By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 14, 2010 at 6:30AM
On a single New York screen, Lena Dunham's "Tiny Furniture" found a very promising beginning for distributor IFC Films. According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today, the film, which won the top prize at the SXSW Film Festival, grossed $22,450 from its debut at the IFC Center in New York. That was enough to give it the best per-theater-average of any film in release (though of course being on a sole screen aided in that result).
Thrice nominated at this year's Gotham Awards, "Furniture" is a self-portrait of sorts, in which Dunham plays a version of herself wandering around New York City in post-graduate limbo.
IFC told indieWIRE today that the film played to sold out shows all weekend, and the distributor is "thrilled" with the numbers. They will now roll out the film to top markets throughout the rest of the month.
After a near year-high debut last weekend, Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" held on very nicely as it began its first of many expansions, nearly topping "Furniture"'s average despite being on 21 more screens and in its second weekend. The film, based on the true story of Aron Ralston (James Franco), a mountain climber who becomes trapped under a boulder and is forced to amputate his own arm, grossed $453,000 from 22 theaters, up from 4 last weekend. That made for a $20,591 per-theater-average, which is a great hold from last weekend and brought the film's total to $826,000.
Next week the film will open in an additional 15 markets and expand on a limited basis in cities already open to approximately 90 - 100 theaters.
Also expanding in its second weekend was Doug Liman's "Fair Game," a fictionalized account of the 2003 outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) and the impact it had on her marriage to United States Foreign Service diplomat Joe Wilson (Sean Penn). On a more aggressive 175 screens (up from 46 last weekend), distributor Summit Entertainment saw more than fair numbers for "Game" - it grossed an estimated $1,079,000, averaging $6,166 and taking its cume to $1,978,000.
"The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest," expanded from 186 to 208 screens in its third weekend. The final film in the trilogy adapted form Stieg Larsson's Millennium series, "Nest" is being released by Music Box Films in the US, and Alliance in Canada. It took in $565,341 from both countries, averaging $2,720 and taking its total to $2,867,188 (its average was a slightly higher $2,772 from its 185 US screens). Performing just slightly under the March release of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and the July release of "The Girl Who Played With Fire," "Nest" should still end up finding a very strong gross to cap off the trilogy.
Meanwhile, Charles Ferguson's economic crisis related "Inside Job," entered its sixth successful weekend for Sony Pictures Classics. Aggressively expanding from 66 to 250 screens, "Job" managed an impressive $510,704 gross, averaging $2,043 and finding a new total of $1,597,968.
Finally, another doc, Davis Guggenheim's "Waiting For 'Superman'" started to really slow down this weekend after a very impressive run. The film, which takes on the U.S. public school system, dropped down from 242 to 204 screens in its seventh weekend and took in another $210,000. That gave "Superman" an impressive new total of $5,886,669, making it the 20th highest grossing doc of all time.
Check back for an updated version of this story that includes numbers for films that had yet to report estimates, like "Cool It," "Waste Land," and "Four Lions."
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..