Sex addict drama 'Shame' has solid debut despite NC-17 rating
The drama, which stars Michael Fassbender as a sex addict, grossed $361,181, according to an estimate from distributor Fox Searchlight. Its per-theater average of $36,118 is the third-highest for an NC-17 film in limited debut, behind Pedro Almodovar's "Bad Education" and Ang Lee's "Lust, Caution."
“NC-17 films always create a challenge, but the late shows were very strong,” said Sheila DeLoach, the studio’s executive vice president. “With the midnight shows being sold out, it’s encouraging that we’ll do well with a young, edgy audience.”
Searchlight is planning to expand the film from 10 to 19 theaters next weekend, but it remains to be seen how wide of a reach the picture will have. Cinemark, the nation's No. 3 theater chain, has a policy against showing NC-17 rated movies. The No. 4 chain, Carmike, has yet to book "Shame."
But exhibitor policies don't worry DeLoach, she said: “I don’t think that’s really going to impact the box office of the film.”
"Shame" is the first NC-17 film to be released nationally since 2007's "Lust, Caution," which ended up grossing $4.6 million. The top-grossing NC-17 film of all time is "Showgirls," about a dancer in Las Vegas, which collected $20.4 million in 1995.
— Amy Kaufman
Photo: Michael Fassbender stars in "Shame." Credit: Fox Searchlight