“Amy” and “Tangerine” box office hits at Lake Worth’s Stonzek Theater

LAKE WORTH, Fl (2015, 10 September). Front of the Stonzek Theater. Photo by: Adriana Delgado.

When it comes to popularity and box office revenues in the world of indie films, it sometimes comes down to a symbolic coin toss. Much of the success of low-budget independent films, largely depend on the audience’s reception at film festivals. Last month in Lake Worth, Florida, the Stonzek Theater, a small art-film movie house, located next to the historic Lake Worth Playhouse, screened back-to-back two films that were wildly successful in this year’s festival circuit, particularly Cannes and Sundance: Amy and Tangerine.

Lake Worth, Florida (August,8,2015) "Amy" poster inside Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)
Lake Worth, Florida (August,8,2015) “Amy” poster inside Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)
Lake Worth, Florida (August, 8,2015) "Tangerine" poster in the lobby of the Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)
Lake Worth, Florida (August, 8,2015) “Tangerine” poster in the lobby of the Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)

In a July interview with Art Film File, Stonzek Theater manager, Charlie Birnbaum, and projectionist Ben Brown, both stated uncertainty whether two festival favorites, Amy and Tangerine,would attract the Stonzek’s regular moviegoers or if on the contrary, the films would play to an empty house. “I have great deal of confidence in my taste, but much less confidence in what will be a hit in the theater,” Birnbaum stated. Ben Brown affirms this statement, revealing that the Stonzek’s regulars seem to be quite fickle and unpredictable in regards to their taste in films. “Most of the people that come here are retired, elderly patrons, who prefer the Stonzek because it’s quieter that bigger theaters,” Brown said. “We get some younger people that like art films sometimes, but it’s not the vast majority,” he concluded.

Surprisingly these two films beat the odds, both screening to almost a full house in each of their two daily shows, as seen in the infographic below, starting at a peak during the weekend, and slowly trickling down, but still going strong for the remainder of the week:

 

Tangerine, distributed by Magnolia Pictures, is a film that unconventionally brushes on the topic of transgender prostitutes in Hollywood, additionally has the unique feature of being the first film shot completely on an iPhone by director Sean Baker. It’s success at the Stonzek was evident in the revenues, totaling an astounding 980 dollars by the end of the week, which is not a common number for most films shown at the theater. Amy, a documentary directed by Asif Kapadia and distributed by A24 Films, about the life of late twenty-seven year old British singer Amy Winehouse was equally successful, ending the week with a little over twelve hundred dollars in revenues.

Lake Worth, Florida (August,7,2015). The main screening room of the Stonzek Theater before the afternoon show on Friday, August 7 (Photo: Adriana Delgado)
Lake Worth, Florida (August,7,2015). The main screening room of the Stonzek Theater before the afternoon show on Friday, August 7 (Photo: Adriana Delgado)

Not one, but two unexpected hits with the Stonzek’s audience, astounded even it’s steadfast manager. “I am amazed,” Birnbaum stated, his voice remaining a tad incredulous. “I never expected that these films would do so well. We made over two thousand dollars with both of them the week they ran, and for us, that’s really, really good.” So good in fact, that Birnbaum plans to bring them back in September for an encore presentation, with the exciting addendum of a Skype Q&A with Tangerine director Sean Baker, and co-writer Chris Bergoch.

Lake Worth, Florida (August,7,2015). The minimalist but charming lobby of the Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)
Lake Worth, Florida (August,7,2015). The minimalist but charming lobby of the Stonzek Theater (Photo: Adriana Delgado)

 

Listen to Art Film File’s Adriana Delgado, talking about the unanticipated hit of indie films Amy and Tangerine:

About ADRIANA DELGADO 68 Articles
Art Film File is a site for cinephiles ,who like myself, have a deep respect, love, and admiration for independent and foreign films of every era. Readers who follow Art Film File are for the most part adverse to the "Hollywood Blockbuster" theorem (although there are many good ones out there) showing instead a strong inclination to connect with films that explore topics such as life, identity and philosophy without necessarily following a neat studio-oriented narrative. In the past, much like it is now, many independent and foreign films get done many times with countless challenges. Small budgets, little or no outside funding and absence of willing distributors are some of the problems that many American and foreign independent filmmakers face regularly. Art Film File acts as a conduit in bringing these films, past and present, to the public's attention. Art Film File is also a site that displays detailed reviews about films they haven't seen as well as for films they have seen and wish to share their own views. I plan to include interviews with filmmakers and actors of indie and foreign films in addition to articles depicting topics of interest for readers who already follow Art Film File and for those waiting to discover it. Adriana Delgado Founder and Blog Manager of Art Film File

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