‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Brings Indie Box Office a Few More Inches of Progress

Searchlight’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” has continued the slow, excruciating recovery process for the indie box office as it expanded to 895 theaters in 45 cities this weekend, adding $2 million as it crosses the $3 million overall mark after three weekends in release.

Over the past two weekends in limited release, Martin McDonagh’s tragicomedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson has posted better numbers than Focus Features’ “Tár” but well short of McDonagh’s 2017 Oscar winner “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” That trend has continued as “Inisherin” beat the $1 million total earned last weekend by “Tár” from 1,095 theaters while grossing roughly half of the $4.4 million 3-day total that “Three Billboards” earned from 614 theaters on Thanksgiving weekend.

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Such a result is to be expected as arthouses that survived the COVID-19 pandemic labor to bring audiences back to theaters for critically acclaimed but challenging fare. That challenge will only get steeper in the coming weeks as “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” arrives with a much more dramatic tone than most of its Marvel brethren, though films like Universal’s “The Fabelmans” will try to provide a wider range of mature films for audiences while “Banshees of Inisherin” keeps pinning its hopes on slow-burning word-of-mouth as it continues expanding.

Just behind “Inisherin” on the box office charts is UA/Orion’s “Till,” which added $1.8 million from 2,136 theaters, bringing its total to $6.5 million after four weekends in theaters. Focus Features also expanded James Gray’s “Armageddon Time” to 1,006 theaters to very tepid results, grossing just $810,000 for a per theater average of $802 and a running total of $902,000. “Tár,” meanwhile, added $670,000 from 1,090 theaters in its fifth weekend, bringing its total to $3.7 million.