Survival thriller “Alone” is getting plenty of company at movie theaters and on digital platforms — amid otherwise tough times in the exhibition business.
“We’ve been able to emphasize that ‘Alone’ is a very elemental and primal story for audiences,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles. “For audiences, the situation is very recognizable. It’s very well-directed.”
The Magnolia Pictures release is currently one of the few success stories in the battered sector, which has seen Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” underperform, and studios delay high-profile releases such as “No Time to Die” and “F9” until 2021.
“Alone” is directed by Jonathan Hyams from a screenplay by Mattias Olsson. The film stars Jules Willcox as a young woman who desperately tries to escape a homicidal stalker — portrayed by a relentlessly menacing Marc Menchaca — in the wilderness. Critics have been dazzled, giving “Alone” a stellar 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Alone” opened in eighth place in North America on Sept. 18-20, with $182,473 at 174 locations, including 50 drive-ins. With a per-site average of $1,069, it trailed only “Tenet” among titles in the top 10. It finished 12th on Sept. 25-27, with $111,664 at 172 locations. The film is on 128 screens this weekend.
“‘Alone’ is another example of low-budget indie fare finding an audience during the pandemic,” said Box Office Pro chief analyst Shawn Robbins. “New Hollywood product is lacking right now, and this film’s release close to Halloween is timely for horror and suspense fans seeking out fresh content.”
Bowles noted that Magnolia had bought “Alone” in May, in the hopes that it would be attractive when theaters began opening again, along with digital platforms. “‘Alone’ was in the iTunes Top 10 (and theatrical box office top 10) on opening weekend — a new trend, unheard of for films in the pre-COVID era.”
The distributor has also seen solid streaming results for the biopic “John Lewis: Good Trouble” and from its 2018 Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic, “RBG,” which is Magnolia’s top domestic theatrical performer to date, grossing more than $14 million.
“Because we’re small, we’re also able to move nimbly when there’s an opportunity,” Bowles said.
Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, said the success of “Alone” underlines the essential attraction of the exhibition business.
“It might seem counterintuitive, but there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned survival horror movie to provide the perfect cinematic escape for people looking to leave their troubles behind for a couple of hours,” he added. “The communal environment of the drive-in is actually the perfect venue to have some scares safely with a bunch of other folks, and even though the film is available at home, ‘Alone’ is a hot commodity and people are literally driving to see it on the big screen.”