By Brian Brooks | Indiewire September 13, 2005 at 10:54AM
Yash Raj Films' Bollywood romantic/comedy "Salaam Namaste" by Siddharth Raj Anand provided some specialty box office ballyhoo in an otherwise dull weekend reflected in the iW BOT spotlighting indie titles ranked on a per screen basis. Newcomers dominated the chart's top tier, with Miramax's "An Unfinished Life" taking in the second most money of all 74 films listed, and taking the second highest returns in screen average. Freestyle Releasing's "Green Street Hooligans," meanwhile, placed third with its limited weekend release. Magnolia Pictures' debut, "Keane" managed a top five showing, while other rollouts ranked from modest to weak. "March of the Penguins" continued its long reign as the specialty list's biggest overall earner.
Director Siddharth Raj Anand's Bollywood-style feature "Salaam Namaste" opened at 63 locations, grossing $504,897 for a respectable $8,014 average over the weekend, providing some pizzazz in theaters showing "indie" content in an otherwise generally dull weekend.
Also debuting, to a deecnt number was Miramax's "An Unfinished Life," which was the week's second biggest single earner on the chart, grossing more than $1 million at 139 sites. The film averaged $7,254, placing second on the chart in terms of screen average.
Lexi Alexander's "Green Street Hooligans" opened at number three on the chart, grossing $48,760 from seven locations. The film averaged $6,966 per screen. "We're excited! The film's per screen average was quite healthy for the weekend and people exiting were loving the film. We even had one woman who saw the film 12 times this weekend," commented Deborah Del Prete who produced the feature and is involved with its distribution through Freestyle Releasing. "The audience was fairly mixed age wise but predominately male which is not surprising due to its subject matter and that most of our advertising was in that market area. But women who saw the film really liked it and this week we will widen our advertising to include the female market." Freestyle will expand the film in the upcoming weekend, in L.A. to nine locations.
In other weekend openers, Magnolia Pictures' "Keane" had one engagement, grossing $6,151, giving the film a fifth place showing on the chart. Strand Releasing's comedy, "Cote d'Azure" opened at 11 locations, grossing $33,521 ($3,047 average), and Shadow Distribution's "Touch the Sound" played a trio of venues, grossing $8,435 ($2,812 average). Film Movement's "Campfire" opened at five theaters, taking in $12,598 ($2,520 average). Hummingbird Pictures' "Side Effects" played one engagement ($2,216 gross), while Halestorm Entertainment's "Mobsters and Mormons" screened at 32 sites, grossing $67,945 ($2,123 average).
Warner Independent Pictures' "March of the Penguins" kept a good number of people flocking to theaters in its third month since release. The film again took the biggest share of the specialty gross, taking in nearly $2.7 million at from 2,403 sites ($1,099 average). Focus Features' "Broken Flowers" was the weekend's third biggest earner, taking in $753,289 on 425 screens. The film averaged $1,772.
The combined grosses of "March of the Penguins," "An Unfinished Life," and "Broken Flowers" consumed about 65% of the entire specialty box office gross of just over $6.8 million. In total, 74 specialty titles played 4,788 screens, averaging $1,421, or 27% below the previous weekend's $1,966 average. Last week, 66 films screened at 5,055 locations, grossing just under $10 million.
Factoring out the top three grosser, the remaining 71 films on the chart grossed just over $2.4 million on 1,821 screens, averaging 7% below the iW BOT average at $1,319. Industry-wide, 126 films took in about $86.5 million on 42,842 screens, averaging $2,019, or 30% higher than the iW BOT average.
This week's openers include Warner Independent Pictures' "Everything Is Illuminated," Picture This! Entertainment's "Garçon Stupide," Regent Releasing's "Hellbent," and First Run Features' "One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern." Also coming to theaters in limited release are Miramax's "Proof," Fox Searchlight's "Separate Lives," Picturehouse's "The Thing About My Folks," and Sony Classics' "Thumbsucker."