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Box Office: “F Word” Leads Underwhelming Debuts; “Like Crazy” and “Margin Call” Continue To Impress

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 6, 2011 at 1:15PM

Box Office: “F Word” Leads Underwhelming Debuts; “Like Crazy” and “Margin Call” Continue To Impress
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"The Other F Word"
Oscilloscope Laboratories "The Other F Word"

A trio of newcomers led a generally underwhelming weekend at the indie box office that was more about the holdovers than anything else.  While films like “Like Crazy” and “Margin Call” continued to show much promise in their second and third weekends, respectively, the top debut was Oscilloscope’s doc “The Other F Word.”  According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today, “F Word” - Andrea Blaugrund Nevins’s doc about punk rockers who become fathers - grossed $14,600 from 2 screens, averaging $7,800.

Those numbers are the highest average of any of the debuts (though the second highest overall, after “Like Crazy”), topping the star-studded “The Son of No One,” which Anchor Bay released on 11 screens. Starring Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Juliette Binoche and Tracy Morgan, “No One” was seen by close to it, grossing only $19,800 for a $1,800 average.

Fairing slightly better was the two screen debut of Kino Lorber doc “Charlotte Rampling: The Look,” which grossed $7,000 for a $3,500 average.

The weekend’s real story was the holdovers. Drake Doremus’s “Like Crazy” expanded from 4 to 16 screens and held up quite well.  The Sundance pickup, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the festival, grossed $270,000 for distributor Paramount Vantage. That’s a 119% uptick from last weekend, leaving “Crazy” with a $16,875 per-theater-average and a new total of $447,996. That tracks it ahead of its fellow Sundance alum “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” which had a higher first weekend but did not hold up as quite well as “Crazy” in its second (though poor weather in New York last weekend likely affected both films).

Sean Durkin’s “Martha” expanded from 32 to 98 screens in its third weekend and managed a respectable 90% rise in grosses. The drama, which stars Elizabeth Olsen as a woman emerging from a abusive cult, grossed $471,000, crossing the $1 million mark on the way.  Its $4,806 per-theater-average was down less than $3,000 from last weekend’s somewhat disappointing second weekend, and its total now stands at $1,036,252. Next Friday Fox Searchlight will expand the film to 45 new markets and 170-185 theaters, which will be a considerable test for the film.

Roadside Attractions aggressively expanded JC Chandor’s Wall Street-set “Margin Call” from 140 to 178 screens and continued to see very strong numbers. The film had a 7% rise in grosses and took in $774,300.  That made for a $4,350 average and a new total of $2,571,950.  The film is clearly turning into quite the success story, partially thanks to timing that couldn’t have been more appropriate given the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Other holdovers included Michael Brandt’s Richard Gere starrer “The Double,” which jumped from 11 to 45 screens and managed a mild $63,748 for distributor Image Entertainment. The film averaged $1,417 for a new total of $100,116. averaging a mild $2,504.

Also in its second weekend was Vincent Morisset’s Sigur Ros concert film “Inni.” Released by Cinema Purgatorio, the film grossed $8,580 on 5 screens, averaging $1,716. Though notable is that some of those screens only played the film once the weekend. One Saturday midnight screening in NYC grossed $3,101 (selling out the theater).  From that demand, they have added a full week next week at the IFC Center.  The film’s total now stands at $44,906.

Cohen Media Group dropped Jim Loach’s Emily Watson-starrer “Oranges and Sunshine” in its third weekend from 15 to 12 screens and found a $23,723 gross and an unremarkable $1,977 average. The film’s total now stands at $100,168.

Pedro Almodovar’s “The Skin I Live In” expanded from 31 to 78 screens in its fourth weekend and saw a $326,228 gross, averaging $4,182. The Sony Pictures Classics-released film crossed the $1 million mark as a result, with a new total of $1,258,851. Almodovar’s last film, “Broken Embraces,” ended up with a $5,014,305 final gross.  That may be out of reach for “Skin,” though it is not benefiting from the marketable presence of Penelope Cruz.

Emilio Estevez “The Way,” starring his father Martin Sheen, was on an impressive 224 screens this weekend (down from 258) via a unique partnership between Estevez, Elixir Films, Producers Distribution Agency and ARC Entertainment. The result was a $359,980 gross and a $1,607 average - both up from last weekend despite the screen loss. The film’s total now stands at $2,148,940.

“‘The Way’ is holding like a champ, with a 3-day total surpassing last weekend’s —on 15% fewer screens—giving it a higher per screen average in its 5th week in release than its 4th,” Producers Distribution Agency’s John Sloss said. “We’re seeing dramatic increases this weekend in markets as broad and disparate as New York and Salt Lake City, Washington DC and El Paso, San Francisco and Boise, among others. Word of mouth and Oscar talk for Martin Sheen are propelling the film now and we expect it to play strongly well into the holiday season.”

Jeff Nichols’ critically acclaimed “Take Shelter” dropped one venue to 90 screens in its sixth weekend and still saw an 4% uptick in grosses. The Sony Pictures Classics release, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, grossed $197,787 for a $2,198 average. The film’s total is now $1,053,081, giving Sony Classics its second $1 million milestone maker this weekend.

Lech Majewski’s “The Mill & The Cross” was on 9 screens in its eighth frame for Kino Lorber. The film took in an estimated $13,000, averaging $1,444 and taking its total to $211,724.

Finally, in its whopping 25th weekend, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” continued to find averages above $1,000, which is essentially unheard of.  The Sony Classics release grossed another $75,104 from 54 screens, which was 23% higher than last weekend despite losing 7 screens.  The film’s total now stands at $55,484,969.

Peter Knegt is indieWIRE Associate Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

indieWIRE tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at studiogrosses@rentrak.com  by the end of the day each Monday..