By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 9, 2009 at 6:18AM
Sophie Barthes' "Cold Souls" led all reporting specialty openers this weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak this afternoon. Grossing $63,350 from its seven screens, the Samuel Goldwyn Films release - which stars Paul Giamatti as a soul searching version of himself - averaged a mildly disappointing $9,050. That makes for the lowest per-theater-average to lead specialty films this summer. "Souls" expands to five new markets on August 14th.
Other openers included Nicholas Jasenovec's "Paper Heart" - starring Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera, which, like "Souls," is a Sundance 2009 alum. Released through Overture Films, the film grossed $206,000 from 38 screens, which resulted in a fair $5,421 per-theater-average.
"Heart" is only Overture Films second release this year, following "Sunshine Cleaning," which had been 2009's specialty box office champ until this weekend. Dethroning it was Marc Webb's "(500) Days of Summer," which entered the overall top ten this weekend after making its biggest expansion to date. Growing from 266 to 817 screens, Fox Searchlight releasen "Summer" grossed $3,725,000. Though its $4,559 average is over 50% off from last weekend, considering its expansion that remains a respectable number. It also gave "Summer" a $12,342,000-and-counting total that officially gives it the status "Sunshine" had enjoyed since March.
Among holdovers was "Summer"'s Fox Searchlight sibling "Adam," which had led specialty entries last weekend. The film - directed Max Mayer and starring Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne - expanded from 4 to 20 screens and grossed $104,000, averaging $5,200 and taking its total to $242,073 as it continues to expand.
"Adam" trailed another sophomore entry - Park Chan-wook's "Thirst" - in terms of per-theater-average. Focus Features' release "Thirst" took in $51,829 from 8 screens, up from 4 last weekend. The Cannes alum's total now stands at $137,631.
Finally, Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" made a slight expansion from 523 to 535, and for the first time saw its weekend-to-weekend grosses drop, suggesting the Iraq War bomb squad thriller has financially peaked. The Summit Entertainment release grossed $1.3 million, averaging $2,355. While it brings the films' total to a great $8,987,105, it also suggests the film might come to a $12-15 million final tally, unless awards season can help it out later this year.
indieWIRE will update this article tomorrow on films that did not report weekend estimates, including the second weekend of "The Cove," and the debut of Andrew Bujalski’s “Beeswax."
indieWIRE:BOT 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.