Talking Heads Concert Film ‘Stop Making Sense’ Re-Release Surpasses Initial Box Office Run

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The classic Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense” has generated $5 million at the box office since returning to theaters in the fall.

With this benchmark, the “Stop Making Sense” re-release has generated more coinage than the film’s entire initial 41-week run ($4.95 million) in 1984. Of course, this milestone comes with a massive caveat: Ticket sales aren’t adjusted for inflation, and prices were significantly less expensive four decades ago. So, attendance was higher during the original release.

Still, it’s an impressive turnout for a 40-year-old documentary about a band whose members are currently in their 70s and 80s. (Concert films don’t need to sell at the level of Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour” to be successful.) According to its distributor A24, it’s not just old fans of Talking Heads who are returning to the big screen. More than 60% of audience members were not alive when the film was originally released, so the majority of moviegoers are watching “Stop Making Sense” in theaters for the first time.

A24 acquired worldwide rights to “Stop Making Sense” last year and brought the remastered version to the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The world premiere — where dancing was encouraged, if not required — was followed by a Q&A moderated by Spike Lee with the four original band members David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison in attendance.

The late Jonathan Demme directed “Stop Making Sense,” which is regarded as one of the greatest concert films ever. It was filmed over the course of three nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in December of 1983 and features some of the band’s most memorable songs, like “Burning Down the House,” “Once in a Lifetime” and “This Must Be the Place.”

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