By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 22, 2011 at 3:16AM
Focus Features unleashed its critically challenged British romance "One Day" on a wide 1,721 screens this weekend and the results were slightly more spectacular than the film's reviews. According to estimates, the Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess starrer took in an estimated $5,127,567, averaging $2,979. That's toward the bottom-end of industry expectations, but certainly not ideal. The fact that the film had only a 2% bump from Friday to Saturday suggests grosses aren't going to get much better. But Focus probably made a smart move by going wide quickly as word of mouth is unlikely to push the Lone Scherfig-directed much further.
There wasn't too much good news among the other openers either. Variance Films released John Sayles' "Amigo" on 10 screens this weekend and saw a reasonable-but-unspectacular $40,000 gross. That made for an average of $4,000.
"We are quite happy with the way this is starting - and we're just starting," Variance's Dylan Marchetti told indieWIRE. "Rather than play the per-screen average game, we elected to bring the film to smaller Filipino communities for our first week out, as well as the more traditional NYC/LA runs. Some worked better than others- so while markets like West Covina and Stockton didn't catch fire, we're going to gross over $10,000 of our NYC screen in Times Square. This film has a long run ahead of it as we take it around the country."
Music Box Films debuted René Féret's "Mozart's Sister" on 7 screens and saw similar results. The film took in $33,000, averaging $4,714.
Anchor Bay's release of Renny Harlin's "5 Days of War" opened on 2 screens, grossing a mediocre $6,400 for a $3,200 average.
Among holdovers, Asif Kapadia's acclaimed documentary "Senna" continued to impress as it expanded from 2 to 14 screens for the Producers Distribution Agency (the company's second release after forming for "Exit Through the Gift Shop"). After a record breaking debut last weekend, the film took in $168,994 in its sophomore frame, averaging a strong $12,071.
"Senna" follows the story of Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest race-car driver who ever lived. In the mid '80s, Senna burst onto the world of Formula One racing. As a Brazilian in a predominantly European sport, he had to fight hard both on (against his nemesis, French World Champion Alain Prost) and off (against the politics that infest the sport) the track. Its total now stands at $280,493 as it continues to expand in the coming weeks.
Samuel Goldwyn's release of political thriller "The Whistleblower" expanded from 22 to 44 screens in its third weekend. As as result, the film, which stars Rachel Weisz, pulled in $149,600 for a $3,400 per-theater-average. Its total now stands at a decent $409,586 with a continued expansion planned for August 26th.
Rashaad Ernesto Green's "Gun Hill Road" dropped from 10 to 5 theaters in its third weekend and grossed $15,568. The film averaged $3,114 (up from last weekend, but still not ideal) and now has a total of $107,602. Distributed by Motion Film Group, "Road" is set for a national launch on September 16th to the top 20-40 markets.
Gilles Paquet-Brenner's French import "Sarah's Key" had an excellent fifth weekend for distributor The Weinstein Company. Expanding from 101 to 201 theaters, the French-language film starring Kristin Scott Thomas took in another $783,000 for a per-theater-average of $3,896. The total for "Key" now stands at a fantastic $3,085,835 which much more to come. In the end, film should end up a sizable late summer hit for the Weinsteins and one of the highest grossing foreign language films of the year.
Also doing very well was Sony Pictures Classics' release of John Michael McDonagh's "The Guard." The Irish black comedy starring Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle expanded from 47 to 83 theaters in its fourth frame and shot up 55% in grosses, taking in $437,720 for a potent $5,274 per-theater-average (only a slight drop from last weekend despite nearly doubling the screen count). The film's total is a very admirable $1,235,490.
Also crossing the $1 million mark in its fourth weekend was Lionsgate's release of Lee Tamahori's "The Devil's Double," which dropped from 89 to 83 screens and managed a $150,000 gross, averaging $1,807. The film's total now stands at $1,002,828.
The late, great Raoul Ruiz's "Mysteries of Lisbon" found very respectable numbers considering its near five-hour running time. On a sole screen the film grossed $6,000, which takes the Music Box Films release to a $55,200 total so far.
Miranda July's "The Future" also expanded in its fourth weekend, going from 20 to 32 theaters. The result was a weak 1% rise in grosses, with "The Future" finding $64,200 for a $2,006 average, taking its total to $336,000.
Expanding from 40 to 44 theaters in its fourth weekend was Joe Cornish's acclaimed British science fiction horror film "Attack The Block." The film, which follows a London street gang which have to defend themselves from rowdy alien invaders, dropped 26% in grosses as it took in another $80,000, averaging a disappointing $1,818. The film premiered at SXSW earlier this year and is being released through Screen Gems. So far, the film's total take is $600,942.
Also not fairing well was Kevin Macdonald's "Life in a Day." A documentary shot by filmmakers all over the world on the 24th of July 2010, the film dropped from 17 to 10 screens in its fourth frame and grossed just $6,546. That made for a weak average of $655 and a new total of $207,600 for distributor National Geographic.
Meanwhile, Mike Cahill's "Another Earth" expanded from 82 to 87 screens via distributor Fox Searchlight in its fifth weekend. The film was written by Cahill and Brit Marling, who is also the film's star and generally regarded as one of 2011's indie breakouts. This weekend, the film took in a $144,000, averaging a mild $1,655 per theater. The film dropped 12% from last weekend and has a total that now stands at $936,796. The $1 million mark is probably the only major milestone the film should hope for.
A film that just crossed that mark is Kevin Smith's "Red State," which had a one week qualifying run at Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles beginning last Friday. Over the weekend, the film sold out all shows (it had two per day), grossing $25,800 to have the highest per-theater-average of any film in release. In addition to the 15-cty tour Smith took the film on earlier this year, "Red State" has now grossed $1,030,167. On September 1st, Lionsgate will release "State" on VOD, and a more traditional theatrical release will occur in October.
Another notable milestone crossing was "Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times," which chugged along past the $1 million mark earlier this week after 9 weekends of release. Despite indieWIRE's premature declaration of the doc as one of the first half of the year's "specialty losers," it has managed strong legs to pull off a respectable gross.
Finally, Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris" continued its momentous run, hitting a very major milestone that no Allen film has hit before. Dropping from 328 to 258 theaters in its whopping 14th weekend (but losing just 16% of its grosses), "Paris" took in another $587,792 to bring its total to a stunning $50,650,635. It hit the $50 million mark Friday, continuing through the weekend with a potent $2,278 average (which is actually higher than last weekend). In the end, "Paris" should wind up with a domestic gross in and around the $60 million mark. Its the second highest grossing film in distributor Sony Pictures Classics' history, behind "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Check back with indieWIRE for an updated version of this story that includes films that did not report estimates today, including "The Last Circus," "5 Days of War" and "Flypaper."
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..