Clooney's "Confessions" Swoons Audience Attendance, While "Chicago", "The Pianist," "About Schmidt" and "Talk to Her" Open Wider
by Brian Brooks
George Clooney's directorial bow "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" was a bang at the box office in its first full weekend, while "The Pianist" expanded its screens and grosses in its second week and Miramax's "Chicago" jazzed up some big numbers. "About Schmidt" launched into wide release with hefty grosses. And, Almodovar's "Talk to Her" also opened in additional theaters to large audiences along with Denzel Washington's "Antwone Fisher."
Miramax's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind," which opened on New Year's Eve, took in $87,199 its first full weekend of release on four screens. The film, a subjective account of the life of "Gong Show" host Chuck Barris, crooned to the tune of $21,800 per screen and a $169,714 total. Roman Polanski's Holocaust drama "The Pianist," a Focus release starring Adrien Brody, added dozens of screens over the weekend, showing in 90 theaters with a $744,588 take for a grand $8,273 per-screen average and new cume just over the $1 million mark.
Rob Marshall's critically heralded musical "Chicago" staged a dizzying $16,332 average on an expanded 304 screens grossing just under $5 million over the weekend for a new total just over $9.2 million. New Line's Golden Globe-nominated "About Schmidt," starring Jack Nicholson, added more than 700 screens taking in over $8.5 million in 816 theaters for a strong $10,457 average and a total just over $12 million in its fourth weekend. Fox's "Antwone Fisher" meanwhile made a little under $1.4 million on 192 screens during its third weekend in theaters giving the Denzel Washington directorial debut a healthy $7,582 per-screen average and a total over $6.1 million.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Talk to Her" continued to cash in bueno numbers with the film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar adding four screens and making $577,137 in its seventh weekend for a per-screen of $9,161 and a total just over $2.3 million. Meanwhile, Sony Classics' "Love Liza" by Todd Louiso made $15,522 its second weekend on four screens for a more modest $3,880 average and a $36,462 cume.
United Artists' "Nicholas Nickleby" by Douglas McGrath had a $136,185 showing on 32 screens in its second weekend. The film, adapted from the Charles Dickens novel, had a $4,255 per-screen take and a new $228,518 total. Cowboy Pictures' "Movern Collar" by Lynne Ramsay took in $7,810 on one screen for a three-week total of $56,314. Wellspring's "Russian Ark" took in $34,244 on four screens for a celestial per-screen $8,561 and a new cume of $189,588.
U.A.'s "Evelyn" passed the $1 million mark taking in $151,268 on 125 screens in its fourth weekend ($1,210 average) while Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" roared over the $16 million total with a $412,371 weekend gross on 198 screens for a $2,082 average on the film's 13th weekend of release.
Other films pushing the box-office stratosphere include Todd Haynes' Focus Features hit "Far From Heaven," which galloped to a new total of $11.2 million on 253 screens on a $565,088 weekend ($2,233 screen average). Miramax's Phillip Noyce feature "Rabbit-Proof Fence" flirted with a $1.7 million total taking in $365,298 on 86 screens for a $4,248 average while Samuel Goldwyn's "El Crimen del Padre Amaro" surged passed the $4.5 million mark with a $167,951 gross on 89 screens for a per screen of $1,887. Sony Classics' Paul Schrader feature on TV star Bob Crane, "Auto Focus" slid over the $2 million cume in its 12th week, grossing $15,636 over the weekend in 19 theaters for a per screen of $1,303. [Brian Brooks]