Radical, directed by Christopher Zala and starring the Mexican superstar actor and comedian Eugenio Derbez, has made a tremendous impact at the U.S. box office. Despite delaying its debut by two weeks to avoid competition, the film has soared to the no. 5 spot, generating a remarkable $2.7 million across 416 theaters. This success can be attributed to the strong word-of-mouth buzz that the film garnered due to its gripping storyline centered around a dedicated teacher in a troubled Mexican border town.
Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, featuring Cailee Spaeny as Priscilla Presley and Jacob Elordi as Elvis, is also making waves at the box office. In its major week-two expansion to 1,359 screens, the film is estimated to earn $5 million over the weekend, securing the no. 4 spot. This expansion has propelled the film’s total earnings to an impressive $5.3 million, making it one of the standout successes of the year. The film has resonated particularly well with a younger female audience, with 75% of ticket sales coming from women under 35.
With a sluggish wide release schedule, the box office landscape presents an opportunity for indie films to thrive. Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, distributed by Focus Features and starring Paul Giamatti, grossed $600k on 64 screens. The film will expand to 800 screens next week, hoping to capitalize on the potential for success in this environment. This opening for indie films showcases the appetite of audiences for unique and thought-provoking content beyond the realm of mainstream cinema.
Radical has made a significant impact not only in the U.S. but also in Mexico, where it achieved the biggest local-language opening since Covid. Selling more tickets than Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, the film became an instant hit in its home country. In the United States, Radical performed exceptionally well in markets with large Hispanic audiences, with Los Angeles leading the way, followed by Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Chicago, and Houston. The film’s success across different markets speaks to its universal appeal and ability to resonate with diverse audiences.
Expanding Beyond Expectations
Paul Presburger, the architect and former CEO of Pantelion, which oversaw the U.S. rollout of Radical, expects the film’s demographic to skew younger as more parents realize its value as a must-see film for kids. With positive word-of-mouth continuing to grow, an expansion of the film’s release is likely in the near future. The success of Radical stems from its ability to engage viewers through its portrayal of a frustrated teacher’s radical approach to overcoming neglect, corruption, and violence in a Mexican border town. Based on a true story, the film captivates audiences with its powerful message of hope and resilience.
Meg Ryan’s return to romantic comedy in What Happens Later has also made an impact, grossing $1.5 million on 1,492 screens and securing the no. 9 spot. The film, which Ryan also directed and co-stars David Duchovny, proves that the beloved actress still holds a special place in the hearts of moviegoers. Additionally, the debut of The Marsh King’s Daughter, starring Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn, under the banner of Roadside Attractions, has garnered an estimated three-day gross of $849,120 across 1,055 screens. These specialty openings demonstrate the vibrant landscape of independent filmmaking and the potential for unique stories to capture audiences’ attention.
Subject, a documentary from Greenwich Entertainment, directed by Camilla Hall and Jennifer Tiexera, delves into the impact widely-seen documentaries have on the lives of their subjects. The film also explores the inherent responsibilities that documentary filmmakers have towards their subjects. With its limited release on two screens, Subject grossed $7.5k, showcasing the niche appeal of documentary filmmaking and the importance of telling meaningful stories.
Picturehouse’s At The Gates made an impressive debut, grossing $5.2k at a single location, the AMC Burbank. The film features young actor Ezekiel Pacheco, who went from selling ice cream from his parent’s cart in East LA to starring in the thriller. The unique journey of its lead actor adds an extra layer of intrigue to the film. With its upcoming release in New York City, At The Gates has the potential to captivate audiences with its thrilling storyline and breakout performances.
Radical and a range of other films are making their mark on the box office, defying expectations and capturing the attention of audiences. Whether through powerful dramas, romantic comedies, or thought-provoking documentaries, these films demonstrate the diverse and vibrant nature of the contemporary film landscape. As we continue to explore the world of cinema, it is essential to celebrate the triumphs of these unique stories and the talented individuals who bring them to life on the big screen.