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by Indiewire
November 3, 2004 2:00 AM
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"Sideways" is Toasted Again; Paramount Classics Pushes through with "Enduring Love" and "The Machini

"Sideways" is Toasted Again; Paramount Classics Pushes through with "Enduring Love" and "The Machinist"

by Brian Brooks

On a late Tuesday night as the world turned its attention to the presidential election in the U.S., indieWIRE did the same, watching returns on network television, turning our attention for a time and breaking out our computers to assess online the polls by county in states like Ohio, and debating amongst ourselves the chances for change. With that backdrop, the stats for the indie box office continue, and this column is being written very late at night with Ohio leaning towards Bush and the Republicans winning overall.

Nevertheless, here is the specialty box office as we tally it... Fox Searchlight's "Sideways" continued its winning streak for a second weekend, and managed to remain in the top placement on the iW: BOT assessed by a per screen average and coming in fourth overall in weekend grosses. Paramount Classics, meanwhile, took the second and third places in the chart with newcomer "Enduring Love" swooning the second spot, while last week's number two "The Machinist" placed third. And, as has been the case for many weeks, newcomers had a mixed weekend.

Alexander Payne's "Sideways" won the weekend with $404,605 on 16 screens, with a still landslide per screen of $25,288. In two weeks, the film, which has also received decent media attention of late, has cumed $710,076.

Paramount Classics unveiled "Enduring Love" to audiences at five sites, taking in $34,610 for a $6,922 per screen average in its first weekend, while "The Machinist" screened in eight venues in its second weekend, grossing $51,046. In two weeks, the film has taken in $141,837 with a $6,381 average.

"We were extremely pleased with the opening weekend [for "The Machinist"] commented Paramount Classics co-president David Dinerstein by telephone from L.A. to indieWIRE Tuesday afternoon. "The gross at the Angelika [in Manhattan] was one of the highest we've had since [Paramount Classics' beginning, and] the second week numbers were still high considering Halloween and the [stiff] competition.

"[Regarding] 'Enduring Love,' the numbers were good, and we're pleased with the weekday numbers. We've received positive [reviews] from big critics including Ebert and Roeper, Newssday, the Los Angeles Times [and others]."

Dinerstein commented that Paramount Classics focused its attention for "Enduring Love" on the 35-49 year-old market, leveraging crossover potential with openings at venues such as The Grove [in L.A.] and the Regal Union Square. With "The Machinist," however, Classics is gearing its attention initially on the 18-34 market,, utilizing some television and print marketing in publications skewed toward that age group.

The Paramount Classics crew first saw "Machinist" at Sundance earlier this year, while the specialty distibutor was involved with the production of "Enduring Love." Moving forward, the company will add a few markets for "The Machinist," keeping an eye on an Oscar push for Christian Bale. "He's been receiving great praise for his performance," assessed Dinerstein. "He transformed his body weight by 63 pounds, not just as a stunt, but someone who played his role extremely well." Meanwhile, Paramount Classics expects to be on 75 screens with "Enduring Love" by Thanksgiving.

The specialty box office declined by nearly $3 million and by nine titles since the previous weekend, with 434 fewer screens showing indie titles. Four films, including "Huckabees," "Motorcycle Diaries," "Napoleon Dynamite," and "Sideways" represented 58% of the b.o. with a combined $3.51 million on 1,538 screens (3,788 specialty screens total). The remaining 74 titles in the chart shared a combined gross of $2.576 million from 2,250 sites with a $1,145 per screen average. During the same weekend one year ago, "Shattered Glass" was number one in the specialty box office with eight screens and a $9,693 per screen average, and a $3.71 million total.

Among the films opening this week are Rodney Evan's "Brother to Brother" and the Jay-Z concert doc, "Fade to Black." Also on tap this weekend are "Bear Cub," "Callas Forever" and "Fabled."

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