By Peter Knegt | Indiewire April 11, 2010 at 6:01AM
While Tina Fey-Steve Carell comedy "Date Night" took out "Clash of the Titans" at the overall box office, five indies each found fair-to-decent numbers in very limited debuts. According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today, Maren Ade's "Everyone Else," Peter Bratt's "La Mission," Nash Edgerton's "The Square," Shirin Neshat's "Women Without Men" and Tom DiCillo's "When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors" all reported opening weekend numbers, with "Everyone Else" leading them all in terms of per-theater-average.
Relationship drama "Everyone," released by the Cinema Guild and coming off some strong reviews, found a promising $11,405 in its exclusive engagement at New York's IFC Center. The "anti-date movie" expands to LA next weekend.
Perhaps more impressive was the relatively wide debut of DiCillo's "When You're Strange. The documentary about The Doors - DIY released through Abramorama - grossed $65,371 from eight venues, averaging a respectable $8,171.
On two screens, Apparition's release of Edgerton's "The Square" found a similar average, grossing $16,564 for a $8,282 PTA.
"A strong New York Times review launched a good opening for Nash Edgerton's directorial debut," Apparition's Bob Berney commented. "His short, 'Spider,' sets up the dark comedy perfectly."
Opting for an LA-over-NY limited debut, Indiepix's release of Venice Silver Lion winner "Women Without Men" didn't fare quite as well. On three screens, "Men" is projected to gross $15,210, averaging $5,070. That said, grosses at LA's Music Hall are expected to exceed $7,000, representing the strongest opening at the theater this year. "Men" will continue to run in LA before adding select regional markets later this month and opening New York in mid-May.
Peter Bratt's drama "La Mission" found the weakest per-theater-average of the limited opener lot, though it also had the widest screen count. Starring the director's brother Benjamin, the Sundance 2009 alum grossed $49,000 from 15 screens, averaging $3,267.
Finally, Vivendi opted to go wide for the debut of David Nixon's Christian drama "Letters To God," and the result wasn't quite almightly. On 897 screens, "God" grossed $1,121,000, averaging just $1,250.
Outside of those openers, there was a considerable amount of notable numbers from holdovers.
Last weekend's top debut, Daryl Wein's "Breaking Upwards," expanded ever-so-slightly from 1 to 2 screens (NY and LA), and saw its PTA cut roughly in half. Grossing $14,800, the IFC Films release averaged $7,400, taking its total to $36,972.
Meanwhile, Niels Arden Oplev anticipated Swedish import "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" continued to prove itself a serious indie breakout. In its fourth weekend, Music Box Film's "Tattoo" - already coming off over $80 million in overseas box office - went from 87 to 125 screens and grossed a potent $557,000, averaging $4,456 and taking its total to $2,186,000.
Not managing quite as nice a fourth weekend was Focus Features' release of Noah Baumbach "Greenberg." The Ben Stiller mid-life crisis dark comedy suggested it had peaked last weekend as it reduced its screen count from 186 to 171 and dropped off 38% in grosses. Taking in $447,000, "Greenberg" averaged a fair $2,614 and took its total to $2,970,000.
Atom Egoyan "Chloe" saw its grosses drop a similar 39% in its third frame, though that's considerably more understandable given its screen count, which dropped off from 239 to 215. The Sony Pictures Classics release grossed $173,079 from its 167 U.S. screens and $137,960 from its 48 Canadian screens (where it's being releases by E1 Entertainment) for a combined $311,039. That made for a $1,447 average and took "Chloe"'s cume to $2,352,234.
This was supposed to be the weekend that Floria Sigismondi's music biopic "The Runaways," starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, was supposed to expand to 1,000+ screens. Instead, and potentially due to a good-not-great first few weekends in limited release, the film went to 204 screens across North America (up from 84 last weekend). The result was actually something distributor Apparition should be quite happy with. Grossing $470,000, "The Runaways" saw its per-theater-average boost up from $2,173 to $2,304 despite the screen jump. That brought its total to $2,517,000.
More good news came care of Anchor Bay's "City Island" - starring Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies - which continued a promising expansion. Going from 26 to 45 screens, the film grossed $211,000. That made for a 47% increase, hanging on to a very sizable portion of its per-theater average ($4,689 vs. $5,315 last weekend). After four weeks, "Island" has taken in $522,896, making it the highest grossing film in young Anchor Bay's history. It will expand again to eight more markets next weekend, hitting 60 screens overall.
Finally, not-so-good news came from two films in their sophomore frames. Paladin-released family drama "The Greatest," directed by Shana Feste and starring Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, Carey Mulligan and Aaron Johnson, expanded from 8 to 19 screens and grossed $40,850, averaging only $2,105. The film's total stands at $89,205.
Worse was Oscilloscope's second weekend of Michel Gondry's doc "The Thorn in the Heart," which held on to its sole NYC engagement and saw a very weak take of just $881, down from last weekend's $6,135. "Heart"'s total stands at $6,785.
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 email@example.com by the end of the day each Monday..