If there’s one thing that can be said about Uncut Gems, it’s that it just keeps defying expectations. The indie thriller, led by Adam Sandler, has already broken a few box office records. And as it expands to more theaters this Oscars weekend, it looks like it will break yet another for A24.
This weekend, Uncut Gems is expanding back into 1,142 domestic theaters, according to Exhibitor Relations Company, "with added commentary from the Safdie Bros. and the Sandman." It's on its way to be A24s biggest domestic release of all time -- a title held by 2017’s Lady Bird with $48,958,273 at the North American box office. Uncut Gems is currently at $48,585,513 heading into the Feb. 7-9, 2020 weekend, per Box Office Mojo, so it just needs that little boost to get past Greta Gerwig's movie.
It’s not like the thriving indie studio has struggled to produce popular films. In the past few years, it’s given us Hereditary, Moonlight, Ex Machina, and The Witch. So that makes Uncut Gems’ potential new A24 record all the more impressive.
The Safdie Brothers’ film has enjoyed success on multiple levels since its release. During its limited release, which began on December 13, it logged A24’s highest per-screen average, pulling in about $105,000 per theater. After it began a wider release on Christmas Day, Uncut Gems gave A24 its biggest opening weekend yet, pulling in $19.5 million.
There are a lot of factors at work that make Uncut Gems’ success particularly significant. Despite lavish critical praise, the Oscars snubbed it, and audiences polled by CinemaScore were not quite as impressed with the film’s excessive violence and profanity. A lot of the word of mouth surrounding the film has hyped the movie as one of the most anxiety-inducing cinematic experiences ever -- which may not appeal to the average moviegoer. And though Adam Sandler is undeniably a box office draw, his spectacular performance as a gambling addict isn’t exactly what middle America is used to seeing from him.
Despite all this, Uncut Gems has clearly found and, more importantly, continues to find an audience. As it continues to rake in dough at the domestic box office, A24 is clearly focused on giving the film a chance at longevity here in the States. The studio released the film via Netflix International, but excluded the U.S. from having the option to stream it -- at least for now. And it was a curious decision, as it may have hindered Uncut Gem’s ability to break one final record for A24.
To date, Hereditary remains A24’s highest-grossing film worldwide at $79.3 million. It’s followed by Lady Bird and Moonlight, which pulled in $78.9 million and $65.2 million, respectively. But all three of those films were also released outside the United States. If Uncut Gems sticks solely to a domestic theatrical release, it will be hard, but not impossible, for it to surpass any of those global numbers.
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