By Indiewire | Indiewire February 9, 2005 at 2:0AM
Hirokazu Kore-Eda Film "Knows" the Weekend Specialty Box Office
by Brian Brooks
IFC Films' "Nobody Knows" introduced itself at the forefront of last weekend's iW BOT, opening at a pair of engagements with the highest per screen count. Fellow opener "The Nomi Song" from Palm Pictures, meanwhile, also debuted in limited release, taking the second position on the chart, ranked on a per screen basis. Three other openers fared less spectacularly, but self-distributed feature "Assisted Living" added sparkle to an otherwise rather hum-drum specialty box office that experienced a sizeable decline in overall gross.
Hirokazu Kore-Eda's "Nobody Knows" provided some box office luster in an otherwise un-noteworthy week in the specialty realm. The IFC Films release had two playdates, taking in $32,393 for a strong $16,197 per screen average.
"We are ecstatic with the opening numbers of [the films]," commented Mark Boxer, the new head of distribution at IFC Films, told indieWIRE. "Several shows sold out over the weekend and we anticipate continued strong word-of-mouth translating into increasingly strong numbers." Boxer said that the weekend audience was "mixed" with a broad age range and skewed somewhat female.
"Nobody Knows" will open in Los Angeles on Friday and will go to the "top 20 markets" in the following three weeks.
In other weekend openers, "The Nomi Song" from Palm Pictures also had its start on two screens theatrically, taking the second place on the chart with a $7,255 per screen average ($14,510 gross).
Self-distributed feature "Assisted Living," by Elliot Greenebaum opened in New York taking the third place on the iW BOT, playing on two screens. The film averaged $7,079. Distribution vet Jeff Lipsky is working on the release of the film, which had once been scheduled by Cowboy, before that company fell on hard times.
In other openers, Newmarket's "Daybreak" played one screen with $2,350, while Focus Features' "Rory O'Shea Was Here" opened at three locations, taking in $6,079, calculating a $2,026 average. U.A. meanwhile brought "Swimming Upstream" into 17 sites, grossing $24,520 for a slow $1,442 average.
Oscar nominee "Born Into Brothels" expanded to 12 sites from three, grossing $77,818 for a $6,485 average. "Brothels" has cumed $211,195.
U.A.'s Oscar-nominated "Hotel Rwanda" was the weekend's top specialty grosser with over $2.3 million. The film played 821 screens (417 last week), averaging $2,821, a 36% drop. In seven weeks, the film has totaled over $11.22 million.
Fellow Academy Award contender, "Sideways" grossed nearly $4.66 million, averaging $2,608, a 31% decline from last week. The film's 17 week release total is nearly $46.67 million.
Miramax's Oscar hopeful, "The Aviator," meanwhile played on 2,530 screens, grossing almost $5.43 million ($2,145 average, a 15% drop). "Aviator"'s two month gross is nearly $76 million.
In all, 59 films grossed more than $17.33 million on 8,381 screens, averaging $2,068, a 22% decline from last week's $2,629 tally. "Hotel Rwanda," "Sideways," "The Aviator," and "Finding Neverland," amassed a huge 86% of the entire iW BOT cume with a combined $14.93 million on 6,929 screens. Only "Finding Neverland" averaged below the iW BOT mean (about 32%) at $1,411 ($39.41 million cume). Minus the top four grossers, the other 55 titles on the chart averaged only $1,655 on 1,452 screens from a $2.4 million gross. In a broad view, the industry brought in $102.76 million from 113 titles from 41,737 screens. Last year's specialty topper was Fox Searchlight's "The Dreamers," which averaged $28,526 on five screens ($142,632 gross).
Upcoming specialty releases include Miramax's "Bride and Prejudice," Universal's "Inside Deep Throat" and Magnolia Pictures' "Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior."