“Sundance 2012 at the Box Office: Charting Last Year’s Acquisitions”

January 17th, 2013 by

The Sundance Film Festival begins today and Indiewire has a helpful article tracking the B.O. performance of the 30 of the 40+ films that were picked up from last year’s festival.

Last year’s Sundance Film Festival — like the year before it — saw a remarkable amount of deals go down that made clear the sales drought of the end of the last decade had come to an end.  Over 40 films were picked up for release, and most of them made their way to theaters in the past year. And while there certainly were some very notable hits in films like “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Arbitrage,” “Searching For Sugar Man” and “Sleepwalk With Me,” it wasn’t a wholly impressive situation.

The 2012 crop has seen only three films gross over $6 million (“Beasts,” “Abritrage” and “The Words” — the latter of which is actually the highest grossing film picked up out of last year’s fest despite the fact that few seem to remember it). That’s on par with 2011’s slate (which was deemed a disappointing crop, box office-wise), but well below the six films to gross $6 million from 2010’s lineup (“The Kids Are All Right,” “Blue Valentine,” “Get Low,” “Winter’s Bone,” “Cyrus” and “Waiting For ‘Superman'”). Worse, only 11 films even managed to gross $1 million, down from 16 from 2011’s slate (which was, again, a letdown itself).

That said, there were no real disasters from last year’s fest either. Mostly just films that didn’t quite live up to expectations (and thankfully also a few that well exceeded them). Here’s a rundown of the 30 top-grossing films to be theatrically released from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, which doesn’t include largely unavailable VOD numbers that surely boosted the overall profit of many of them. It details our take on their level of success, from the big hits (we count 3) to the disappointments (we count 14).

What were the three big hits? Beasts from the Southern Wild, Arbitrage, and Searching for Sugar Man. This is a reminder about how tough it is for an indie feature to get distribution let alone make money.

For more of the article, go here.

If you’re at Sundance this year, please feel free to email me reactions to the movies you see, especially which ones you like.

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