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April 29, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Cremaster" Muscles Its Way To Box Office Success Amid Many Openers; "Winged Migration" Soars Again

"Cremaster" Muscles Its Way To Box Office Success Amid Many Openers; "Winged Migration" Soars Again

by Brian Brooks


The weekend box office was littered with new arrivals including stand out "Cremaster," which played at Film Forum in New York. Also opening were "A Decade Under the Influence," "Manic," Matt Dillon's "City of Ghosts," "House of Fools," and "Marooned in Iraq." Paramount Classics expanded its release of "Better Luck Tomorrow" and Sony Classics maintained a dizzying gross for "Winged Migration."

Artist-director Matthew Barney's "Cremaster 1" and "Cremaster 2" opened on one 150-seat theater at Film Forum in New York, selling out the majority of its evening slots throughout the weekend. The film grossed $11,047 with four shows per day. "We think it's an auspicious start," said Ryan Werner, head of theatrical distribution at Palm Pictures, which is releasing the film. "Awareness of Matthew Barney is very high now and though the films are incredibly challenging and unlike anything else out there, we're excited that there is a lot of interest from exhibitors and press from around the country for these films."

The films have been buoyed by Barney's show currently underway at the Guggenheim in New York. Werner continued to say the audiences tended to be 18-to-35-years old, and that Palm will open "Cremaster" at the NuArt in West L.A. on May 16. Barney is currently on the West Coast for the Los Angeles premiere. The other films in the five-film "Cremaster Cycle" will begin screening this week as well.

Jordan Melamed's "Manic" also debuted this weekend on one screen taking in a decent $7,628, while "A Decade Under the Influence" (also from IFC Films) opened much more modestly at one venue for a $2,320 take.

Miramax's "People I Know" opened its first weekend on five screens for a moderate $6,842 per-screen average. The film, directed by Dan Algrant and starring Al Pacino, totaled $34,211. Also joining the group of openers was Bahman Ghobadi's "Marooned in Iraq." The Wellspring release played one Manhattan cinema, grossing $6,696.









A scene from Matthew Barney's "Cremaster" which debuted last weekend.

Courtesy of Palm Pictures

Matt Dillon's directorial debut, "City of Ghosts," set in Cambodia, bowed on six screens spooking up $30,547. The United Artists release had a modest $5,091 per-screen average.

Sony Classics continued to soar with its bird documentary "Winged Migration" in its second weekend, adding one additional screen (playing at two sites) earning $31,802 for a nice $15,901 average and $84,436 cume.

Justin Lin's "Better Luck Tomorrow" went from 42 to 380 screens for its third weekend in release, grossing just over $1 million. The film averaged $2,714 ($11,612 average on 42 screens last week) for a new total slightly above $2 million.

Newmarket's "Lilja 4-Ever" played four screens on its second weekend out averaging $4,928 for a $19,712 gross. So far, the film directed by Lukas Moodysson has made $71,648.

Fox Searchlight's British player "Bend it Like Beckham" screened at 421 sites taking in more than $1.5 million ($3,656 average). The film's cume is now over $9 million.

For next week, look for openers from "Blue Car," "The Dancer Upstairs," "Owning Mahowny," and festival fave doc, "Spellbound."

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