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by Brian Brooks
October 5, 2005 3:46 AM
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"Capote" Books a Cold Blooded Box Office Coup; "History of Violence" Expands Heavily

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Bennett Miller's "Capote."

Newcomers dominated the top tier of the specialty box office over the weekend, taking the top four positions on the indieWIRE box office table as ranked on a per screen basis. Sony Pictures Classics' "Capote" handily took the number one spot with a limited release in a dozen theaters, while Fox Searchlight's "Little Manhattan" placed second after a roll out on a pair of screens, while Magnolia Pictures' "The War Within" and Samuel Goldwyn Films' "MirrorMask" followed respectively. Last week's chart topper, "A History of Violence" fell to fifth in the ranking, however, the film overtook "March of the Penguins" as the specialty list's single biggest grosser following a huge weekend expansion, which helped to significantly increase the specialty list's overall box office average.

[View the indieWIRE:BOT Box Office Table for this week's films here.]

Bennett Miller's Telluride, Toronto, and New York Film Festival feature "Capote," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman murdered the specialty list over the weekend with a $27,071 average on 12 screens. The film grossed $324,857.

Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett's "Little Manhattan" debuted on a pair of screens over the weekend, grossing $36,397, placing second on the chart with an $18,199 average. Magnolia Pictures' "The War Within," meanwhile opened at one site, grossing $7,540 for a third place showing on the iW BOT.

New Line's "A History of Violence" was the biggest single earner on the chart, usurping "March of the Penguins," which dominated the iW BOT for nearly the entire summer. The film rolled out on 1,326 sites, grossing over $8.1 million on 1,340 screens. "Violence" alone represented about 60% of the entire specialty box office gross, but averaged $6,047 or 84% below last week's debut $36,857 average on only 14 screens.

Miramax also took "Proof" to additional screens over the weekend, which ended Sunday, October 2nd. "Proof" grossed over $1.15 million (the second most on the chart) on 240 screens, averaging $4,801 or 52% below last week's $9,943 average on 84 screens. The film has cumed almost $2.5 million in three weeks.

In other openers, Anchor Bay Entertainment's "My Big Fat Independent Movie" grossed $4,655 on one screen, while Vitagraph's "Forty Shades of Blue" grossed $11,940 at three locations ($3,980 average). Eros' "Dil Jo Bhi Kahe" played 33 screens, taking in $91,319 ($2,767 average), and Rainbow Releasing's "Going Shopping" took $6,691 on six screens ($1,115 average).

The seven-figure totals by "A History of Violence" and "Proof" combined with continued weekend grosses of over $1 million by "An Unfinished Life" and iW BOT stalwart "March of the Penguins" represented nearly 85% of the entire specialty box office total of nearly $13.58 million. Factoring all 79 titles together from this week's chart, the iW BOT's combined average rose 62% to $2,795 on 4,856 screens. One-week prior, 77 films took in about $7 million on 4,087 screens.

Factoring out the top four films, however, the 73 remaining films on the chart took in under $2.1 million on 1,393 screens for a $1,500 average, 46% below the overall iW BOT average.

This weekend, Warner Independent Pictures opens "Good Night, and Good Luck," and IDP and Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Releasing International will open "The Squid and the Whale." Picture This! Entertainment will open "Before the Fall" (Napola), Kino International will debut "The Overture (Hoam rong)," and First Run will open "Sacred Stage - The Mariinsky Theater."

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