By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 24, 2009 at 6:03AM
This week's indieWIRE Box Office Chart finds Matt Tyrnauer’s “Valentino: The Last Emperor," a doc on legendary designer Valentino Garavani, exceeding initial estimates to lead the chart with a $21,762 gross from New York's Film Forum.
Since opening last Wednesday, the film has grossed $39,106, including $21,784 for the three-day weekend, making it one of the theater's top-grossing premieres in over three decades. The film also broke Film Forum's single-screen midweek opening day record with $5,963. The film will open in Chicago on March 27th, and Los Angeles and San Francisco on April 3rd.
Behind "Valentino" were two other debuts: Steve McQueen's acclaimed "Hunger", which also opened on a lone NYC screen (IFC Center). The IFC Films release - which had an Oscar qualifying run back in December - grossed a respectable $13,565, making it IFC's second biggest debut of the year (behind February's "Gomorrah," which averaged over $20,000). Finding similar numbers was Focus Features' release of Cary Joji Fukunaga's "Sin Nombre". The film grossed $81,446 from six screens for a $13,574 average.
Two other one-NYC-theater debuts found respectable numbers considering they were much less hyped than the aforementioned three. Shadow Distribution's "Skills Like This" grossed $9,413 from its lone Angelika Theater engagement, while Argot Picture's "The New Twenty" took in $6,272.
Both film's PTAs far outreached the disappointing performance of Magnolia Pictures' Sundance '08 acquisition, "The Great Buck Howard". Opening on 55 screens, the Colin Hanks-John Malkovich starrer managed only $115,004 for a limp $2,091 average. The film can at least stand proud in comparison to Roadside Attractions' release of "inexplicably, aggressively awful" film "Super Capers," which came in at the very bottom of the chart with an embarrassing $268 average from its 80 screens.
Among holdovers, Christine Jeffs' "Sunshine Cleaning" continued to exert potential to become 2009's first real limited-release breakout after last weekend's massive debut. Expanding to 64 screens, the film grossed $671,618 for a $10,494 average. That takes the Overture Films release's total to $960,041 after 10 days.
"The results this weekend were tremendous and it bodes well as we move into wider release in the coming weeks," Kyle Davies, EVP of Theatrical Distribution, Overture Films, told indieWIRE. "I think the great word-of-mouth and a beloved cast are fueling the success of 'Sunshine Cleaning.' We had incredible success last Spring with 'The Visitor,' and we are delighted to see audiences connecting with 'Sunshine Cleaning' this season. 'Sunshine Cleaning' is an uplifting film about a family that overcomes adversity—I think that really resonates with audiences right now."
The film is tracking slightly better than "The Visitor," which ended up grossing $9,427,089. In its second weekend, that film grossed $166,499 from a less aggressive 18 theaters for a $9,249 average.
Next week "Sunshine" will be adding an additional 25 markets and likely a minimum of 100 screens. The wider expansion will be on April 3rd.
Check out the indieWIRE Box Office Chart here.
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.