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April 8, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Cowboy Bebop" and "The Man without a Past" Open Strong while "Levity" and "The Guys" Debut Modestly

"Cowboy Bebop" and "The Man without a Past" Open Strong while "Levity" and "The Guys" Debut Modestly

by Brian Brooks










Silas Kerati and Karoline Eckertz in Caroline Link's Oscar-winning film, "Nowhere in Africa," currently in theaters.

Courtesy of Zeitgeist Films

Several films opened last weekend with mixed box office results. Destination Films/Samuel Goldwyn's "Cowboy Bebop" opened well, as did Sony Classics' "The Man without a Past" in limited engagements. While Sony Classics' "Levity," however, was not as strong and weaker still was Focus Features' "The Guys." "Raising Victor Vargas" continued well in its second weekend and "Bend it Like Beckham" is proving a formidable challenger after one month in release. Also firmly embedded in the box office competition is foreign language Oscar-winner, "Nowhere in Africa."

Japanese director Shinichiro Watanabe's animated feature, "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie" managed to lasso big dollars over the weekend in limited release in L.A. and New York. The film, based on the television series by Watanabe, corraled up $234,429 on 19 screens for a strong $12,338 per screen average.

Sony Classics opened "The Man Without a Past" to solid audiences as well. Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki's Oscar-nominated film grossed $23,281 on two screens for a robust average of $11,641 per screen. The distributor, however, fared less strong with "Levity," which opened on 10 screens making $30,599 for a modest $3,060 average.

Focus Features opened "The Guys" on 15 screens. The 9-11 themed feature took in $16,068 for a slight $1,071 average. Still vigorous at the box office following its Oscar win for best director (Roman Polanski) is Focus' "The Pianist." The feature took in slightly under $2.1 million on 790 screens for a $2,642 average. So far, the film has totaled just under $26.6 million since its December 27th release.

Also benefiting from an Oscar win is Caroline Link's "Nowhere in Africa." The best foreign language Academy Award-winner made $327,753 on 42 screens for a solid $7,789 per screen average in its fifth weekend of release. "It definitely got a spike from the Academy Awards," said Nancy Gerstman, co-president of Zeitgeist Films, the film's distributor in a conversation with indieWIRE. Gerstman said the film was especially popular with the over-30 or even over-40 crowd initially, but the feature is "definitely crossing over." She continued to say "Nowhere in Africa" will open in at least 20 additional theaters next week including added New York City and Upstate engagements as well as other cities in Ohio, Maryland and Florida. Gerstman went on to say that she was "not surprised [by the films success] because this is a great film for audiences, Oscar or no Oscar, [we knew] we'd find an audience." Gerstman described her initial reaction to the big win as "absolute and utter happiness." The film passed another milestone over the weekend, with a cume of a little under $1.05 million.

In weekend number two, "Raising Victor Vargas" earned a hot $43,424 on four screens ($10,856 average) for a $91,289 cume while "Bend it Like Beckham" snatched a cool $1.17 million on 117 screens ($10,001 average) for a total slightly under $2.6 million.

Jonas Akerlund's Newmarket release, "Spun" earned $72,342 on 24 screens for a $3,014 average and a $237,676 cume. Lions Gate's French shocker "Irreversible" took in $85,303 on 35 screens for a $2,437 per screen average. Since the Gaspar Noe feature's March 7th release, it has taken in $573,018.

United Artists' "Assassination Tango" went into weekend two with $112,109 on 22 screens ($5,096 average). The film, directed by Robert Duvall has totaled $202,496.

Still in release is IFC Films' "Lost in La Mancha" taking in $16,076 over the weekend on 13 screens for a $1,237 average. Since its release January 31st, the documentary, which follows the ill-fated production of Terry Gilliam's adaptation of Don Quixote has earned $606,101.

And this coming weekend, Justin Lin's "Better Luck Tomorrow" opens as well as Austin Chick's "XX/XY."

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