By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 16, 2012 at 10:37AM
After its successful week-long Oscar qualifying run back in December, Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin" returned to theaters this weekend for its official theatrical run. According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today, the result was a very strong $44,000 gross from two screens.
That gave the film - which stars Tilda Swinton as the mother of a boy who commits a school shooting spree - a $22,000 average, the highest among any film in release. Added to its December numbers, "Kevin" has now taken in $83,297. Distributor Oscilloscope plans to expand the film in the coming weeks, potentially aided by an Oscar nomination for Swinton.
Also opening was S2BN Films' release of the Harry Belafonte doc "Sing Your Song." On two screens, the film grossed $12,301 for a $6,151 average.
Among holdovers, the third weekend of Weinstein Company release "The Iron Lady" saw some very promising numbers. Expanding aggressively from five to 802 screens, the film grossed an impressive $5,386,000 -- shooting up 2,954% in grosses.. That gave "Lady," starring Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, a spot in the overall top 10 and a strong average of $6,716. The film has now totalled $5,973,621 with Streep's all-but-assured Oscar nomination sure to help make that grow.
Also holding on very strong was another lady-centered release, "Pina," which held steady on three New York screens and added three more in Los Angeles. The Wim Wenders-directed 3D documentary that looks at the work of dance artist Pina Bausch grossed $108,000 as a result, averaging a huge $18,000. That gave it a total of $540,193 (despite its widest screen count being six), ahead of a further expansion that could easily make "Pina" a huge success story for distributor Sundance Selects.
Focus Features continued their expansion of Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy." After five very successful weeks so far, Focus pushed the film from 809 to 886 screens and saw it gross $3,160,945. While that's a 42% drop from last weekend -- which suggests "Tinker" has peaked -- it's still a great number.
Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and John Hurt, the well-reviewed film has not received many notices from awards season, getting shut out of the Golden Globe and SAG nominations. But it doesn't seem to have hurt the film at all, which has now totalled $15,103,486. A final gross above $20 million is very likely.
Also finding strong numbers was Asghar Farhad's Iranian drama "A Separation," which Sony Pictures Classics held steady on six screens in its third weekend. The film, which is heavily favored in this year's foreign-language Oscar race, scored a $80,026 gross, averaging $13,338 and dropping just 14% despite no added screens. Its total now stands at $322,049.
Focus Features' release of Dee Rees's "Pariah" also went into its third weekend. Going from 11 to 24 screens, the drama grossed $98,631 -- a 10% drop from last weekend. That made for a respectable $4,110 average, though likely somewhat below Focus' expectations for the acclaimed film. Its total now stands at $371,000.
Also not faring so well was the fourth weekend of Angelina Jolie's directorial debut "In The Land of Blood and Honey." A love story set against the Bosnian war, the Film District release went from 7 to 18 screens and failed to attract a significant audience. It grossed $39,885 over the weekend, giving it a $2,221 average and a new total of $145,628.
Roman Polanski's "Carnage" went for a big expansion in its fifth weekend, jumping from 15 to 494 screens. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, it grossed a reasonable $785,590 as a result, averaging $1,590. Starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, the film has now totalled $1,372,055.
Expanding from 172 to 216 screens, Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" continued to give the Weinstein Company reason to celebrate as it heads into Oscar season with the assumed frontrunner. The film managed a $1,167,000 gross over its eighth weekend, averaging $5,403. The film's total has now grown to $8,763,779, which is surely a record for a silent film.
Steve McQueen's "Shame" dropped from 45 to 41 screens in its seventh weekend for Fox Searchlight. The NC-17 film starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan grossed $142,800 as a result, dropping 32% in grosses. That gave "Shame" a $3,483 average and a new total of $2,625,223.
A fellow Searchlight release, Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," dropped 21% as its screen count fell from 737 to 660 in its ninth weekend of release. It grossed $2,035,000, which is still very respectable. It gave the film, starring George Clooney as a Hawaii land baron, a weekend average of $3,083 and a new total of $47,039,196. It's now the sixth-highest grossing film ever for Fox Searchlight.
Finally, Fassbender's other major specialty release, David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," went from 64 to 104 screens. The film, which stars Fassbender as Jung and Viggo Mortensen as Freud, took in $569,995 over the weekend, jumping 104% in grosses. That made for a $5,481 per-theater-average (impressively up from last weekend) and a new total of $2,757,187. Like "Carnage," "A Dangerous Method" is released by Sony Pictures Classics -- though "Method" is looking to become the much bigger hit of the two.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day each Monday.