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December 23, 2003 2:00 AM
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The "Fog" Lifts at the Specialty Box Office

The "Fog" Lifts at the Specialty Box Office

by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

This was a grand year for docs, and as 2003 draws to a close, one more doc topped the specialty box office over the weekend. Errol Morris' "The Fog of War" opened with a strong showing, while the previous weekend's number one, "Girl with a Pearl Earring" remained robust in the second position. "The Cooler" maintained a winning streak in expansion, while "The Hebrew Hammer" and "The Butterfly" both opened quietly.

Over the weekend, the iW BOT tracked 45 films, an increase of two with an overall gross of $2.01 million. The previous weekend, the total take was $1.79 million and the number of screens decreased to 1042 from the previous 1168.

Errol Morris' doc on former U.S. defense secretary Robert McNamara invaded three venues over the weekend, taking in $41,449 for a solid $13,816 per-screen average. (Representatives from Sony Classics weren't available to comment on the film's strong debut).

Lions Gate's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" added one more venue, taking in $71,051 for a sparkling $8,881 per-screen average at eight sites. Lions Gate president Tom Ortenberg last week told indieWIRE the film will continue to have a slow expansion through December and will open the top 20 markets early in the new year. So far, the film has cumed $205,640.

Meanwhile, Lions Gate's "The Cooler" expanded to 70 sites, up from 11 last week. The film, directed by Wayne Kramer starring William Macy, Alec BaldwinMaria Bello cashed in $284,871 for a $4,070 per-screen average, down slightly from the previous weekend's $4,129. The total pot for the film, which garnered several Golden Globe nominations, stands at $678,555.

Fox Searchlight's "In America" added 99 screens, grossing $505,989 at 146 sites for a $3,466 average. The film, which recently led the Spirit Awards nominations, has cumed over $1.42 million.

Strand Releasing opened "The Hebrew Hammer" on eight screens, grossing $19,539 ($2,442 average), while First Run Features debuted "The Butterfly" at one site, taking $1,906.

Nathaniel Kahn's "My Architect" remained on two screens, taking in $16,185 for a sound $8,093 per-screen average. Last week's average was $11,415. Since release six weeks ago, the film has cumed
$278,713.

Focus Features' "Lost in Translation" surpassed the $3
million milestone over the weekend, screening at 130 sites, grossing $263,089 for a $2,024 per-screen average. The film, which recently received Golden Globe noms for best picture, best director, and best screenplay (Sofia Coppola), has been in theaters for 15 weeks.

French animated sensation "The Triplets of Belleville" added 9 sites for a total of 15, grossing $65,648 for a $4,377 average, down from $7,468 previously. The film has totaled $391,719 since release one month ago.

During the coming holiday week, Robert Altman's "The Company" debuts in theaters, while Newmarket Films will open Patty Jenkins' "Monster."

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