By Peter Knegt | Indiewire October 9, 2011 at 5:20AM
The anticipated (or at least, for people with capable stomachs) sequel "Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence" hit theaters this weekend, and according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon it found perhaps the most promising results of a generally unimpressive batch of opening films.
"Full Sequence" grossed $54,000 from 18 screens, averaging what might seem like a poor $3,000. However, the estimates so far are impressive considering "Full Sequence" was screening on only late shows on Friday and Saturday. IFC Films said the film sold out midnight shows in New York and Los Angeles on both Friday and Saturday. Another 16 locations exhibited the film on a late night program to what IFC deemed "great success."
The film will continue to play late shows and expand into other markets throughout the month of October, and is also available on demand, a medium that would seem to suit the film quite well. The original "Centipede" ended up grossing $181,467 theatrically.
Strand Releasing debuted "The Women on the Sixth Floor" on an apt six screens in New York and Los Angeles and saw respectable numbers. The French import, set in 1960s Paris, follows a conservative couple's lives as they are turned upside down by two Spanish maids. It grossed $26,150 for a $4,358 average - technically the highest of any reporting newcomer.
Landing with a thud was The Weinstein Company's "Dirty Girl," which debuted on 9 screens. The retro coming of age comedy - starring Juno Temple and newcomer Jeremy Dozier - grossed $17,500 for a $1,944 per-theater-average.
Emilio Estevez's "The Way" - starring his father Martin Sheen - debuted on 33 screens this weekend via a unique partnership between Estevez, Elixir Films, Producers Distribution Agency and ARC Entertainment. The result was a $132,411 gross and a $4,012 average.
"We are encouraged by the solid opening of Emilio Estevez's 'The Way,' which was predicated almost exclusively on a grass roots outreach," Producers Distribution Agency's John Sloss said today. "It's a strong base from which to grow a very playable, word of mouth movie, which should dovetail effectively with the beginning of our media buy as we expand the release."
Among holdovers, Jeff Nichols' critically acclaimed "Take Shelter" expanded from 3 to 11 screens in its second weekend. The Sony Pictures Classics release, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, grossed $55,634 for a respectable $5,058 average. The film's total now stands at $129,855.
Much worse news met the second weekend of Kenneth Longergan's "Margaret." After years of delays (it was shot back in 2005), the film finally hit theaters last weekend with little fanfare. Fox Searchlight released the film - which stars Anna Paquin as a woman caught up in the aftermath of a bus accident - and this weekend expanded it from 2 to 11 screens. The result was a weak $12,834 gross and $917 average. The film's total now stands at just $24,655.
Also in its sophomore frame, Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye's doc "Benda Bilili!" expanded modestly from 1 to 2 screens care of distributor National Geographic. The film grossed $2,733 for a $1,367 average. After 10 days, "Benda" sits at $5,612.
Andrew Haigh's "Weekend" continued to perform nicely in its third weekend. The British drama about a romance that takes place over the titular timeframe expanded from 6 to 14 screens this weekend. The film - released through Sundance Selects - grossed $56,000, averaging $4,000. That took its total to $170,000 as it continues to expand across the country in coming weekends. That's a strong number, particularly considering its also currently available on demand.
Marc Forster's "Machine Gun Preacher" expanded from 33 to 93 screens for distributor Relativity Media. The film, which stars Gerard Butler as the founder of the Angels of East Africa rescue organization, saw a mild 33% rise in grosses and took in another $113,000. That made for a $1,215 per-theater-average and a new total of $291,632. Relativity had acquired North American rights from Lionsgate, which will continue to oversee international distribution for the film.
Also in its third weekend, Millennium Entertainment's release of Adam and Mark Kassen's "Puncture" went from 4 to 5 screens but still lost 35% of its gross. Starring Chris Evans as a drug-addicted lawyer who takes on a health supply corporation, the film took in $6,572 for a $1,314 average. Its total now stands at $55,858.
Lech Majewski's "The Mill & The Cross" went to 8 screens in its fourth frame for Kino Lorber. The film took in an estimated $14,500, averaging $1,813 and taking its total to $102,835.
Cohen Media Group's release of Jean Becker's "My Afternoons With Margueritte" dropped 1 screen to 40 in its fourth weekend. The film, which stars recent newsmaker Gérard Depardieu as an illiterate and lonely man who bonds with an older and well-read woman, took in $45,500, averaging $1,138. The film has now grossed $303,000.
In its whopping eleventh weekend, Sony Pictures Classics' release of John Michael McDonagh's "The Guard" continued to hold nicely. The Irish black comedy starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle dropped from 157 to 124 theaters and took in $132,420 (only a 32% drop despite the screen loss) for an average of $1,068. The film's total stands at $4,660,091 with the $5 million milestone likely.
Finally, comedian Kevin Hart continued to find fantastic numbers at the box office with his "Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain," an independently released movie version of his 2011 comedy tour. The film dropped from 278 to 248 screens and grossed another $436,366. That made for a $1,760 average and a stellar new total of $6,898,303, truly making it one of the most substantial indie success stories of the year.
The film was produced for only $750,000 by Jeff Clanagan, chief executive of independent production company Codeblack Entertainment, which distributed the movie domestically in AMC Theaters.
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..