Papakaliatis' Worlds Apart Wows Audience, Held Over in New York

The National Herald Archive

Christopher Papakaliatis brings a unique vision to his art

NEW YORK – Worlds Apart, the explosive and moving drama that scored No. 1 as Greece’s biggest box office winner in a decade, has made an enormously impressive opening in New York.

Distributor Cinema Libre Studio, thrilled at the film’s terrific showing, booked it for a second week at Village East Cinemas.

It racked up the largest per-screen tally of any other film showing in theatres across the USA, according to the official show-biz record keeper, Box Office Mojo, a huge achievement in the highly-competitive film world.

“I’m honored, touched and overwhelmed by the warm response of the people here in the USA,” actor/writer/director Christopher Papakaliatis told TNH.

“Having the movie for a second week in New York City and now in Los Angeles gives me strength and joy. It makes me proud to be a Greek and to have the opportunity to share this movie with many people around the globe.”

James Demetro, Director of the New York Greek Film Festival, who first introduced the film to New York audiences in October, said, “This is a sensational showing for Worlds Apart.”

He explained the tally, “The number one film was Hidden Figures, taking in $20,450,000. It was showing on 3,286 screens across the USA. When you divide the gross by the number of screens, you get a $6,223 per-screen average. Worlds Apart, playing at a single theater, sold $14,000 worth of tickets over the weekend. T

"hat’s more than double the number one film’s per screen average. This is a sensational showing for this Greek film. In comparison, here are the tallies for some of the other foreign films currently in distribution: Almodovar’s Julieta had a per screen average of $4,584 over the weekend; Elle, $1,505; Neruda, $2,719; Toni Erdmann, $8,193.”

Opening night proved special both for the Greek community and the extended community who supported the film.

Actor J.K. Simmons and Papakaliatis participated in a Q&A moderated by film critic Jeffrey Lyons. Included in the enthusiastic, capacity audience, actress Kathleen Turner offered her own thumbs-up review of the drama for the crowd.

Demetro orchestrated the third night’s Q&A. “I got a last-minute call to ask me if I would do a Q&A with Papakaliatis,” said Demetro.

“I expected a half-empty theater on a Sunday night. When I got there, I discovered the show was sold out, packed. Chris Papavasiliou, the producer was happy, very happy. This is a sensational showing for this film. Everybody involved with the film was very excited.”         

Distributor Richard Castro of Cinema Libre Studio told TNH, “The film could not have come along at a better time in America. We anticipated that audiences would embrace the beautiful essence of this movie and propel it to successful openings in New York, L.A., and beyond.

"It’s easy to fall in love with romance in this film, but what’s equally remarkable about it is the idea that we should never let anyone make us believe that our differences somehow make us less related as human beings.” 

Commenting on the film, Demetro said, “It has the potential to become the breakthrough movie that Greek cinema desperately needs to impact the American market. Worlds Apart is well-made and beautifully acted. Among his many talents, Papakaliatis’ greatest talent could be his ability to reach an audience. Even though he’s dealing with serious material here, he does it in a way that makes it accessible to a mass audience.”

Worlds Apart opened in Los Angeles on Jan. 20. It has been released theatrically in 13 countries.