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March 16, 2005 2:00 AM
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"Best of Youth" Takes the Lead in the Specialty Box office; "Downfall" Strong in Expansion

"Best of Youth" Takes the Lead in the Specialty Box office; "Downfall" Strong in Expansion

by Brian Brooks

Miramax's release "Best of Youth" scored the best showing in an otherwise very ho-hum specialty box office that saw the overall per screen average decline over the previous weekend. New Yorker Films' "Intimate Stories" was also a rare weekend stand-out, increasing its average significantly, but the film only played one engagement. Newmarket's "Downfall" remained solid after a decent-sized expansion, as did THINKFilm's "Born into Brothels." The big five grossing films maintained their absolute dollar domination of the iW BOT last weekend, which ended Sunday, March 13, with the remaining 48 titles included in the chart showing declining returns.

Marco Tullio Giordana's "Best of Youth" debuted on one screen, taking in $10,325, usurping "Downfall"'s three-week reign in the specialty box office's premiere position. Still, "Downfall" remained resilient despite a sizeable screen increase, giving the Newmarket release a third place showing. "Downfall"'s per site tally dropped 21% to $7,164 on a $329,544 gross from 46 screens, and increase of 37. The film's three-week cume is $582,198.

The weekend's number two film, "Intimate Stories" actually increased its per screen average by 39% to $9,952 in its third week running, although the film shed one venue, giving the film a single nationwide engagement. The film's three-week total is $26,364.

Miramax's "Dear Frankie" added nine screens for its second weekend in theatrical release. The film took in $73,976 from 14 sites for a $5,284 per screen average, a 30% decrease. Last week, the film averaged $7,508, while its cume is $126,282.

Samuel Goldwyn Films/Roadside Attractions joint release "Walk on Water" remained on solid ground, adding three sites, grossing $68,123 in its second weekend. The film averaged $5,240 a decline of only 13%. In two weeks, the film has totaled $153,164.

Academy Award-winning doc "Born into Brothels" added 59 screens, grossing $373,488 from 124 engagements. The THINKFilm release averaged $3,012, a 26% drop from the previous week, while the film's 14-week cume is over $1.52 million.

First Look Media's "The Boys & Girl from County Clare" debuted in seven sites, grossing $20,856. The film averaged $2,979, while Sony Classics' film "In My Country" played nine screens, averaging $2,487 from a $22,383 gross. Newmarket's "The Passion of the Christ" recut opened on 957 screens, grossing $223,938 for a weak $234 average.

The overall iW BOT, which included 53 films screening on 10,697 screens took in just over $24 million for a $2,249 per screen average, a 26% drop from last week's $3,053. Five films grossed seven or eight-figure sums over the weekend, totaling over $19.3 million, or about 80% of the entire specialty take. The remaining 48 films on the chart grossed over $4.71 million from 3,476 screens, averaging only $1,356, a 33% drop from the previous week's $2,139, using similar calculations.

Fox Searchlight's "Melinda and Melinda" by Woody Allen is among the upcoming weekend's openers, along with Wellspring's "Milk and Honey" by Joe Maggio.

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