DAILY NEWS: "Amaro," "Ararat" and "Way Home" Debut Atop Limited Release Box Office
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
(indieWIRE: 11.19.02) -- It was a great weekend for a number of new releases
with "The Crime of Father Amaro," "Ararat" and "Long Way Home" all making waves in their debut weekends.
Samuel Goldwyn opened its controversial "El Crimen del Padre Amaro" (The Crime of Father Amaro) over the weekend to protests in Los Angeles and healthy box
office returns from both coasts. The film, directed by Carlos Carrera, opened
in 43 screens earning $496,290 for an $11,600 per screen average. "Amaro,"
starring Gael Garcia Bernal about a wayward priest set in rural Mexico, managed
to outgross the opening of the winning Mexican film, "Y Tu Mama Tambien," also
starring Bernal which took in $408,091 in its first three days on 40 screens
earlier this year. The film has been selected as Mexico's submission for the
Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film category and is the biggest earning
domestic film ever south of the border.
Also record-breaking was Paramount Classics' release of "The Way Home." The film earned $29,737 on 3 screens for an opening weekend average of $9,912. It
was the best opening ever for a Korean film in the United States. The film
already holds the record as highest-grossing Korean film in South Korea.
Meanwhile from north of the border, Atom Egoyan's "Ararat" opened over the weekend in six screens with an astounding $211,130 take giving the Miramax film a lofty $35,188 per screen average. The Canadian-produced Toronto Film Festival opener deals with the effects of the Armenian massacre on the lives of two
present-day families living in Toronto.
"These initial numbers are the first real vindication for our efforts to bring
this untold chapter of history to the screen." commented "Ararat" producer
Robert Lantos in a prepared statement yesterday. "The extraordinary response
at the box office corroborates my conviction that there definitely is a
commercial audience for a thought provoking film with substance."
"Standing in the Shadows of Motown," the documentary about Motown studio band The Funk Brothers opened on 23 screens across the country, earning $114,442 for a solid $4,976 per screen average. Next week, the Artisan release will
expand to an additional 12 markets. Fellow Artisan film "Roger Dodger"
meanwhile racked up $160,708 at 48 theaters across the country for a
respectable $3,348 per screen average and a $666,422 cume.
Also opening this weekend, Seventh Art Releasing debuted the doc "Hell House" at Cinema Village in New York City where it earned $5,651. It will remain at the theater this weekend. The film has earned $94,321 so far with runs in San
Francisco, Chicago, Austin, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Less stellar was Neil Burger's "Interview with the Assassin" from Magnolia Pictures which took in $10,497, with a per screen average of $2,099 on five
Focus Features' "Far From Heaven" earned $902,667 on 54 screens this weekend for an average of $16,716 and a new cume of more than $1.2 million after two
weekend. The film is set to expand to a total of 75 markets this weekend as
it hits 250 screens.
Still strong is "Frida" from Miramax. The film earned $2.9 million on 519
screens. It maintained a solid $5,615 average and has a new total of more
than $8.6 million.
United Artists release of "Bowling for Columbine" continued solidly, the doc earned $1.2 million this weekend on 248 screens. It had a $5,094 average for
a new cume of nearly $8.8 million.
Newmarket's release of "Real Women Have Curves" earned $520,378 on 147 screens for a steady $3,540 average. The film has now earned $2.6 million. Zeitgeist's release of "Derrida" earned $9,738 on 3 screens, for an average of 3,246 and
new cume of $97,323.
Julio Medem's "Sex and Lucia" from Palm Pictures closed its theatrical run on Friday. The film finished with an impressive $1.5 million in the United States.
Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks' "The Man From Elysian Fields" earned $83,917 on 40 screens this weekend as it passed the $1 million mark. It had an average of
just over $2,000 for a new cume of $1,015,711.
IFC Film's release of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" for Gold Circle Films should pass the $200 million mark tomorrow. The film nabbed $4.7 million on 1,812 screens and as of yesterday, had earned $199,574,370.
Coming this week will be the anticipated new film from Oscar winner Pedro
Almodovar, "Talk to Her." Also opening are Rebecca Miller's Sundance 2002 hit, "Personal Velocity," Phillip Noyce's Toronto 2002 hit, "The Quiet American," Frank Novak's "Better Housekeeping," Hava Kohav Beller's doc about East German dissidents, "The Burning Wall," Abel Ferrara's "'R Xmas," and the doc, "Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times." [Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks]