By Peter Knegt | Indiewire February 8, 2010 at 3:08AM
The one-week only roadshow presentation of the "Red Riding" trilogy at New York's IFC Center led all specialty films this weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon. Adapted for the screen by Tony Grisoni from David Peace's series of novels, the trilogy consists of three separate films directed by Julian Jarrold ("Red Riding: 1974"), James Marsh ("Red Riding: 1980") and Anand Tucker ("Red Riding: 1983"). The 305 minute presentation - including 2 intermissions - screened twice daily over the weekend at its sole engagement. Priced at $25 (or $18 for IFC Center members), the film grossed a quite respectable $15,500 over the weekend, or roughly $2,580 for each of its six screenings.
The trilogy follows several characters in intertwining storylines united by the horror wrought by the "Yorkshire Ripper," a serial killer who terrorized northwest England in the 1970s and '80s. Next Friday, the IFC Center will begin presenting "Red Riding" in 3 parts with separate admissions. The film will also open in LA on that date, with a national release to follow.
Also debuting this weekend was Henrik Ruben Genz's Danish film "Terribly Happy," which was released through Oscilloscope Laboratories. Also on one NYC screen (the Angelika), the film found promising numbers, grossing $13,000 to follow "Riding" as the second best per-theater-average of the overall box office.
"What a great launch for 'Terribly Happy,'" Oscilloscope's David Fenkel told indieWIRE. "We're seeing really strong daytime numbers and a great turnout for evening shows. We were able to target a younger genre-centric fanbase with an aggressive online campaign, including a partnership with Fangoria. And with the critical acclaim and awards, we're also seeing an older arthouse audience. Many worlds are colliding with this film. Henrik and the filmmaking team really nailed it."
"Happy" found these numbers without the benefit of an Oscar nomination, which it missed out on despite being Denmark's official submission. A film that did manage a foreign language film nomination - Israeli entry "Ajami" - found excellent numbers in its debut. From 3 screens, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani's film - released through Kino International - grossed $35,792, averaging a strong $11,930. While thats under both "Riding" and "Happy" in overall average, the film was hindered by a low gross at the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington, New York. At its other two screens - the Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza, both in New York City - the film was the top grosser, with a total of $17,840 collected at Lincoln Plaza and a $19,170 gross at Film Forum.
The rest of the notable specialty box office consisted of holdovers films that found significant love from Oscar, and began trying to make the best of it financially. While studio-released best picture nominees "Avatar" and "The Blind Side" continued their with-or-without-Oscar blockbuster box office journeys, crossing the $630 and $240 million marks, respectively (making them the 1st and 9th highest grossing best picture nominees of the past 20 years), numerous smaller films attempted to make good on their Oscar nominations as well.
Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" seemed to be the most successful of the lot. Buoyed by a best actor nomination for Jeff Bridges and surprise supporting actress nod for Maggie Gyllenhaal, Fox Searchlight's film added 580 screens, bringing its count to 819. The film managed to find its way into the overall top 10 as a result, grossing a potent $3.65 million and taking its total to $11.2 million. The film held on to a very nice $4,457 average and should have no problem hitting $25 million in the coming weeks.
Two of Bridges' competitors (though Bridges' win is essentially locked in at this point) did not fare quite as well. George Clooney and "Up In The Air" expanded 117 screens to hit 1,547 but didn't see much of a bump. In fact, the film dropped 16% in grosses, taking in a still-respectable $2.35 million and bringing its total to $76.7 million. Its a great total for the $25 million budgeted film, but crossing the $100 million mark - which once seemed like a certainty - will be a struggle.
Colin Firth's work in Tom Ford's "A Single Man" sadly turned out to be the film's only nomination, which didn't help it as it expeaded 137 screens this weekend. The Weinstein Company release grossed $631,000 from 353 screens, averaging a fair $1,788 and taking its total to $6.2 million after 9 weekends. Still, the film is already one of the 25 highest grossing gay-themed films of the past ten years, for what that's worth.
It's also way better off than Weinstein Company sibling "Nine," which ended up managing a few Oscar nominations (including a best supporting actress nod) despite its bad reception. The nominations didn't help its money woes one bit. Grossing an appropriate $99,000, the film dropped off 53% from last weekend, averaging only $544 from its 182 screens. $80 million budgeted "Nine"'s total now stands at $19.4 million.
Sony Pictures Classics - which tied The Weinstein Company for the most Oscar nominations this year with 13 - got the most of its nods for a few films that managed a couple major mentions. Michael Hoffman's "The Last Station" - nominated for best actress and supporting actor - went from 9 to 51 screens and saw its gross rise 338%, taking in $371,000 and averaging a strong $7,275, only a small drop from last weekend despite the exponentially higher screen count. After 4 weeks, "Station" has grossed $759,000.
Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" - nominated for foreign film and cinematography - went from 19 to 22 screens and saw a nice little 3% raise in grosses, taking in $116,866 and averaging $5,312. After 5 weeks, the Palme d'Or winner has grossed a decent $611,463, and should have no problem passing the $1 million mark in the coming weeks.
SPC's biggest Oscar film - and lone best picture nominee - was also their most aggressive expansion this weekend. In its whopping 18th weekend at the box office, Lone Scherfig's "An Education" - which took nods for picture, actress and screenplay - found its highest grossing weekend ever as it expanded 686 screens to 761. Taking in $915,000, "Education" brought its total to $9,775,000.
Finally, fourteen weeks after it debuted, Lionsgate gave six-time Oscar nominee "Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire" one last shot at box office glory. Expanding 447 screens to 669, "Precious" - nominated for picture, director, actress, supporting actress, screenplay and editing - struggled to make much more of a financial impression. Grossing $440,000, the film averaged only $658. Its total stands at $46,023,000.
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..