1,359 screens. The film with Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis now has an estimated cume of $5.3 million in one of the year’s best expansions and Sofia Coppola’s second best of her career. Ticket sales were led by a younger female audience — 75% under 35 and 65% female.

Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers from Focus Features, starring Paul Giamatti, grossed $600k on 64 screens. Expands to 800 next week.

A sluggish wide release sked may be an opening for indie films. Dune: Part Two was originally set to bow this weekend but moved to March of next year due to the actors’ strike.

Radical, directed by Christopher Zala, is the first dramatic film role for Mexican superstar actor and comedian Derbez (Instructions Not Included, Overboard, How To Be A Latin Lover). It won the Festival Favorite Award when it premiered at Sundance. It had the biggest local-language opening in Mexico since Covid, selling more tickets than Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.

The film is holding strong in Mexico. Stateside, it did best in markets with big Hispanic audiences with LA the top followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Chicago and Houston, said Paul Presburger, the architect and former CEO of Pantelion, which was acquired by TelevisaUnivision a year ago. His company Miercoles Entertainment is overseeing Radical’s U.S. rollout.

The audience for Radical is majority female, but also scored high with males. Some 75% are over 25. Presburger says he expects the demo could start to skew younger “because it’s such a great film for kids to see. We’re hoping lots of parents will take their kids.” Expansion is likely “as long as word of mouth keep growing.”

Derbez plays a frustrated teacher in a Mexican border town plagued by neglect, corruption, and violence, who tries a radical new method to break through to his students. Based on a true story.

Other specialty openings: Meg Ryan’s return to romantic comedy What Happens Later grossed $1.5 million on 1,492 screens. The film, which was also directed by Ryan and co-stars David. Duchovny, was the weekend’s no. 9.

Roadside Attractions’ debut of The Marsh King’s Daughter starring Daisey Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn opened with an estimated three-day gross of $849,120 on 1,055 screens.

Documentary Subject from Greenwich Entertainment grossed $7.5k on two screens for a PSA of $3.75k. Directors Camilla Hall and Jennifer Tiexera’s explore the impact widely-seen documentaries have had on the lives of their subjects, and the inherent responsibilities documentary filmmakers have to their subjects. Played the IFC Center in NYC and Laemmle’s Glendale in LA. Adding Chicago’s Music Box next week. 

At The Gates from Picturehouse grossed $5.2k at one location, the AMC Burbank including Q&As with young actor Ezekiel Pacheco — who was selling ice cream from his parent’s cart in East LA and delivering Amazon packages when he got the part in the film. The thriller by first-time writer/director Augustus Bernstein opens in NYC next weekend.

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