Specialty Box Office: Russian-Banned Satire ‘Death of Stalin’ Strikes Chord in U.S.

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As Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate Russia’s possible interference in the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump’s involvement in such meddling, along comes a political satire about the former Soviet Union that is striking a chord at the specialty box office.deathofstalin_02_copy_-_h_2017

Over the weekend, Armando Iannucci’s critically acclaimed The Death of Stalin did impressive business upon launching in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles, grossing $181,308 for a per-screen average of $45,327 — the second-best average of the year to date behind Black Panther. Iannucci is best known in the U.S. for Veep and In the Loop.

 

Moreover, the comedy scored the second-best opening average ever for veteran indie distributor IFC behind the specialty hit Boyhood, which posted an average of $77,524 when it bowed in five theaters in July 2014. (That excludes IFC films that opened on only one screen). Generally speaking, the post-Oscar corridor can be a quiet time at the specialty box office, making Death of Stalin‘s performance all the more impressive.

 

Set in 1953, The Death of Stalin is based on a French graphic novel about the chaos and power struggles that ensue following the death of Joseph Stalin. Steve Buscemi, Olga Kurylenko, Adrian McLoughlin, Jeffrey Tambor, Michael Palin, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Andrea Riseborough, Rupert Friend and Jason Isaacs star.

 

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:   TIFF

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