By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 18, 2009 at 4:47AM
After last weekend saw disappointing openings of anticipated specialty entries like "Rudo y Cursi" and "Outrage," filmgoers made amends with the indie box office weekend, helping two new films find $20,000+ per theater averages.
Olivier Assayas' critically lauded French import "Summer Hours" grossed an impressive $48,200 on two New York City screens, playing to sold out shows all weekend long. According to estimates provided by Rentrak, that gave the IFC Films release a $24,100 average, the highest for any specialty film since "Sunshine Cleaning" opened two months ago, and the highest of any film this weekend - including studio releases like "Angels & Demons" and "Star Trek." The film will expand into 10 of the top 20 markets by next weekend and the top 25 markets by the end of May.
"We're thrilled about the strong opening numbers for 'Summer Hours' this weekend," IFC's Mark Boxer told indieWIRE. "The reviews were very strong and the buzz around the film continues to grow."
Just behind "Hours" was Summit Entertainment's release of "The Brothers Bloom". The distributor's last minute decision to delay Rian Johnson's follow-up to "Brick" from its planned December release seems to have paid off. On four screens - two in LA and two in NY - the film, which stars Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody, scored a $82,000 gross and a $20,500 PTA. Though "Bloom"'s true test comes next weekend, when it expands to 18 major markets. If it can hold up nicely, it could be positioned to be the first crossover specialty hit of the summer.
Officially not destined for that status, though, is IDP/Samuel Goldwyn's Jennifer Aniston-Steve Zahn starrer "Management". Despite Aniston's star wattage, the film opened to just $378,420 from a relatively wide 212 screens. Its meager $1,785 average does not bode well for future weekends.
In fact, "Management" failed to match the second weekend of one of last weekend's aforementioned disappointments, "Rudo y Cursi." The Gael Garcia Bernal-Diego Luna soccer flick actually held up half-decently in its sophomore frame, at least considering its recently lowered expectations. Expanding from 70 to 219 screens, Sony Classics' "Rudo" saw its average drop a reasonable third, grossing $443,949. Though its $2,027 average is certainly nothing to celebrate, it might suggest the film has a little staying power. With a total gross now standing at $738,524, "Rudo" has a long way to go before matching "Y Tu Mama Tambien"'s $13,839,658, but should still end up with a respectable (albeit disappointing) gross in the mid-seven figures.
Other openers included Christian Petzold's "Jerichow," which grossed a mild $8,042 on 3 screens for The Cinema Guild, averaging $2,681, and Hitoshi Matsumoto's "Big Man Japan," which Magnolia Pictures opened on 2 screens to an okay $7,133.
Magnolia also had two high-profile releases entering their second weekends after a disappointing first outing. Kirby Dick's "Outrage" went from 5 to 7 screens and saw its grosses drop 18% to $26,601. Its $3,801 average, though among the highest of all specialty holdovers, is still below expectations considering the large amount of press the film got. Meanwhile, "Outrage"'s distributor sister "Julia" actually went from 3 to 2 screens in its second weekend, and saw its grosses drop 57%. The Tilda Swinton starrer grossed only $5,352 for a $2,676.
Fairly only slight better was Regent's "Little Ashes," which received a slew of publicity for its gay love scenes featuring "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson. The film took its screen count from 12 to 15, but dropped off 37% anyway, grossing $46,410 and averaging $3,094. It's total stands at $151,390, and at this point the film would be lucky to reach a gross that's 0.1% of what Pattinson's previous project made.
Last weekend's surprise iW BOT leader, Gary Hustwit's doc "Objectifed," held up decently in its second round at New York's IFC Center. The film grossed another $5,806, giving it the highest PTA of any holdover, and taking its total to $19,756
Four other docs all hung on very nicely much later in their release. SPC's doc duo "Tyson" and "Every Little Step," in their fourth and fifth weeks, respectively, each maintained PTAs over $2,000. James Toback's look at Mike Tyson went from 35 to 56 screens and grossed another $115,000, bringing its total to $503,000. "Step," Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's look at the revival of "A Chorus Line," doubled from 24 to 48 and grossed $111,000, bringing its total to $483,000.
The sixth weekend of Abramorama's "Anvil! The Story of Anvil," upped its screen count to 27 and grossed another $70,700. The leggy little "Canadian demi-gods of metal" doc has now grossed $368,000.
And finally, the leggiest of them all - Truly Indie's "Valentino: The Last Emperor" - grossed another $64,000 as it inches toward the $1 million mark. On 33 screens, the exploration of the fashion icon averaged $1,939 and took its total to $949,000 after nine weeks.
indieWIRE:BOT tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at email@example.com by the end of the day each Monday.