"Head-On" Crashes the Weekend Specialty Box office
by Brian Brooks
Strand Releasing's theatrical opener, "Head-On" trumped the iW BOT last weekend, leading the per screen average at its exclusive New York engagement. Last week's number one title on the chart, "Les Choristes," which received a best foreign-language Oscar nod Tuesday, took second place. Also opening was Kino International's "Watermarks," which placed fourth in the rankings, although its per screen average was moderate, while other weekend openers fared more modestly. Five films saw seven-figure grosses, although once again, the combined per screen average of smaller titles came in higher.
Fatih Akin's Berlin Golden Bear-winner, "Head-On" opened on one screen over the weekend, taking in $15,216 giving the film the number one position on the iW BOT on a per-screen basis over the weekend, ending Sunday, January 23. "We're thrilled, we knew the critical reaction was going to be great, but the commercial success is really gratifying!" commented Strand Releasing chief Marcus Hu from Park City via email. Hu did not indicate how the film would be released going forward.
Miramax's "Les Choristes," which received a best foreign language Oscar nod as well as Cesar nominations in it native France placed second on the chart with a $14,398 gross on two screens. The film averaged $7,199, down 38% from the previous week.
Fellow Miramax title "Finding Neverland" grossed over $4.8 million, the single highest money-maker on the specialty list. The feature played 869 screens, averaging $5,567, a 60% increase, although the film showed on 131 fewer screens. In 11 weeks, the film has cumed almost $32.54 million.
U.A.'s "Hotel Rwanda" and Fox Searchlight's "Sideways," both of which received nominations Tuesday, continued to be big specialty appeals. "Rwanda" ranked eighth on the chart, taking in over $1.32 million from 319 sites for a $4,158 average. Last week, the film averaged $9,440 on 192 screens, a 56% drop. The film's five-week cume is $5.62 million. "Sideways," meanwhile added 330 engagements, grossing over $2.85 million for a $4,098 average ($7,514 last week, a 45% decrease). "Sideways"'s 15-week total is over $32.13 million.
Miramax's "The Aviator" took in nearly $4.84 million on 2,140 screens, averaging $2,261 ($3,246 last week, a 31% decline) on 184 fewer screens. The film, which received multiple nominations, including best picture yesterday, has cumed just over $58 million in six weeks. Sony Classics' "House of Flying Daggers," meanwhile broke just over $1 million on 1,017 screens ($989 average, a 48% drop). The film's two-month total is almost $9 million.
The combined gross of "Finding Neverland," "Hotel Rwanda," "Sideways," "The Aviator," and "House of Flying Daggers" represented just over $10 million, or 59% of the entire specialty box office, which tracked the weekend grosses of 49 titles. Overall, the iW BOT averaged $2,685, an 11% decline from the previous weekend's $3,026 combined average. Minus the top five grossing titles, the remaining 44 films on the chart averaged $5,402 from grosses of under $7 million. That average is nearly 63% higher than the overall average of the big five titles in the chart.
In other openers, Kino International's "Watermarks" reached a $4,837 threshold in its one-screen release, while Regent Releasing's "Beautiful Boxer" took in $8,713 on two screens ($4,357 average). Kino International also released "Two by Scorcese" on one screen ($3,845) while Indican Pictures' "Gory Gory Hallelujah" played one site with a $2,360 gross. Empire Pictures' "Monsieur N" grossed $1,747 and Leisure Time Features' "She's One of Us" took in $996.
New Yorker Films will open Daniel Burman's "Lost Embrace" next weekend.