"About Schmidt" Opens to Box Office Glory as "Russian Ark" Sails High
by Brian Brooks
(indieWIRE: 12.17.02) -- "About Schmidt" opened its first weekend in limited
release with a nod from the L.A. critics while Lions Gate released "Intacto" on
one screen and "Russian Ark" played in two theaters.
Alexander Payne's "About Schmidt" opened in six cinemas over the weekend cashing
in a hefty $47,061 average on six screens totaling $282,367. The New Line
release starring Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson about a retiring father
facing an underwhelming future received a best picture choice from the Los
Angeles Film Critics Association for 2002 beating out other contenders including
"Far From Heaven," which was named top film by the New York Film Critics Circle.
United Artists' broken family drama "Evelyn" opened on 15 screens taking in
$65,344. The Bruce Beresford film starring Pierce Brosnan grossed a per screen
average of $4,356. Fellow U.A. releases "Personal Velocity" took in $143,869
in its fourth week on 38 screens for a healthy $3,786 average (for a total of
$390,362), while Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" made $562,410 on 234
screens for a $2,403 average going in its 10th week. The film, named the top
documentary ever last week by the Independent Documentary Association, has a
new total just under $13.8 million.
In other openers, Alexandr Sokurov's Hermitage-set "Russian Ark" opened nicely
with $29,022 on 2 screens for a $14,511 average for the Wellspring film.
Meanwhile, Lions Gate's thriller "Intacto" by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo took in
$7,362 on one Gotham screen its first weekend. Tim Blake Nelson's "The Grey
Zone" passed the half-million mark taking in $21,881 on 16 screens for the Lions
Gate release. The per screen average was $1,367.
"Equilibrium" went into its second weekend earning the Miramax film $268,016 on
301 screens for a slim $890 per screen average. The film, directed by Kurt
Wimmer, has a new cume of $1.05 million. Miramax's Atom Egoyan film "Ararat"
finished its fifth weekend with $81,665 on 37 screens for a $2,207 per screen
average and a new cume just shy of $1.3 million. Canada nominated the film for
nine of its Genie awards last week. Philip Noyce's award-winning "Rabbit Proof
Fence" made $50,695 on 31 screen for a $5,633 per screen average and a new total
In other grosses, Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven" finished its sixth weekend with
an additional $722,430 on 270 screens for a new total just under $8 million for
the Focus Features film. In addition to a best pic nod from the New York Film
Critics Circle the feature also received best actress for Julianne Moore from
the LA critics group. Samuel Goldwyn's "El Crimen del Padre Amaro" closed its
fifth weekend earning an impressive $311,401 on 137 screens for a $2,273 per
screen average. The total for the controversial Mexican film starring Gael
Garcia Bernal is now $3.65 million.
Opening next week are Denzel Washington's directorial debut "Antwone Fisher,"
Joe Carnahan's Sundance pic "Narc," Spike Lee's latest "25th Hour," and Asian
film "Devils on the Doorstep" opens at New York's Film Forum. Also opening is
"The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." [Brian Brooks]