By Indiewire | Indiewire September 11, 2007 at 2:28AM
Weekend earnings of $18,445 shot actor-turned-filmmaker John Turturro's self-released musical "Romance & Cigarettes" to the front of the iWBOT, as well as the top, self-released debut by a director in recent memory. THINKFilm enjoyed a giant leap of the box office kind when "In the Shadow of the Moon," a documentary about the Apollo Astronauts, more than doubled its box office between Friday and Saturday towards a weekend take of $38,281.
Slightly less successful was "The Bubble," director Eytan Fox's latest drama, from Strand Releasing. With a per-screen average of $3,888, "The Bubble" placed sixth on the iWBOT. Rounding out the IWBOT Top Five were IFC First Take's "I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With," Autonomous Film's "Fierce People" and the Bosnian war drama "The Haunting Party," a co-production from MGM and The Weinstein Company.
The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT weekly chart is available at indieWIRE.com.
"Romance & Cigarettes," actor-turned-filmmaker John Turturro's working-class musical starring "Sopranos" boss James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet as singing and dancing Queens neighbors, earned $18,445 from the Film Forum in New York. "Romance and Cigarettes" topped the iWBOT and received an open engagement from the longstanding New York art house.
"John Turturro has been vindicated!" said Jeremy Walker of Jeremy Walker & Associates, the film's publicist. "This film had fallen through the cracks leaving John Turturro to release it himself. The weekend box office has also generated talk of future bookings outside of New York." Rave reviews and the film's Queens setting helped boost crowds. Turturro's next challenge is to take the film beyond New York and gather support to help him with a platform release.
THINKFilm's "In the Shadow of the Moon," a documentary about the Apollo Astronauts, experienced a giant leap of the box office kind when its revenue more than doubled between Friday and Saturday. Although its weekend earnings of $38,281 from four locations were only good enough for the sixth spot on the iWBOT, which ranks films by per-screen average, Mark Urman, Head of U.S. Theatrical for THINKFilm, said the weekend jump points to the film's future success.
"Doubling our business from Friday to Saturday tells me what I always felt about "In The Shadow Of The Moon," that this film generates great word-of-mouth," Urman said. "It makes me optimistic as we release this film across the country."
Of its four venues, "In The Shadow Of The Moon" drew the smallest crowds at New York's Sunshine Cinema, a top-performing venue for edgier fare. "In the Shadow of the Moon," Urman said, with its patriotic themes, may find its strongest audiences in the heartland.
"In The Shadow Of The Moon" opens Friday in Washington DC, Chicago and Boston with exclusive engagements and deepens its run in New York and Los Angeles. The space documentary will expand to 15 markets by Sept. 21.
IFC First Take's comedy "I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With," featuring Jeff Garlin as both lead and director, earned $12,317 in its debut weekend at New York's IFC Center. "I Want Someone To Eat Cheese" holds at the IFC Center and expands Friday to Los Angeles where Garlin will support the film with personal appearances.
Autonomous Films' drama "Fierce People," featuring Donald Sutherland as a recluse and Diane Lane as the younger woman he supports, earned $19,968 in its debut weekend from two venues. Close behind was "The Hunting Party," a Bosnian War drama from The Weinstein Company and MGM, with a $9,902 per-screen average from four locations. Not nearly as successful was "The Bubble," director Eytan Fox's latest drama, from Strand Releasing. With a per-screen average of $3,888, "The Bubble" placed sixth on the iWBOT.
The Paul Auster drama "The Inner Life of Martin Frost," released by New Yorker Films, opened at New York's IFC Center with $3,522, failing to make the iWBOT Top Ten. "The Nines," screenwriter-turned-filmmaker John August's fantasy starring Ryan Reynolds, experienced a dramatic 80% drop in per-screen average to $2,207 from five locations.
Holding its audiences slightly better at New York's Cinema Village was Emerging Pictures' Indian coming-of-age drama "Vanaja," which dropped 60% in per-screen average to $3,662. Magnolia Pictures' Hong Kong crime drama "Exiled" fell to the 20th spot on the iWBOT with earnings of $12,835 from seven locations.
"Deep Water," co-directors Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell's account of amateur yachtsman Donald Crowhurst's attempt to win a 1969 around-the-world boat race, fell out of the iWBOT Top Ten with a per-screen average of $2,992.
The strongest holdover was French actress-turned-filmmaker Julie Delpy's relationship comedy "2 Days in Paris," which bumped up screens to 125 and per-screen average to $3,543. "2 Days in Paris" has surpassed $2.5 million mark in cumulative box office.
The top documentary on the IWBOT was "The Unknown Soldier," from First Run Features. Director Michael Verhoeven's documentary about a controversial World War II exhibition that was shown in major German cities, earned $3,545 from New York's Quad Cinema.First Run Features plans a slow roll out of the film throughout the fall. New releases for Friday includes "Eastern Promises," from Focus Features; the Sundance comedy "The Great World of Sound" from Magnolia Pictures and Warner Independent's heavily anticipated "In the Valley of Elah," about an Iraq War soldier who goes missing.
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.