By Indiewire | Indiewire March 31, 2004 at 2:0AM
"Bon Voyage" Tops Specialty Box Office Once Again; "Dogville" a Very Close Second
by Brian Brooks
"Bon Voyage" made a repeat trip to the top of the specialty box office as more screens were added after debuting last week at one site. "Dogville" debuted in theaters, capturing the second position on the list of films as measured by per screen average. Zeitgeist sat in third place with its feature, "Divan," while "Good Bye, Lenin!" and "The Passion of the Christ" maintained strong numbers.
The iW BOT tracked 60 films, a decline of five from last week. The charts show red ink, as just about every metric of performance for the industry and for specialty films decreased last weekend. "Passion" continues to be the lion's share of the specialty film take, responsible for more than 84% of the total specialty grosses on 64% of the screens tracked by indieWIRE. The overall gross would have been $2.3 million minus "The Passion," compared to $3.04 million previously. Looking at averages, the industry-wide number came in at $3,079, versus $3,007 for the "indie" average.
Sony Classics' "Bon Voyage" triumphed once again at the box office, adding five engagements taking in $59,273 on six screens for a $9,879 per screen average and a cume of $100,501. The film outranked Lions Gate's "Dogville" by Lars von Trier by $6 per screen. That film grossed $88,855 on nine screens for a $9,873 average.
Zeitgeist's couch doc "Divan" screened at New York's Film Forum grossing $6,575. Since its release two weeks ago, the film has earned $21,670. "We're pleased. These are solid numbers for this kind of [limited] release," commented Zeitgeist Films co-president Emily Russo to indieWIRE by phone Tuesday. "We're taking the film to Long Island and Queens this Friday, and to L.A. in May." "Divan" played at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and came to the attention of Zeitgeist shortly thereafter. Russo said the company will continue to take the film to most markets. "We'll move it around city to city and continue to open it in all the markets where it can play, I assume it will be plenty."
Emerging Pictures debuted its doc about the Chicago Cubs on six screens in the Windy City as well as Scottsdale, AZ over the weekend, taking in $31,252 for a per screen of $5,209. "We're incredibly pleased," said Emerging Pictures head Ira Deutchman during a conversation with indieWIRE on Tuesday. "It's like a commercial opening. The Cub fans came out to support the film, which is what we expected." Deutchman said there were many sold out screenings in Scottsdale, near the Cubs spring training site in Mesa. Also of interest was the digital release of the film. "We did this whole thing electronically," said Deutchman adding, "We put in digital technology into the theaters using D-VHS, which is very cost effective. We've been doing six shows a day, and everything's been working."
Deutchman added that the New York-based company has been receiving "a lot of calls" from exhibitors throughout the Chicago area wanting to screen the film. "We'll try and accommodate them as much as possible, but it's an equipment issue." The film will continue to be rolled out around Illinois as well as Lake Geneva, WI. "The entire Midwest out to the edge of the Rockies is basically Cubs territory. By the way, the Cubs have the most loyal fans," concluded Deutchman.
"Good Bye, Lenin!" maintained its zeal in 20 additional venues taking in $288,224 on 63 screens. The film by Wolfgang Becker averaged $4,575 ($5,758 previously) with a cume that passed the $1 million mark after 5 weeks in release. The film outpaced the per screen average of "The Passion of the Christ," which also opened in theaters 5 weeks ago. "The Passion grossed over $12.59 million on 3,214 screens, down from 3,250. "Passion" averaged $3,918, down from $5,974. To date, the film has cumed a celestial $315.15 million.
Last weekend's other openers included "Mayor of Sunset Strip" from First Look/Samuel Goldwyn Films. The doc about legendary L.A. disc jockey Rodney Bingenheimer took in $21,722 at seven sites, for a $3,103 per screen average. Focus Features also debuted "Ned Kelly" at 22 sites, grossing $43,704 for a modest $1,987 average.
Upcoming openers include Todd Stephens' "Gypsy 83" as well as Stephen Chow's "Shaolin Soccer." Sony Classics will open Korean film "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring" and Yoji Yamada's "The Twilight Samurai" will make its debut. Matthew Ryan Hoge's "The United States of Leland" also opens in L.A. and New York.
[Brian Clark contributed to this report]