Sundance: How are the big films of 2012's drama competition faring at the box office?

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Image Credit: Jess Pinkham

As this year’s Sundance Film Festival winds down, there’s a collection of stand-outs, films that have already sparked bidding wars among distributors and are gaining buzz that filmmakers hope turns into success beyond the festival.

But where are the films that were in the midst of this festival frenzy a year ago? Now that 13 of the 16 films in the U.S. dramatic competition have opened in theaters nationwide, they yield a list that’s mainly box office duds, but there was one movie that had plenty of life in it post-Sundance — the acclaimed Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Beasts of the Southern Wild has found the most success, both at the box office and throughout awards season. The bayou fairy tale earned four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and a nod for the youngest-ever Best Actress nominee, nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis. Beasts, made on a $1.8 million budget and acquired for a undisclosed sum — but one that sources say was extremely low — has racked up $11.4 million at the domestic box office. Fox Searchlight Pictures re-released the film for an additional theatrical run last week following the announcement of the Academy Award nominations.

Beasts of the Southern Wild has been on the dream journey for a Sundance movie, but the same can’t be said for all of its fellow competition films. All 16 were acquired, but three have yet to be released, and nine failed to pass the $250,000 mark at the U.S. box office. Along with Beasts, only two of the bunch earned more than $1 million; time travel flick Safety Not Guaranteed reached $4 million, and The Sessions, about a paraplegic man’s sessions with a sex surrogate, has earned $5 million.

Here is how each of the 2012 drama competition films have fared at the domestic box office:

Beasts of the Southern Wild $11,487,869
The Comedy $41,113
The End of Love [release date: March 1, 2013; now available on VOD and iTunes]
Filly Brown [release date: April 26, 2013]
The First Time $22,836
For Ellen $12,396
Hello I Must Be Going $106,709
Keep the Lights On $246,112
LUV $113,763
Middle of Nowhere $236,806
Nobody Walks $25,342
Safety Not Guaranteed $4,010,957
Save the Date $5,719
Simon Killer [release date: April, 5, 2013]
Smashed $376,597
The Sessions $5,812,591

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmilyNRome

Read more:
Sundance: 21 Festival Hits That Tanked — GALLERY
Sundance 2013: The deal report
Sundance 2013: Lisa Schwarzbaum’s favorite films so far — VIDEO

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