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April 1, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Raising Victor Vargas," "Assassination Tango" and "Stevie" Debut at the Box Office; "Beckham" Conti

"Raising Victor Vargas," "Assassination Tango" and "Stevie" Debut at the Box Office; "Beckham" Continues to be a Player

by Brian Brooks









Victor Rasuk and Judy Marte in Peter Sollett's "Raising Victor Vargas."

© 2003 Samuel Goldwyn Films & Fireworks Pictures

Peter Sollett's anticipated "Raising Victor Vargas" debuted last weekend on two Manhattan screens ushering in sizable audiences to the Lower East Side-set feature. Also opening, "Assassination Tango" and "Stevie" screened in L.A. and New York. And, "Bend it Like Beckham" continued to draw hordes into theaters.

Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks Pictures released Toronto and Sundance fav "Raising Victor Vargas" at New York's Sunshine Theater in downtown Manhattan as well as the AMC Empire in Times Square over the weekend grossing $33,166. The coming of age drama starring Victor Rasuk about a teenager who falls for a girl that is seemingly out of his league averaged a nice $16,583 per screen. "We're pleased with the numbers," said IDP president Michael Silberman in a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday. "It was great, the audience is really responding to the movie and [the film] sold out eight screenings at the Sunshine Theater [in downtown Manhattan], a great reaction." Sollett and cast members also attended some screenings at the Sunshine to do Q & A sessions and "the reaction was very positive," said Silberman.

Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks Pictures plans to release the film at the Chelsea Cinemas and the East Side Playhouse in Manhattan next weekend, followed by releases in the NYC outer-boroughs April 11th, Los Angeles on April 18th with San Francisco, Chicago and Boston later in the month.

Robert Duvall's "Assassination Tango" also rolled out over the weekend on seven screens. The Argentina-set United Artists thriller/drama earned $64,474 in L.A. and New York theaters, averaging $9,211.

Steve James' Lions Gate release, "Stevie" bowed on four screens taking in $9,383. The documentary, about the director's return to his hometown in Illinois to rekindle the friendship with a person he mentored as a big brother, averaged a light $2,346.

"Bend it Like Beckham" continued its winning streak in its third weekend of release, grossing the $655,741 on 46 screens for a stellar $14,255 average. So far the feature, directed by Gurinder Chadha, has earned just under $1.2 million.

Expanding to 15 screens this weekend was Newmarket's "Spun." The Jonas Akerlund directed feature took in $64,478 for a $4,298 average and a cume of $132,064.

Zeitgeist Films' "Nowhere in Africa" took in $284,104 on 33 screens for an award-winning $8,609 per screen average. The German film, directed by Caroline Link, won the best foreign language film Oscar the previous weekend.

Also scoring some post-Oscar cash was best director Roman Polanski's "The Pianist." The film, starring best leading actor-winner Adrien Brody increased its box office take over the weekend by 137 per cent for a gross slightly under $2.5 million ($3,177 average) on 773 screens. So far the Focus film, which also won best adapted screenplay for Ronald Harwood, has earned just under $23.6 million.

Coming this week to theaters are Josee Dayan's "Cet Amour-La" starring Jeanne Moreau, Shinishiro Watanabe's "Cowboy Bebop: The Movie," Damian Pettigrew's "Fellini: I'm a Born Liar," Jim Simpson's "The Guys," Ed Solomon's "Levity," Neil Jordan's "The Good Thief," and Aki Kaurismaki's "The Man Without a Past."

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