By Peter Knegt | Indiewire October 17, 2011 at 12:22PM
Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" debuted to exceptionally strong numbers this weekend, according to estimates. On 6 screens, the Sony Pictures Classics release managed a $230,979 gross and a $38,497 average. That gave it the best per-theater-average since May's "The Tree of Life," and the fourth best of 2011 behind "Tree," "Midnight in Paris" and "Jane Eyre."
The average did dip below the massive $53,556 Almodovar's "Broken Embraces" managed back in 2009, but that film had opened on only 2 screens making it an unfair comparison. A better comparison is 2006's "Volver," which averaged $39,540 from 5 theaters. That film - as this chart of Almodovar's top grossers notes - went on to gross nearly $13 million (his best number ever in North America).
Sony Classics will expand the film next weekend but so far is definitely so good for "The Skin I Live In."
Other openers that reported estimates included Anchor Bay release of Ami Canaan Mann's "Texas Killing Fields." On 3 screens, the film grossed a mild $9,600, averaging $3,200.
Fairing even worse was Joel Schumacher's tepidly reviewed "Trespass," which stars Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman. On 10 screens, the Millennium Entertainment distributed film fared about as well as it did with its reviews at the box office. Grossing $18,216, "Trespass" averaged only $1,822.
Among holdovers, Strand Releasing expanded "The Women on the Sixth Floor" from 6 to 12 screens 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 $41,056 for a $3,421 average .
Expanding from 9 to 10 screens was The Weinstein Company's underperforming "Dirty Girl." The retro coming of age comedy - starring Juno Temple and newcomer Jeremy Dozier - dropped 47% from its opening frame to take in just $9,453. That amounted to a $945 average and a total of $38,460.
Emilio Estevez's "The Way" - starring his father Martin Sheen - expanded aggressively from 33 to 102 screens this weekend via a unique partnership between Estevez, Elixir Films, Producers Distribution Agency and ARC Entertainment. The result was a $263,440 gross and a decent $2,583 average. The film's total now stands at $426,521.
Jeff Nichols' critically acclaimed "Take Shelter" expanded from 11 to 24 screens in its third weekend and held on very well, seeing a 148% uptick in grosses. The Sony Pictures Classics release, starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, grossed $129,000 for a $5,375 average (which is actually higher than last weekend's average). The film's total now stands at $286,000.
Also in its third frame, Renaud Barret and Florent de La Tullaye's doc "Benda Bilili!" expanded modestly from 2 to 3 screens care of distributor National Geographic. The film grossed $4,523 for a $1,508 average. After 10 days, "Benda" sits at $11,268.
Millennium Entertainment's release of Adam and Mark Kassen's "Puncture" dropped from 5 to 2 screens in its forth frame and lost 60% of its gross. Starring Chris Evans as a drug-addicted lawyer who takes on a health supply corporation, the film took in $2,683 for a $1,342 average. Its total now stands at $61,837.
Lech Majewski's "The Mill & The Cross" held steady to 8 screens in its fifth frame for Kino Lorber. The film took in an estimated $18,000, averaging $2,250 and taking its total to $130,188.
Cohen Media Group's release of Jean Becker's "My Afternoons With Margueritte" dropped 8 screens to 32 in its fifth 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 $45,800, averaging $1,431 (up from last weekend). The film has now grossed a very respectable $383,700.
In its whopping twelfth 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 124 to 94 theaters and took in $124,776 (which is actually a 5% rise from last weekend) for an average of $1,327. The film's total stands at $4,842,720 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 248 to 188 screens and grossed another $275,570. That made for a $1,466 average and a stellar new total of $7,365,474, 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..