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November 4, 2003 2:00 AM
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"Shattered Glass" Among The New Entries in Specialty Theaters

"Shattered Glass" Among The New Entries in Specialty Theaters

by Eugene Hernandez

Lions Gate's release of "Shattered Glass" opened atop this week's indieWIRE: BOT chart, which ranks specialty films by per-screen average. The new movie, directed by first-timer Billy Ray, narrowly beat Gus Van Sant's "Elephant" from HBO Films/Fine Line Features, which was in its second weekend. Miramax was in the number four spot on the chart with "The Human Stain," which opened on 160 screens.

While "Shattered Glass" opening figures of $77,540 on eight screens in Los Angeles and New York did not reach the opening heights seen by other equally well-reviewed specialty films from earlier this year, Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg explained that he feels good about the figures. The film had a per-screen average of $9,693, decent given the tough autumn newer movies have had at the box office.

"We are very pleased with the send off that 'Shattered Glass' got this weekend," Ortenberg told indieWIRE on Monday. "We had terrific numbers on a very difficult weekend." Ortenberg added that he saw promising exit polls, perhaps the best he has seen for a Lions Gate picture this year.

"I think 'Shattered Glass' is just a great example of what makes a well-done movie," added Ortenberg. "It's not the flashiest, most exotic film, but it's a good story and it's really well told." Continuing he said, "Given the trajectory of the numbers, we think we are on our way to some very solid success."

Ortenberg said that he will expand slightly in the New York area this weekend, as well as in San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., where he expects a great deal of attention given that the movie details Glass' exploits while at The New Republic (based there). On November 14, the film will widen to about another 15 top markets, then on November 21 and 28 Ortenberg hopes to add runs in each market based on the initial successes.

Finally, Ortenberg said that Lions Gate could tap a younger, high school and college student audience. He indicated that for the first time the company has reached out to instructors with study guides, hoping to make the film a topic in the classroom. The film is the first award hopeful from Lions Gate, which also has "The Cooler" and "Girl With a Pearl Earring" coming later this year. It is sending out screener tapes and DVDs of all three titles to Academy members along with other groups, given that it is not bound by the recent MPAA restrictions on screeners.

A total of 60 films are tracked in this week's indieWIRE: BOT, that is one fewer than last weekend. The films made more than $3.71 million on a total of 1,625 screens, which is down from weekends in September when nearly 70 BOT films were grossing upwards of $5-6 million per weekend.

"Elephant" earned $56,666 on 6 screens in weekend two. The film, which maintains a solid word of mouth, had an average of $9,444 for a new cume of $193,319.

"The Human Stain" from Miramax made more than $1 million on 160 screens, with a solid average of $6,464. Also from Miramax, in the top ten, are "City of God" which made $4,782 on one screen and has earned nearly $4.7 million so far, as well as "The Station Agent" which made $319,477 on 86 screens for an average of $3,715. It has made nearly $1.2 million so far.

The Sundance Channel Film Series opened its fourth and final film in this year's program. Mark Rucker's "Die Mommie Die," starring Charles Busch, made $54,129 on 10 screens this weekend. The film had a per-screen average of $5,413 in its debut. "Dopamine," the series' most recent release, made $3,064 on four screens for an average of $766. It has made $64,950 so far.

A number of films from Palm Pictures, which announced two more acquisitions on Monday, are perched near the $500,000 mark. "The Housekeeper," is at $450,756, while "The Eye" is just over the mark at $502,262 and "The Cremaster Cycle" has hit $487,371. The company's latest releases, "The Flower of Evil" and "Demonlover" are at lower totals early in their runs. "Flower" is at $74,512 with $7,445 on nine screens for an $827 average and "demonlover" has made $210,460, earning $3,681 this weekend on six screens for a $614 average.

Among the films opening this weekend are Marina de Van's "In My Skin," which is being released by Wellspring. New docs in limited release include Kim Bartley and Donnacha O'Briain's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" at Film Forum and "Hidden In Plain Sight," which will screen at Anthology Film Archives in downtown Manhattan.

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