By Indiewire | Indiewire March 10, 2004 at 2:00AM
"Passion" is King Once Again, but "Lenin" Tops its Own Week One Grosses
by Brian Brooks
Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" remained on the box office throne for a second weekend, easily dominating both the specialty and industry-wide box office for a second weekend, with little revenue decline since the controversial film ascended into the box office heavens two weeks ago. On the more secular side of the specialty film biz, German feature "Good Bye, Lenin!" actually increased its take over its second weekend, placing second on the iW chart ranked by order of per screen average. Debuts over the weekend were more moderate for "La Vie Promise" and "Love, Sex and Eating Bones" entering the b.o. fray.
The macro view of the specialty offerings includes 48 titles, down from 52 last weekend, with a total weekend gross of $59.2 million, a decrease from the prior number of $89.76. The dollars from "The Passion" consumed most of that total, with "Monster" also making up a disproportionate amount. Taken together, both films represented about 93.5% of the entire specialty gross. Excluding those films, the weekend take would have been approximately $3.83 million.
"The Passion of the Christ" spent a second weekend on the high throne of big money, topping every list of box office analysis. The Newmarket/Icon release increased its number of screens to 3,170 from last week's 3,043 with a divine $53.2 million over the weekend (it made $83.8 million in its first weekend) for an average of $16,797 (versus $27,554 on the opening weekend). For its two-week run, "The Passion" has made over $213.8 million through Sunday.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Good Bye, Lenin!" continued its box office insurrection in its second weekend, increasing its zeal among moviegoers with higher grosses in the same number of venues. The film, directed by Wolfgang Becker grossed $63,436 on six screens, up from the opening weekend's $57,968 take, for a per screen average of $10,573 and a cume of $148,151 so far.
Sony Classics co-president Michael Barker underscored the film's box office prowess to indieWIRE stating via email, "We think the opening grosses are quite spectacular. We have opened in just New York and Los Angeles and business increased from the first weekend to the second weekend." Continuing to comment on the film's success, Barker commented, "People of all ages seem to respond to this movie... Its concerns are global, while the story is very specific, [and] deals with [it] with an overwhelming sense of humor."
Barker cited positive word of mouth for the film's good performance in Gotham and L.A., and added a personal analysis of the film's appeal. "Who is not ready right now for an entertaining movie that questions the politics of the left and the right, the depth of consumerism, and the extent of a boy's love for his mother?" "Good Bye, Lenin!" will open in "the same manner as 'Run Lola Run,'" according to Barker, with the film debuting in the top 50 markets over the next four weeks, reaching about 100 screens by April 9th. "It is important to take time with this one because it may take a while for people to hear about how good it is, and we want to make sure it is on the screen when they do," concluded Barker.
Empire Pictures debuted its film, "La Vie Promise," on one screen, taking in $6,761, while ThinkFilm debuted "Love, Sex and Eating the Bones" at eight venues, grossing $32,648 for a per screen average of $4,081.
As indicated by Newmarket head Bob Berney in last week's iW BOT article, the film company added about two-hundred screens following the Oscar win for "Monster" for best actress (Charlize Theron), with playdates at 1,082 venues, taking in over $2.12 million for a per screen average of $1,963, that¹s a drop from last week's per screen of $2,073. The film has now earned just under $30 million.
[Brian Clark contributed to this report]