David Byrne met A24’s young fans as the Talking Heads Stop Making Sense is set to gross $800,673 from 264 Imax screens in North America this weekend. Its cumulative gross of $1.43 million includes Thursday screenings and a live event at TIFF for this remastered version of the 1984 Jonathan Demme-directed concert film ranked by critics as one of the best ever.
Nearly 60% of the audience was under 35 — not alive when the movie came out — and more than half said it was their first time seeing the film.
Stop Making Sense ran on a limited schedule with less than two shows on average at each location, and many screenings turning into dance parties. It expands nationwide next weekend to about 500 theaters and will play out like a regular release — an unusually long tail for a 40-year-old film. A footprint of theaters plans to keep playing it on weekends after its run.
The iconic band is now ensconced with Millennials and Gen Z as frontman David Byrne’s “big suit” meme does the rounds on social media. He grabbed the spotlight waving hotdog hands as he performed This Is A Life, the Oscar-nominated song from Everything Everywhere All At Once, at the Academy Awards. American Utopia, Byrne’s 2019 Broadway show based on a 2018 album and tour was filmed by Spike Lee and released by HBO in 2020. (Its run cut short by Covid, the show returned live in the fall of 2021 through spring of 2022.)
Stop Making Sense breakdown: Friday – $332.9k; Sat. $267.3k; Sun. – $200.4k. LA’s TLC Chinese theater was the top grossing and numbers were strong in NY, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. as well as regional markets from Sacramento to Indianapolis and Detroit.
The film’s 4K restoration, which also opened in select theaters in the U.K. and Ireland, has delivered $1.6M globally for Imax so far, including $725k from the live and encore screenings earlier this month. The iconic band’s reunion for that 40th anniversary at the Toronto International Film Festival was the large-format exhibitor’s highest grossing live event to date.
Other openings: Neon’s It Lives Inside by Bishal Dutta grossed an estimated $2.63 million at 2,005 theaters.
Creation of the Gods 1: Kingdom of Storms from Well Go USA took in $441.1k in 111 theaters, according to Comscore. Kappa Films’ release of I Can saw a $148k weekend at 135 locations.
IFC Films opened The Origin of Evil in 206 theaters to a debut of $45.9k.
My Sailor, My Love from Music Box Films debuted in 35 locations to $27.4k.
Circle Collective’s anthology feature What Doesn’t Float earned $5k from three sold-out shows at Roxy Cinema in Tribeca.