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by Indiewire
October 16, 2007 2:56 AM
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iW BOT | Box Office Will Tear Us Apart: Weinstein's "Control" Tops in NY, "Lars" Attracts Flesh and

A rocking weekend gross of $27,674 at New York's Film Forum made photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn's "Control" the top release on the iWBOT. "Control," about the British post-punk band Joy Division and its troubled vocalist Ian Curtis, was The Weinstein Company's highest exclusive debut since "Sicko," which was a collaboration with Lionsgate. Director Craig Gillespie's comedy "Lars and the Real Girl," a co-production between Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and MGM, earned $90,418 from seven screens. Its $12,917 per-screen average reached the number two spot on the iWBOT, which ranks releases by per-screen average. Rounding out the iWBOT Top Five were holdovers "The Darjeeling Limited," "Lust, Caution" and "Romance and Cigarettes."

The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT weekly chart is available here at indieWIRE.com.

Photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn's "Control," the story of Joy Division lead Ian Curtis and his 1980 suicide, earned $27,674 for the Weinstein Company from its exclusive debut at New York's Film Forum. Its cumulative has reached $35,856. Starring Sam Riley as the Joy Division singer, "Control" was Film Forum's top debut for 2007 and the third highest opener in its 37-year history. "This is the kind of movie Harvey Weinstein shows himself to be very adept at marketing," said Steve Bunnell, Chairman Domestic Distribution for The Weinstein Company. "Our exiting polls showed that the Joy Division audience was there but we also attracted a younger audience who weren't old enough to grow up with Joy Division, between ages 18 and 34. There's also a romance that's the core of the film and our job is to capitalize on the growing word of the mouth and get that message out to women." "Control," purchased by the Weinstein Co. for $400,000, expands Friday to the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles and additional cities Oct. 26.

Director Craig Gillespie's comedy 'Lars and the Real Girl" earned $90,418 for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and MGM. Starring Ryan Gosling as a shy twentysomething who develops a love affair with a life-size, blow-up doll he names Bianca, "Lars" reached the number two spot on the iWBOT with a $12,917 per-screen average. MGM, which is handling distribution, expands "Lars" to twenty-two engagements in the top ten markets Friday with its widest platform planned for Oct. 26. "I think it's a solid foot in the door in a crazy, crowded marketplace," said Mark Kristol, President Marketing and Distribution, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. "It's a bloody blood bath out there. Every fall you hear the same thing. It's never been as bad as this and this fall we're saying the same thing, it's never been as bad as this. But we have our foot in the door on "Lars." In fact, we're up to our heel. That's a good thing because we're wearing size 12 shoes on this film. What I mean is there's no ceiling on the release for "Lars."

Playing 95 theaters, director Wes Anderson's comedy, "The Darjeeling Limited," starring Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman as three estranged brothers traveling through India, continued to perform well with weekend earnings of $1.825 million. Its per-screen average of $11,842, while a steep 60% drop from its sophomore weekend, ranked third on the iWBOT. "This film is reaching beyond Wes Anderson fans and attracting moviegoers who want an alternative from all the dark dramas this fall," said Sheila Deloach, Senior Vice President Distribution at Fox Searchlight Pictures. "Darjeeling Limited" will continue to expand, reaching its widest release Oct. 26.

Focus Features continued to make history with its NC-17 Rated drama "Lust. Caution." Earnings of $609,623 from 77 screens kept Ang Lee's World War II era spy drama in the iWBOT Top Five. "Into the Wild," filmmaker Sean Penn's adaptation of the Jon Krakauer novel for Paramount Vantage, earned $928,678 from 153 venues. Its third week per-screen average was $6,070, a 33% drop from its previous weekend. After three weeks, "Into the Wild's" cumulative box office has hit just below $4 million.

Balcony Releasing's "King Corn" proved to be the weekend's grassroots champ. An inventive documentary about the American agriculture and food industry from co-directors Aaron Wolf, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, "King Corn," boosted by on-site appearances from its filmmakers, earned $6,753 from its exclusive debut at New York's Cinema Village. Less successful debuts included "Khadak," about a Mongolian nomad who trains to become a shaman, which earned $1,983 for Lifesize Entertainment, from its exclusive debut at the Cinema Village. Magnolia Pictures' Barbet Schroeder documentary "Terror's Advocate," about attorney Jacques Verges, defender of the world's most notorious war criminals, earned $11,197 from three locations. With a per-screen average of $3,732, "Terror's Advocate" failed to make the iWBOT Top Ten. "Naked Boys Singing!" - based on the long-running Off-Broadway musical revue -earned $3,690 from its exclusive debut at New York's Quad Cinema. "Canvas," director Joseph Greco's drama about schizophrenia, earned $13,100 from two locations for Screen Media.

The re-make of the 1972 thriller "Sleuth," starring Michael Caine and Jude Law, earned $46,265 for Sony Pictures Classics. Its $5,140 per-screen average was good enough for the ninth spot on the iWBOT. Top re-issues included Warner Bros.' "Blade Runner: The Final Cut," director Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi thriller, which earned $65,361 from New York's Ziegfeld Theater and The Landmark in Los Angeles. At the Film Forum, a new 35mm print of Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 youth comedy "La Chinoise" earned $9.355 for Koch Lorber. Top performers on the ethnic circuit were "Bhool Bhulalyaa," which earned $512,000 for Eros Entertainment and "Laaga Chunari Mein Daag," which earned 320,987 for Yash Raj Films.

The top performer in terms of audience retention continued to be "Romance & Cigarettes," actor-turned-filmmaker John Turturro's working-class musical starring James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet as Queens neighbors. "Romance & Cigarettes," earned $13,789 from New York's Quad Cinemas and Long Island's Cinema Arts Centre, a boost from the previous weekend. Having seen "Romance & Cigarettes" several times with audiences in both the city and the suburbs, I can tell you that audiences absolutely love it," said Richard Abramowitz, who's come on board to handle expanded distribution for the film. "Even during this glut of high visibility quality films, it's so unique and exhilarating that people keep showing up, and the more who see it, the more who will, because word of mouth is so strong."

New Friday releases include After Dark Films' "Wristcutters: A Love Story," director Goran Dukic's afterlife fantasy that premiered at Sundance 2006 and Focus Features' family drama "Reservation Road."

Steve Ramos is a Cincinnati based writer.

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 studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday.

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