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by Peter Knegt
March 28, 2010 3:53 AM
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Box Office: "Chloe" Finds Fair Numbers; "Tattoo," "Greenberg" Fight Sophomore Slump

A scene from Atom Egoyan's "Chloe."

Sony Pictures Classics' release of Atom Egoyan's "Chloe" (which was actually an acquisition of Sony Pictures Entertainment Worldwide Acquisitions Group, not SPC) found fair numbers in its quite aggressive 306 screen debut this weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon. Starring a considerably marketable cast in Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfried and Liam Neeson, the sexual thriller grossed $713,542 for a $2,332 average.

Considering its generally negative reviews and high screen count, those are by no means disastrous numbers for "Chloe," and the film has already out-gross Egoyan last film, "Adoration" (also distributed by SPC) by more than double. In fact, when including this weekend's numbers from Egoyan native Canada (where "Chloe" was released by E1 Entertainment), the numbers top the total grosses of many Egoyan films. In Canada the film grossed $288,450 on 44 screens for a much more potent $6,556 average. Combined, that gives "Chloe" a domestic opening of $1,001,922 - higher than the end totals of "Adoration," "Where The Truth Lies," and "Felicia's Journey." To be fair, none of those films had this wide of an opening, and none of them had the benefit of stars like Neeson and Moore.

Also debuting this weekend was Disney's release of a documentary that exposes the rather scandalous inner-workings of Disney itself in the late 1980s and early 1990s, "Waking Sleeping Beauty." Directed by former Disney exec Don Hahn, the film - which had premiered last fall at the Toronto International Film Festival - debuted on five screens, scoring $33,100. That amounted to a somewhat decent $6,620 average.

There was much news among the many specialty films in their second weekends of release. Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg," for example, managed a decent expansion in its second frame. Expanding from 3 to 181 screens, the Focus Features release - which stars Ben Stiller as a forty-something New Yorker who comes to Los Angeles in the midst of a mid-life crisis - grossed $1,058,876 for an average of $5,850. That brings the film's total to $1,237,869 and makes it quite clear that "Greenberg" should have no issue topping Baumbach last film, 2007 "Margot at the Wedding." While last weekend's debut had "Greenberg" essentially tracking identical numbers as "Margot," this weekend saw the film soar about "Margot"'s first 100+ screen weekend (where it averaged $1,463) and will likely out-gross that film's $1,956,291 total by next weekend.

One of last weekend's other high-profile specialty debuts, Floria Sigismondi's "The Runaways," starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, did not fare quite as well in its sophomore frame. Grossing $445,810 from a near-static 237 screens (last weekend it was actually on a slightly higher 244), the Apparition release dropped off roughly 45%, averaging only $1,881. The film is still set for a wide expansion on April 9th, though at this point things are not looking too promising in that regard. After 10 days, "The Runaways"'s total stands at $1,571,262.

Two films that did avoid a sophomore slump were Niels Arden Oplev's anticipated Swedish import "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and Raymond De Felitta's family drama "City Island." "Tattoo" - already coming off over $80 million in overseas box office - went from 34 to 44 screens this weekend, and held on to last weekend's numbers nicely. The Music Box Films release grossed $352,115 - about 10% higher than last weekend, $8,003. That's actually the highest per-theater-average of any specialty film that reported estimates, and the third highest overall behind studio leader (and similarly dragon-centric) "How To Train Your Dragon" - more on that film's performance here - and Warner Brothers' limited release of "Hubble 3-D." Music Box will expand "Tattoo" to 40 more screens next Friday. The film's total now stands at an impressive $840,385.

After finding the highest debut in distributor Anchor Bay's history last weekend, "Island" - starring Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies - went from 2 to 7 screens this weekend (adding Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia and Toronto to its original NY and LA markets), and managed a reasonable 53% uptick in grosses. Taking in $49,000, the film averaged $7,000 and took its total to $92,673. For Anchor Bay - which has never had a film gross over $300,000 - these are some very promising numbers.

Finally, IFC Films expanded their release of Italian import "Vincere." Directed by Marco Bellocchio, the Cannes alum went from 2 to 13 screens and grossed $46,995. That amounted to a $3,615 average and a $76,995 cume.

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 studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday..

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4 Comments

  • arikira | March 30, 2010 10:15 AMReply

    There's no mention in this column that the title of highest per-engagement average this past weekend is held by the Truly Indie release of "Lbs.", with $11,690 -- far outshining its nearest indie competitors, "Bluebeard" (Strand - $8,370), "Mid-August Lunch" (Zetigeist - $7,966), and "The Girl with the Green Tattoo" (Music Box Films - $7,761).

  • Peter Knegt | March 30, 2010 2:08 AMReply

    Those numbers weren't submitted in time for this column's Sunday afternoon publishing. However, they will be included in indieWIRE's box office chart - which covers final numbers & not just estimates - which will be published today at 1pm at indiewire.com/boxoffice.

  • Peter Knegt | March 28, 2010 6:13 AMReply

    Well said, and I stand corrected re: Ararat... Though mind you, opening better than "Funny Games," "Henry Poole is Here," "The Lucky Ones" or "Management" isn't exactly something to phone home about.

  • peterindie | March 28, 2010 5:37 AMReply

    "Ararat" actually grossed $1.5 million in North America - higher than how much "Chloe" grosses at the opened weekend.
    http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=ararat.htm

    I agree that "Chloe" opening is not disastrous, since "Chloe" opens better than a lot of films that had similar release pattern, like "Funny Games", "Henry Poole Is Here", "The Lucky Ones" and "Management". (Specialty distributors generally use this kind of release pattern for the films that would receive generally negative reviews) Furthermore, Sony Pictures Entertainment Worldwide Acquisitions Group bought "Chloe" primary for home video.