Box Office: 3-D “Dreams” Gives Werner Herzog His Best Debut (UPDATED)
IFC Films descended into Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” this weekend with five theaters in New York, LA and Chicago and the result was a very strong debut. The doc, which screened in both 2-D and 3-D versions, grossed an estimated $127,500 for a strong $25,500 per-theater-average (among the 10 best so far this year). Its top performing theaters were New York’s IFC Center and LA’s Arclight, where in both venues it took in roughly $33,000 on Friday and Saturday alone (note this article initially had erroneously reported that as a full weekend number).
“We are thrilled with the opening weekend numbers,” IFC Films’ Mark Boxer told indieWIRE today. “‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ in 3D played to sold-out shows all weekend as the film received glowing reviews in opening markets. We will aggressively roll out the film in May and open top the 15 markets this weekend.”
“Dreams” follows an exclusive expedition into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man. IFC picked up the film out of the Toronto Film Festival last fall and, unlike most of its films, did not release “Dreams” day-and-date on VOD.
Its debut is the best debut ever for Herzog, topping the per-theater-averages of his 2008 Antarctica doc “Encounters at the End of the World,” which grossed $17,730 from a single screen; 2007’s Vietnam narrative “Rescue Dawn,” which averaged $18,387 from six theaters; and 2005’s self-explanatory doc “Grizzly Man,” which averaged $9,280 from 29 theaters.
Of course, “Cave” also benefitted from the higher ticket prices that came with its 3-D screenings, making its numbers hard to compare with Herzog’s other films. “Rescue” and “Grizzly” remain his top-grossing efforts, eventually taking in $5,490,423 and $3,178,403, respectively. Those are dreamy final totals for “Cave” and clearly the next few weeks should be the true suggestion of whether of not that’s possible. But so far, so good.