By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 5, 2010 at 5:14AM
While "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" stormed 4,468 theaters to the tune of $175 million, a batch of indie films found mixed results over the Independence Day holiday weekend. According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon, the majority of the good news came from holdovers expanding into the marketplace. The only reporting newcomer - Taylor Hackford's critically panned Helen Mirren-starrer "Love Ranch" - found mild numbers, while older films like "Cyrus" and "Winter's Bone" scored as they inched toward 100+ screen counts.
The long-delayed "Ranch" debuted on 11 screens and found a unspectacular gross of $49,500 over the three day weekend (the remainder of this article highlights four-day numbers). That gave the film, a fictional look at a Nevada whorehouse, a $4,500 average. The $25 million budgeted film was released by E1 Entertainment, which primarily distributes movies in Canada, with a reported advertising budget of less than $1 million.
"Ranch" stood in the specialty shadow of a few strong holdovers, most notably Fox Searchlight's "Cyrus." A significant expansion into the mainstream for brothers Mark and Jay Duplass - whose previous work includes ultra low budget films "The Puffy Chair" and "Baghead" - "Cyrus" expanded from 17 to 77 screens in its third weekend and managed a quite impressive gross of $1,019,445 over the four-day weekend, averaging $13,240 and landing it in the overall top ten alongside films playing on 10, 20 or even 50 times the screens. The $7 million budgeted "Cyrus"'s total now stands at $1,737,319. Searchlight's goal is to have the film at 300 to 400 theaters by its fifth week. Though they are prepared to go wider than that if the momentum and audience response dictates it, which it looks like it might. Either way, it seems almost certain "Cyrus" will be the summer's first $10 million+ specialty breakout.
Luca Guadagnino's critical darling "I Am Love," held on very well in its third frame. Going from 27 to 82 screens, the film, which richly details the refined world of a wealthy Italian family (led by Tilda Swinton, who learned to speak Italian for the role), grossed $660,000 over the four day weekend, averaging a potent $8,049. That gave "I Am" a lovely new total of $1,228,000.
In its fourth weekend, Debra Granik's Sundance prize winner "Winter's Bone," also had much to celebrate. The film, which follows a young woman living in the Ozark Mountains played by Jennifer Lawrence, went from 70 to 83 screens and grossed a strong $565,900. That gave the Roadside Attractions release a $6,818 average for the 4-day and took its total to $1,847,791. It should easily hit $2 million by the end of its fourth week, and is already one of Roadside's five top grossing films ever. Roadside noted that they still have a number of significant areas of the country to open, such as the whole Florida market and Atlanta, as well a lot of cities where they think the film will perform well such as Tulsa, Boise, Oklahoma City, Lincoln, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee.
Last weekend's top debut, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington's Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning doc "Restrepo," went from 2 to 10 screens and grossed $71,588 for distributor National Geographic. That gave the film a decent four-day average of $7,159 and a cume of $132,210.
IFC Films expanded Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg's doc "Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" to 112 screens for the holiday, resulting in $448,000 over the four-day frame. The film, which chronicles the private dramas of iconic comedian Joan Rivers, averaged a strong $4,000 and took its total to $1,597,000 - an impressive number for a documentary these days and one that should easily double by the end of "Joan"'s run.
Yorgos Lanthimos's "Dogtooth" held up decently on a lone engagement at New York's Cinema Village, grossing $6,437. The film's total stands at $19,149 after two weeks as it expands to Chicago and Boston later this month.
Sony Classics' recent films Alain Resnais's "Wild Grass" Jan Kounen's "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky" each expanded in their second and fourth weekends. "Grass" went from 5 to 6 screens and grossed $37,132 over the holiday frame, averaging a decent $6,189 and taking its total to $103,812. "Coco," meanwhile, went from 20 to 43 screens and grossed $176,068, taking its total to a strong $583,849. That suggests SPC is likely to have to $1 million Coco Chanel-related films on its hands after last Fall's "Coco Before Chanel" (which totalled $6,113,834).
SPC also saw its long-running "The Secret in Their Eyes" and "Please Give" hit the $5.6 million and $3.4 million marks, respectively. In their 12th and 10th weekends, the films are still impressively pulling in $1,000+ per-theater-averages on 100+ screens.
Finally, the seventh weekend of Brian Koppelman and David Levien's "Solitary Man" saw it drop one screen from 177 to 176 screens and still gross a fantastic $698,000 over the four-day weekend. That gave the film, starring Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Mary-Louise Parker and Jesse Eisenberg, a great $3,966 average and inched it toward the $3 million mark with a new total of $2,957,179.
Check out more on recent box office trends in indieWIRE's recent mid-year report.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day each Monday..