Drafthouse Films released another Oscar nominee -- Belgium's foreign language hopeful "Bullhead" -- on 7 screens in New York, LA and Austin. The result was a $42,500 holiday gross, averaging $6,071. Angelika NYC and the Alamo South Lamar led the pack in terms of individual theaters, while grosses saw large increases from Friday to Saturday in Santa Monica and at the Empire in Manhattan.
The film will expand to 20 markets this Friday.
Also opening was ATO Pictures' "Thin Ice," a comedy starring Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup. One of the few specialty releases in the market not associated with awards season, the film opened on an aggressive 53 screens and took in $190,800 over the 3-day weekend (4-day numbers were not available), averaging $3,800.
Not to be confused, "On The Ice" was also released this weekend. Released by OTC LLC and PMK*BNC Films, the Alaska-set film debuted on 4 screens in New York and Alaska. The result was a $22,000 gross and a $5,000 average over the holiday weekend.
Among holdovers -- and fresh off its surprise nomination for best animated feature -- GKIDS expanded "Chico & Rita" from one to five screens in its second weekend. A love story set in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the film grossed $26,603 as a result (over the 3-day), giving it a $5,320 average and a new total of $56,170.
Also in its second weekend was Sony Classics' Oscar-nominated foreign language film "In Darkness." The Holocaust-set Polish drama expanded from three to 14 screens (six of which were in Canada, where the film is being released by Mongrel Media) and grossed $100,551 over the holiday frame, averaging $7,182. The film's total now stands at $219,193.
While it didn't end up managing an Oscar nomination, Millennium Entertainment expanded Oren Moverman's "Rampart" from five to 28 screens in its second weekend of official release after its Oscar-qualifying run back in December. The result was a decent $161,711 4-day gross, averaging $5,775. Its total now stands at $246,131.
The Weinstein Company expanded Madonna's "W.E." from 17 to 20 theaters. It took in $65,263 over the 4-day weekend for a $3,263 average. That took the film's total to $219,193.
Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin" held steady on 16 screens in the sixth weekend of its official theatrical run care of Oscilloscope. The result was a $71,232 4-day gross and an average of $4,452. Added to its Oscar-qualifying numbers from December, "Kevin" has now earned $604,821.
Ralph Fiennes' "Coriolanus" had an Oscar-qualifying run back in December; this weekend, it grossed only $49,105 from 13 screens over the holiday (up two screens from last weekend) for an average of $3,777. On a hopeful note, that is a 20% rise from last weekend (when comparing the 3-day numbers), despite the minimal screen boost. The film's total now stands at $331,855.
Holding on very strongly -- and crossing the $2 million mark -- was Asghar Farhad's Iranian drama "A Separation," which Sony Pictures Classics pushed from 45 screens to 54 in its eighth weekend. The film, which has Oscar nominations for both best foreign-language film and best original screenplay, scored a $410,594 gross through the holiday, averaging $7,604, Its total now stands at an fantastic $2,0127,346. Its average was the highest of any limited release -- quite a feat for a film in its eighth weekend.
Also crossing the $2 million mark was Oscar-nominated "Pina," which expanded from 67 to 79 screens in its ninth weekend. The Wim Wenders-directed 3D documentary that looks at the work of dance artist Pina Bausch grossed $405,033 over the 4-day, averaging $5,127. That gave the substantial indie hit an excellent new total of $2,281,861, ahead of a further expansion.
Finally, two of Oscar's biggest hopefuls continue to do very good business.
Fox Searchlight's release of Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" dropped off from 1,581 to 1,243 screens. In its 14th weekend of release, it took in $3,500,000 over the 4-day weekend, averaging $2,816 (a higher average than last weekend. The new total of $75,582,770 surpasses the gross of Payne's "Sideways" -- and makes it the fourth highest grossing Fox Searchlight release ever.
Holding steady on 808 screens, Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" continues to work its silent magic with a $3,000,000 4-day gross over its 13th weekend, a 4% rise from last weekend (comparing 3-days) despite no additional screens. Averaging $3,713 the film's total is now $28,098,959 -- clearly a record for a film with no dialogue.
Indiewire will have an expanded box office report covering the full holiday weekend tomorrow morning.
Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior 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 email@example.com by the end of the day each Monday.