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June 17, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Jet Lag" Cruises in Take off Weekend; "Whale Rider" Breaches the Top Spot; And "The Weather Undergr

"Jet Lag" Cruises in Take off Weekend; "Whale Rider" Breaches the Top Spot; And "The Weather Underground" Blows Up

by Brian Brooks

"Jet Lag" took off over the weekend in the box office with its debut along with Lions Gate Films' "The Hard Word," luring in crowds to select theaters. "Whale Rider," however, continued to rule the indieWIRE box office chart topping the list again. Doc "The Weather Underground" was a box office blast at Film Forum in New York for its second weekend, and "Winged Migration" continues to fly high, zeroing in on its $3 million nest.

"Whale Rider" once again topped the indieWIRE: BOT (which ranks films by their per screen average) with a pod of great numbers over the weekend, including a $14,636 per screen average on 11 screens, two more than last week's opening. The three day total for the Newmarket Films release came to $161,004 for a total cume of $356,659.

Touching down at number two on the chart was the Miramax release of "Jet Lag" by Daniele Thompson. The romantic comedy set at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris screened at two theaters for a $20,454 gross and a per screen average cruising at $10,227.

Exploding its way on the box office scene in its second weekend of release is Sam Green & Bill Siegel's documentary, "The Weather Underground," which took the third spot on the chart. The film, screening at Film Forum on video, grossed $10,160 for a cume of $14,981. "We're really excited, the results have been fantastic," said Ken Eisen, head of Maine-based Shadow Distribution in a conversation with indieWIRE. "[The numbers] show an interest in this film, and its timeliness in its peculiar way." Eisen said the film came to their attention following this year's Sundance Film Festival and that his company had a meeting with directors Green and Siegel to convince them that they were the right ones to handle the film's release.

For now, the film, which documents the tumultuous rise of '60s and '70s radical group The Weather Underground, will continue at Film Forum. Eisen indicated 35 film prints of the doc are not ready, but he plans to begin a larger roll out on July 25th followed by a wider release August 1st. "It's a film we believe deserves to have a wide audience," commented Eisen. At Film Forum, Eisen indicated the audience tends to be former '60s lefties mixed with a large number of young people who are "coming to it with a different point of view."









Jean Reno and Juliette Binoche in Daniele Thompson's "Jet Lag," which Miramax openend over the weekend. Courtesy: Miramax Films

Lions Gate Films' "The Hard Word" by Scott Roberts entered the chart at number four, grossing $9,422 on one screen for its opening weekend, while Magnolia Pictures' "Capturing the Friedmans" rounded out the iW BOT top five, with a per screen average of $5,618 on 38 screens, up significantly from last weeks five sites. Three weeks in release, the film has taken in $419,188.

Palm Pictures added nine screens for "The Eye" in its second weekend, coming in at the seventh spot with $4,774 at 13 sites for a $62,062 weekend gross. The film has cumed $122,590.

"Winged Migration" continues its long trek in the box office heavens, taking the eighth spot in its ninth weekend of release. The film, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, played on 69 screens, taking in $322,961 for a $4,681 average, down from the previous weekend's $5,048 average on 58 screens. So far, the film has made just under $3 million.

ThinkFilm rolled out "The Heart of Me" at five sites, taking in $21,956 for a $4,391 average on its opening weekend. The film came in at number nine on the chart, while fellow ThinkFilm release "Spellbound" took the tenth spot. The doc grossed $323,211 for an average of $3,848 in its seventh weekend of release (down slightly from last weekend's $3,957 average on 77 screens) for a cume of just under $1.63 million.

Opening next week is Sony Classics' "The Legend of Suriyothai" in New York and L.A. Also on tap against "The Hulk" is documentary "Bonhoeffer" at the Quad Cinema in New York.

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