#IrishAbroad: The Lobster and Love & Friendship continue strong US box-office runs

The Irish Film Board backed co-productions The Lobster and Love & Friendship are building on their record opening weekends by posting big numbers again at the US box-office in their second weeks of release.

The Lobster added 20 screens and $408,000 as it expanded from 4 locations. Last weekend the film set the bar for highest per-screen-average of 2016 with $47,034, and this weekend it managed a per-screen-average of $17,000. To put that into context, the year’s highest grossing independent release in the US is Helen Mirren-starring Eye in the Sky, and The Lobster managed to gross just $25,000 less from a screen less. Considering that Eye in the Sky has made $18,214,000 to date, The Lobster should set its targets quite high.

The Lobster is a love story set in the near future where single people, according to the rules of The City, are arrested and transferred to The Hotel.  There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days.  If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into The Woods.  A desperate Man escapes from The Hotel to The Woods where The Loners live and falls in love, although it is against their rules.

The Lobster is written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou and produced by Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Ceci Dempsey and Yorgos Lanthimos. Executive Producers are Andrew Lowe, Tessa Ross and Sam Lavender. The Lobster is an Element Pictures, Scarlet Films, Faliro House, Haut et Court, Lemming Film co-production in association with Limp, with financing from the Irish Film Board.

The Whit Stillman directed Love & Friendship had an equally impressive second weekend. The film had a bigger expansion than its compatriot, adding 43 more locations and $582,015, to bring its cumulative total to $780,348. Those figures represent a $12,833 per-screen-average, which is the 4th highest for limited releases of the weekend, and more importantly is higher than the second weekend PSA of Eye in the Sky. That bodes well for the Roadside Attractions and Amazon release as further expansion is planned in the coming weeks.

Love & Friendship is based on Stillman’s adaptation of the Jane Austen novella Lady Susan, an early complete work that Austen never submitted for publication, that describes the schemes of the main character, the widowed Lady Susan, as she seeks a new husband for herself and one for her daughter.

The film stars Kate Beckinsale, Chloe Sevigny, Tom Bennett, Xavier Samuel, Stephen Fry, Emma Greenwell, Jemma Redgrave, James Fleet, Lochlainn O Mearáinn, and Morfydd Clark. Filming took place in Ireland in February and March of last year, with Katie Holly of Blinder Films as producer, and Kieron J. Walsh as executive producer. Love & Friendship is a Westerly Films production in association with Blinder Films, Chic Films, Revolver Films, the Irish Film Board, Arte and the Netherlands Film Fund.

Elsewhere in the US Angry Birds opened at number 1, taking $39 million from 3,932 locations. The film, which is co-directed by Irish-man Fergal Reilly has so far grossed over $150m worldwide. John Carney’s Sing Street is also currently on release in the US, and has taken in $2,490,000 at US box office to date.  The film’s gross dropped 60% to $350,000 as its numbers rduced from 525 to 520 locations. It won’t end up posting Once or Begin Again figures, but it is a solid return for The Wesinstein Company.

Last year, Irish films took over $53 million at the international box office, with a number of films selling every territory across the world.

Love & Friendship opens in Ireland next Friday (May 27th). The Lobster is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.