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by Brian Brooks
August 17, 2005 8:53 AM
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"Broken Flowers" Fertilizes the Specialty Box office Again; "Grizzly Man" Biggest Debut

Focus Features' box office bouquet continued to blossom last weekend as "Broken Flowers" expanded considerably, capturing the iW BOT's premiere position as ranked on a per screen basis. Last week's number two, "2046" from Sony Pictures Classics held firm again this week following a further roll out, while THINKFilm's "The Aristocrats" maintained its seat at third after adding a large number of screens. Lions Gate Films' "Grizzly Man" topped the week's newcomers, while the weekend's other seven openers ran the gambit on the iW BOT' chart. Miramax's "The Great Raid" opened on over 800 screens with a low to moderate screen average, but instantly became the chart's second highest grossing film after Warner Independent Pictures' "March of the Penguins," which again added screens after two months since its release.

Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers" seeded the specialty box office over the weekend, adding 91 new locations, grossing almost $1.72 million, the third highest total on the chart. The feature averaged $14,553, a 50% decline from its debut of almost $21,000 on 27 screens. The film's two-week total is now over $2.9 million.

Director Wong Kar Wai's "2046" held the second spot on the chart in its second week, taking in $92,009 at seven sites. The film averaged $13,144 over the weekend, a 54% drop from the film's $28,269 average on four screens previously.

Paul Provenza's doc "The Aristocrats" continued to laugh its way to the bank in its third weekend. The THINKFilm release added 77 screens, grossing $867,171 at 86 sites, averaging $10,083 ($26,609 last week on nine screens, a 62% difference). The film has cumed over $1.62 million.

The weekend's biggest screen average newcomer, "Grizzly Man" by Werner Herzog, debuted fourth on the chart with a $9,280 average. "Grizzly Man" grossed $269,131 on 29 screens. "We are very happy, this is a terrific opening," commented Lions Gate Films president Tom Ortenberg to indieWIRE Monday. "So far, the audience has been a mostly 25-year and older college educated crowd. We'll try to broaden that out but that will likely always be our core." Lions Gate add a "few dozen runs" each of the next two weeks, according to Ortenberg. "We will roll the picture out slowly, and we'll go from there based on continued success."

In other openers, Yash Raj Films' "The Rising - Ballad of Mangal Pandey" scored sixth on the chart with a very solid $8,429 average on 63 screens ($531,018 gross), while Samuel Goldwyn Films' "Pretty Persuasion" took ninth with a $7,321 average at eight locations ($58,570 gross). Paramount Classics' "Asylum" opened at five sites, taking in $36,272 ($7,254 average). First Run Features' "The Goebbels Experiment" played one location, grossing $6,769 while Millarium Zero's "Winter Soldier" and Tartan Films' "A State of Mind" took in $6,599 and $5,515 respectively on one screen. Miramax's "The Great Raid," meanwhile debuted on the chat with the second highest overall gross, taking in nearly $3.38 million on 819 screens ($4,122 average).

The iW BOT's long-time money champion, "March of the Penguins" remained the biggest title of the flock, grossing nearly $6.85 million (45% of the entire weekend specialty gross) on 2,063 screens, 196 additional locations from the previous weekend. "Penguins" averaged $3,320, a 13% decline from the previous week's average, and its two-month cume stands at over $37.72 million.

Combined, both "March of the Penguins" and "The Great Raid" represented 67% of the box office's total gross of over $15.21 million, a 32% increase over last weekend's $10.3 million. The chart's 68 titles collectively averaged $3,637, an 11% increase from the previous week's $3,253, with 4,182 screens devoted to specialty content (3,126 last week). Factoring out "Penguins" and "Raid," the chart's remaining 66 films took in just under $5 million on 1,300 screens, averaging $3,836 ($2,448 last week using similar comparisons), 36% greater than the iW BOT's combined average. Industry-wide, 106 films grossed $119.91 million on 40,891 screens, averaging 20% below the iW BOT average at $2,932.

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