‘Poor Things’ Earns Winter’s Best Limited Domestic Box Office Debut

The Big Picture

  • Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ dark comedy Poor Things opens to excellent response, earning unanimous praise and becoming an Oscars front-runner.
  • The film achieves an astonishing per-theater average of $72,000, making it the third biggest for a limited release this year.
  • Emma Stone’s performance in Poor Things is considered a shoo-in for her fourth Academy Award nomination, and she will reunite with Lanthimos for his next film.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ major awards’ contender, the surreal dark comedy Poor Things, opened in limited release this weekend to excellent response. The film delivered one of the top per-screen averages of the year, and the best of the awards season so far, as it opened at nine locations in four markets. A spin on the Frankenstein tale, Poor Things has earned unanimous praise, and is already a front-runner across several categories at the Oscars.

Across its first three days of release, Poor Things generated $644,000, for a per-theater average of an astonishing $72,000. This is the third-biggest PTA for any limited release this year, behind director Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, and Ari Aster’s Beau is Afraid. Released in June following a premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Asteroid City delivered a $100,000-plus PTA from six locations, on its way to a $54 million lifetime haul at the global box office. The far more divisive Beau is Afraid generated a PTA of $80,000 from four locations, but emerged as a box office bomb, grossing only $11 million worldwide against a reported budget of $30 million.

Despite its odd premise and singularly esoteric treatment, Poor Things has the potential to play through the holiday season, as it begins to gain steam heading into the Oscars. After breaking out with a series of festival hits, Lanthimos brought his signature dry humor to English-language filmmaking with 2015’s The Lobster. The movie made $18 million against a budget of less than $5 million. Lanthimos followed it up with the psychological thriller The Killing of a Sacred Deer, which, in addition to serving as Barry Keoghan’s grand introduction, grossed $10 million worldwide. His biggest hit remains The Favoruite, which grossed nearly $100 million worldwide and earned 10 Oscar nominations in 2019.

Can Emma Stone Score Her Fourth Oscar Nomination?

The period dark comedy won Emma Stone her third Academy Award nomination; she’d previously been nominated for Birdman, and had won for her performance in La La Land. Stone’s performance in Poor Things is considered a shoo-in for her fourth nod next year. The movie traces the sexual liberation of a young woman, who is brought back to life by a scientist following her suicide. Stone and Lanthimos will reunite for the third time for his next film, the already completed Kind of Kindness. Reviews for Poor Things have been excellent so far. The film stands at a “fresh” 93% score on the aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. Collider’s Ross Bonaime called it “a staggering visual accomplishment,” and declared it to be, “one of the best films of 2023.” Poor Things also stars Mark Ruffalo, Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, and others. You can watch the film in theaters, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.

Poor Things Film Poster

Poor Things

The incredible tale about the fantastical evolution of Bella Baxter, a young woman brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Dr. Godwin Baxter.

Release Date
December 8, 2023

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By asm3a