By Indiewire | Indiewire August 14, 2007 at 12:21PM
A terrific per-screen average placed director/actress Julie Delpy's filmmaking debut "2 Days in Paris" atop the iWBOT. The sexy, couple-in-crisis comedy was the top limited-release debut for Samuel Goldwyn Films (which is releasing the film with Red Envelope) since 2005's "The Squid and the Whale" and the breakout, art-house comedy of the summer. Director Jeffrey Blitz's coming-of-age satire "Rocket Science," meanwhile reached number two on the iWBOT, which ranks films by per-screen average. IFC First Take's "Dans Paris" and Yash Raj Films' "Chak De India" were also newcomers joinging the chart's top five, both screening in limited release.
The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT weekly chart is available at indieWIRE.com>.
"2 Days in Paris," French actress-turned-filmmaker Julie Delpy's saucy relationship comedy earned $173,641 from its debut on ten screens with New York's Angelika and The Landmark in Los Angeles as its top-performing venues. With an iWBOT-leading, per-screen average of $17,364, "2 Days in Paris" more than doubled the per-screen debuts of specialty comedies "The Ten," "Eagle vs. Shark" and "Introducing the Dwights" and edged out the French-language farce "My Best Friend."
In fact, "2 Days in Paris" nearly matched the $19,444 per-screen mark for Searchlight's "Napoleon Dynamite." Michael Silberman, President of IDP Distribution, credited the strong turnout to successful word-of-mouth screenings, extraordinary media coverage and glowing reviews. More importantly, the people who checked out "2 Days in Paris" liked what they saw.
"We think the best thing about the movie is the movie itself," Silberman said. "This movie is a hit with critics and it's clearly a movie audiences want to see." "2 Days in Paris" will hold its ten locations Friday and slowly expand to 75 locations August 24 and 125 by Aug. 31.
"We're going to open slower in order to build national awareness. We have a careful, platform release pattern based on anticipation of additional radio and TV appearances." ("2 Days co-star Adam Goldberg is scheduled to appear on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" August 20). "A movie like 'Becoming Jane' is an easily digestible movie for its target audience and can roll out on a quicker basis," continued Silberman." "This is about building audience awareness because once audiences see this they will tell their friends to see it."
Picturehouse's "Rocket Science," director Jeffrey Blitz's debut comedy about a shy boy joining his high school debate team to impress a girl, earned $58,536 from its limited debut on six screens. The film's per-screen average of $9,756 reached number two on the iWBOT with the ArcLight in Los Angeles leading all venues. Picturehouse expands 'Rocket Science" to 40 screens Friday.
Janus Films' restored 35mm print of Jean-Luc Godard's "Pierrot le fou" returned to the iWBOT as the top exclusive with earnings of $6,187 from the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, approximately 15% less than its mid-June debut at Brooklyn's BAMcinematek. The 1965 classic, starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina, moves to Chicago's Music Box Theatre Friday.
The weekend's second, Paris-set debut, director Christophe Honore's "Dans Paris," a male melodrama set among two brothers and their divorced father, earned $13,154 from exclusive runs at New York's IFC Center and the E Street Cinema in Washington D.C. "Dans Paris" reached number four on the chart.
Despite coverage on NPR and numerous positive reviews, Kino International's "Crossing the Line" grossed a timid $2,605 at New York's Cinema Village, only good enough for the 18th spot on the iWBOT. "We're disappointed with the film's performance," said Mike Schmidt, Kino's Assoc. Director of Theatrical Sales. "We had many cues, from the press and from a promo event that we held in New York, that people were interested in the film, but sometimes these indicators do not live up to expectations. We're still confident the film will find its audience in other markets and on DVD." 'Crossing the Line" holds at the Cinema Village and expands Friday to San Francisco.
Koch Lorber's "Blame it on Fidel," director Julie Gavras' debut comedy about a young girl with activist parents, lost half its audience, earning $8,829 from two screens. The latest in a series of recent French-language releases, "Blame it on Fidel" outperformed the $1,929 per-screen average of Sony Classics' "Moliere" but is far overshadowed by the summer's top French titles, Picturehouse's Edith Piaf drama "La Vie En Rose" ($8,989,913 cumulative) and IFC's Patrice Leconte comedy "My Best Friend" ($819,888 cumulative).
Miramax's "Becoming Jane," a romance inspired by Jane Austen's young adulthood, earned just over $2.9 million from 601 screens. While its per-screen average of $4,828 is a near 50% drop from its debut weekend average, the period romance is on track to best the Richard Gere drama "The Hoax" and become Miramax's top-earning 2007 release.
With $33,459 in weekend earnings, IFC First Take's "This Is England" reached a cumulative box office of $95,849, and its $3,718 per-screen average placed 12th on the iW BOT. "This Is England" expands Friday to Washington DC, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
German director Stefan Krohmer's family drama "Summer '04," which The Cinema Guild opened exclusively at New York's Film Forum, failed to crack the iW BOT Top Ten. Its sophomore week earnings of $2,830 placed the festival favorite in the 14th spot.
More successful was New Yorker's "The Willow Tree," Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi's soulful drama about a blind professor who regains his sight. "The Willow Tree" earned $3,902 from its exclusive engagement at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas; a 35% drop from its debut weekend. "Live-In Maid," Argentine filmmaker Jorge Gaggero's class drama about a Buenos Aires divorcee struggling to retain her luxurious lifestyle, earned $11,060 from four locations.
Of all holdovers, Magnolia Pictures' Iraq War documentary "No End in Sight" continued to be the best performer. Its $5,647 per-screen average, less than a 25% drop, reached the sixth spot on the iWBOT. With more than $235,000 in cumulative box office, "No End in Sight" has in three weeks bested the $202,928 total earnings of the 2006 Iraq War documentary "Iraq In Fragments."
New entries on the specialty playing field this week include Picturehouse's video game documentary "King of Kong," a Slamdance Film Festival purchase. New Yorker debuts Chinese director Zhang Yang's Cultural Revolution drama "Sunflower." Looking to repeat the success of the Al Gore/global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" is Warner Independent's climate change documentary "The 11th Hour," which debuts with the promotional help of its celebrity narrator and producer, Leonardo DiCaprio.