By Indiewire | Indiewire March 31, 2008 at 12:38PM
"Chapter 27," filmmaker J.P. Schaefer's drama about Mark David Chapman and his days leading to the murder of John Lennon, outdistanced all specialty releases with earnings of $13,910 for Peace Arch Entertainment at New York's Angelika Film Center. "My Brother Is an Only Child," Italian director Daniele Luchetti's 70's-set family drama for ThinkFilm, earned $9,357 at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. "Alexandra," Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov's war drama for Cinema Guild, earned $9,401 at New York's Film Forum. Rounding out the iWBOT Top Five, which ranks films by per-screen average, were "Love Songs," French filmmaker Christophe Honore's Paris-set musical for IFC Films and Red Envelope Entertainment, and Cinema Guild's "The Unforeseen," director Laura Dunn's documentary about a Texas community fighting to protect a natural spring from suburban development.
The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT weekly chart is available at indieWIRE.com.
"Chapter 27" writer/director J.P. Schaefer's drama about the murder of John Lennon starring Jared Leto as Mark David Chapman earned $13,910 for Peace Arch Entertainment from an exclusive run at the Angelika Film Center in New York. "I think the reason we did some business was the provocative subject matter and Jared Leto's performance was haunting as Mark David Chapman, he was sensational," said Mark Balsam, head, U.S. distribution for Peace Arch. "I don't think the anti-'Chapter 27" websites had an effect, whether positively or negatively. We're going to expand to as many as five New York theaters Friday, opening in Los Angeles with Jared in attendance and will reach forty screens by May. It's all about Jared's performance, which was just magical."
"My Brother Is an Only Child," director Daniele Luchetti's 70's-set, Italian-language drama about competing brothers with different political agendas, earned $9,357 from its exclusive debut at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. "The reviews have been great and we had a near capacity Saturday night," said Mark Urman, head of U.S. theatrical for ThinkFilm. "We know the film really satisfies the foreign language film-going audience, so I find this a very encouraging debut." Urman confirmed expansion plans for "My Brother," Los Angeles Friday and Chicago and Washington D.C. April 11.
"Alexandra," Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov's drama featuring veteran actress Galina Vishnevskaya as a grandmother visitng her Russian army grandson in Chechnya, earned $9,401 for The Cinema Guild from its exclusive debut at New York's Film Forum. "Certainly the strong reviews and coverage played a big part in the weekend numbers," said Ryan Krivoshey, director of distribution for Cinema Guild. "But I think audiences also responded to the universal nature of the story. It could really be about any country at any time at any place. And I think for this reason it spoke to many people. It's a war film, but unlike any that's come before it. "There's also genuine interest in Sokurov, in what this master filmmaker comes up with. "Alexandra" may not be as groundbreaking cinematically as a single-take tour of the Hermitage, but a 90-minute film about a grandmother visiting her grandson may be just as audacious."
The strongest holdover was "Love Songs," French filmmaker Christophe Honore's Paris-set musical starring Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier and Clotilde Hesme. The IFC Films/ Red Envelope Entertainment release earned $13,301 from two New York runs; reaching $44,266 in total box office.
Entering the iWBOT top five for the first time was the Cinema Guild documentary "The Unforeseen," director Laura Dunn's film about a Texas community struggling to protect a natural spring from suburban development. "Unforeseen" attracted hometown fans to the Alamo South Lamar Theater in Austin, TX and earned $12,877 in weekend box office.
Other specialty debuts in the iWBOT Top Ten included "Hats Off," director Jyll Johnstone's documentary about Mimi Weddell, who at the age of 67 became a full-time actress and model. "Hats Off" earned $6,570 for Canobie Films and Abramorama at New York's Quad Cinema. "Many people commented that they hadn't been to the movies in ages, so we know that our outreach to a more mature audience was successful said Johnstone. "They were quite pleased to see a film that wasn't directed at the typical youth audience." Truly Indie's "Backseat," director Bruce Van Dusen's slackerish road comedy, earned $5,775 in weekend grosses from its exclusive premiere at New York's Quad Cinema. "Flawless," director Michael Radford's period heist film for Magnolia Pictures, reached a $4,857 per-screen average from 35 runs. "Flawless," featuring Michael Caine and Demi Moore, debuted with $181,910 in weekend box office. "Priceless" director Pierre Salvadori's French romance featuring Audrey Tautou as pretty gold-digger, earned $116,308 from 24 runs for Samuel Goldwyn Films. "Shelter," writer/director Jonah Markowitz's coming out romance for here! Films and Regent Releasing, earned $28,210 in weekend box office from six runs.
Holding in the iWBOT Top Ten was "Planet B-Boy" director Benson Lee's documentary about b-boy culture and the break dancing Battle of the Year contest in Braunschweig, Germany. The Elephant Eye Films release reached a sophomore week per-screen average of $4,908 from eight engagements and $79,828 in total box office.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of the day each Monday.