DAILY NEWS: The Weekly Box Office;Sundance/NHK Finalists and Education at EFA Conference
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE with a report by Caroline Wells
>> “Far From Heaven” Has a Big Debut; “Frida” Still Strong at Box Office
(indieWIRE: 11.12.02) — The awards season race is underway among specialty
films from Indiewood, with pictures jockeying for position in limited release.
“Far From Heaven” joined the fray this weekend with strong numbers, while
“Frida” continues to perform very well. Of course, it was all in the shadow
of the incredible debut of “8 Mile” from Universal Pictures.
Todd Haynes critically acclaimed “Far From Heaven,” a hit during its premieres
at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, drew $211,279.00 on only 6 screens for Focus Features, for a great $35,213 per screen average. The film will hit
13 new markets (38 more screens) this weekend and 52 new markets the following
weekend. Focus is also still pushing Francois Ozon‘s “8 Women,” which earned
$128,606 on 61 screens for an average of $2,108 and a new cume of $2.7 million.
“Far From Heaven’s” winning per screen average was shy of the recent limited
release debut for “Frida” from Miramax. Julie Taymor‘s Frida Kahlo bio pic debuted on 5 screens two weekends ago with an average of over $40,000. This
weekend, “Frida” nabbed nearly $2.8 million in its expansion to 319 theaters for an $8,600 average. It has earned $4.5 million so far.
Another Latina story, Newmarket‘s “Real Women Have Curves,” has shown promising numbers in its expansion during the past two weekends. The film earned $526,357 on 146 screens for a steady $3,605 average and a new cume of just under
$2 million after a soft opening last month.
Solidly continuing to expand is United Artists‘ release of Michael Moore‘s
“Bowling for Columbine.” The doc, still drawing large crowds in Manhattan this
weekend, expanded to 222 theaters and nabbed nearly $1.6 million. It has earned
just shy of $6.8 million since debuting on October 11th. The film is expected
to reach 300 screens this coming weekend.
Another would-be Oscar contender has fallen out of favor with audiences. Sony
Pictures Classics‘ “Auto Focus,” the new film from Paul Schrader earned $248,423 on 349 screens for a low $712 average. It has earned $1.5 million
after four weeks.
Artisan‘s release of the New York indie film “Roger Dodger” expanded to 34 screens this past weekend. The film earned $170,578 for a $5,000 average and
a new cume of $446,591. The film will add 20 screens this coming weekend.
ThinkFilm‘s release of “The Last Kiss” passed the million dollar mark in after 13 weekends in limited release. The movie made $25,650 on 21 screens for a
$1,221 average and a new cume of just over $1 million.
From Zeitgeist, the doc “Derrida” earned $23,630 on 3 screens for an average of $7,877. It is screening in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. The film has
earned $65,480 so far at the box office. The company’s release of “Satin Rouge“
is past the $200,000 mark. It earned $3,770 on 3 screens for a new total of
Small Planet Pictures release of “Tully” nabbed $36,310 on 8 screens over the weekend for an average of $4,539. The film has earned $65,237 so far.
All in all, a solid week for a number of limited release films, despite the
staggering performance by “8 Mile” from Universal. The Eminem film blew away
even the most generous pre-release estimates. It earned more than $50 million
on about 2,500 screens for a per screen that was over $20,000.
Quickly, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is poised to cross the $200 million mark.
The film earned $5.8 million on 1,975 screens over the weekend. It has earned
$192,857,165 in 30 weekends of release.
A slew of new limited release films will join the pack this weekend. Atom
Egoyan‘s “Ararat” from Miramax, the Mexican smash “El Crimen del Padre Amaro” from Samuel Goldwyn Films, George Ratlff‘s documentary, “Hell House,” from 7th Art Releasing, Neil Burger JFK conspiracy pic, “Interview with the Assassin” from Magnolia, Tim McCann‘s self-distributed “Revolution #9,” “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” from Artisan, and Paramount Classics‘ South Korean hit, “The Way Home.”
The new crop will be facing tough competition from the solid group of specialty
performers. Universal’s “8 Mile” will be in week two of its release and Warner
Bros. will unveil the latest Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and The Chamber
of Secrets.” [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Sundance and NHK Unveil Filmmakers Award Finalists
(indieWIRE: 11.12.02) — Sundance Institute and NHK have announced the 12 finalists for the 2003 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Awards. Winners will be unveiled during the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.
Finalists from Europe include Sara Gavron (“The Anarchists,” United Kingdom), Yesim Ustaoglu (“Waiting for the Clouds,” Turkey), and Regnar Bragason (“The Wisperer,” Iceland). From Latin America the finalists are Jorge Gaggero (“Cama Adentro,” Argentina), Carlos Cortez (“Quero,” Brazil), Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll (“Whisky,” Uruguay). From the United States the finalists are Michael Kang (“The Motel“), Christa Collins (“P.O.V.“) and Doug Sadler (“Swimmers“). Finally from Japan the finalists are Asako Hyuga (“Seesaw“),
Makoto Tanaka (“All About Hiroshi Tanaka“), and Mai Tominaga (“100% Pure Wool“).
Winners will receive a cash award of $10,000 with a guarantee from NHK to
purchase the movie for a Japanese television broadcast. One winner will be
chosen, by an international jury, from each global region. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Spotlight on Film Education at EFA Conference
(indieWIRE: 11.12.02) — European film education is on the agenda at this
year’s European Film Academy (EFA) conference at the European Film Awards on December 7th in Rome. Initiated by an array of Italian directors, the goal of
this year’s conference is to encourage the European Ministers of Culture and
Education that a pan-European film education curriculum needs to be developed
and implemented in European schools. The EFA is further requesting that film
be considered “with the same status that is granted to arts and literature.”
“Mankind at the beginning of the 21st Century has to cope with both a real and
a virtual world,” said the EFA in a prepared statement. “In order to understand
and intelligently benefit from the potential that this new dimension can offer,
our children need to be equipped with the tools and the knowledge that enable
them to become conscious and self-determined members of a modern global society.”
French film journalist, writer and director Jean Douchet will chair the
Conference. On hand to declare support for a film education curriculum will be
European filmmakers Francesco Rosi, Stephen Frears, Wim Wenders and actress Jeanne Moreau as well as a 12 year-old German student Linda Moog. [Caroline Wells]