By Indiewire | Indiewire May 13, 2003 at 2:00AM
"Man on the Train" Arrives in Theaters; Crowds continue to flock to "Winged Migration"
by Brian Brooks
"Man on the Train" chugged along at the box office in its opening weekend, while "The Shape of Things" and "Only the Strong Survive" opened quieter in their debuts. "Spellbound" continued to attract enthusiastic crowds at its one Manhattan screen in its second weekend run, while birdy doc "Winged Migration" continued its ascent into ticket sales glory.
"The word of mouth on this movie will not stop, and actually has just begun," said Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker in a conversation with indieWIRE about "Winged Migration." "We're very happy." Sony added one more screen for the film's fourth weekend in release taking in $99,188 on nine screens for a spectacular $11,021 per screen average, down only slightly from the previous weekend's $11,272 average. Barker said the film opened in Detroit over the weekend, making $15,646 in three days. "All ages are seeing the film," said Barker. "Parents bring their kids, people that love to travel like the film because it covers seven continents." He went on to say that additional screens will be added slowly to allow word of mouth to continue building momentum. So far, the film, directed by Jacques Perrin, has made $328,595.
"Man on the Train" was the winner in the specialty box office among the weekend openers. The Paramount Classics release debuted on five screens grossing $41,138 for a per screen average of $8,228. Focus Features' "The Shape of Things" played 40 screens on its roll out weekend taking in $173,246 for a $4,331 average.
Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's doc on Stax Records and Motown's soul and R&B singers, "Only the Strong Survive" opened quieter on 12 screens grossing $22,035. The Miramax release averaged $1,836.
"Spellbound" continued to pack audiences at Film Forum in Manhattan during its second weekend, taking in $17,589, up slightly from its debut gross of $17,508. "We are simply thrilled," ThinkFilm's Mark Urman told indieWIRE. "We take on the suburbs this Friday," with the film's release in New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island as well as Los Angeles and Chicago. "Spellbound" has made $55,083 since opening April 30th.
"The Dancer Upstairs" continued decently its second weekend, playing 62 screens for a $270,094 take ($4,356 average). The John Malkovich directed film has a cume of $420,241.
Matt Dillon's directorial debut, "City of Ghosts" took in $53,203 weekend number two for a per screen of $3,325. The U.A. film added ten screens for a total of sixteen, and has a $120,651 cume.
Miramax's "Blue Car" grossed $34,988, also on its second weekend. The film played nine screens for an average of $3,888 and a $79,311 cume.
Continuing well in its seventh weekend of release is Peter Sollet's "Raising Victor Vargas," playing 64 screens for a $160,768 take ($2,512 average). The Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks Pictures film just passed the million-dollar mark.
This week's openers include "L'Auberge Expagnole," "Cinemania," "The Sea," and "Secret Lives."