By Indiewire | Indiewire June 15, 2005 at 2:00AM
THINKFilm's Ozon Debut Tops a Cash-strapped Specialty Box office
by Brian Brooks
THINKFilm opener "5X2" mounted the specialty box office chart, debuting in a pair of New York theaters over the weekend. Specialty releases continued their funk, performing at the blasé pace that has been de rigueur for much of the last month, although there was some gain in momentum over last week. Following on the heels of "5X2" was Arrival Pictures' "The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam," which placed second on the iW BOT, ranked on a per screen basis, while First Run Features' Spanish feature, "Torremolinos '73" showed some gusto in third place, now well into its second month in release. Paramount Classics' doc "Mad Hot Ballroom," meanwhile, continued its reign as the chart's largest single earner following another expansions.
Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's animated film "Howl's Moving Castle" opened solidly at 36 sites over the weekend with an $11,889 per screen average. "Howl" would've placed first on the chart, but the film's distributor, Buena Vista, is firmly rooted in the studio system. The film grossed $427,987.
François Ozon's latest film, "5X2" took the lead placement on the iW BOT, opening at two locations, grossing $15,667 for a $7,834 per screen average. The film is the second French feature in as many weeks to top the chart, following the debut of "Apres Vous" last week.
"First place at both theaters [the film is playing] leaves me with nothing to complain about," commented THINKFilm's U.S. head, Mark Urman, who is currently attending the CineVegas Film Festival, told indieWIRE Monday evening. "5X2" is somewhat of a departure from the company's more recent documentary-heavy roster, but Urman quipped that the film is a nice fit for THINK. "It's exactly like all our movies, it's good!" Urman praised the film for offering an adult storyline in a market dominated by the usual summer blockbusters, and said he believes Ozon loyalists will turn up en force to see the French director's latest feature. "Ozon now has an audience of his own, and it's a film about grown-ups. Name five [similar films] on screen all summer!
THINKFilm will open "5X2" in Los Angeles next, and expects the film to remain a summer fixture in theaters. "This is a film with staying power," said Urman. "It will be around all summer."
In other weekend debuts, Arrival Pictures' "The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam" placed second on the iW BOT with a $7,310 average, after opening on one screen, while self-distributed gay comedy "Slutty Summer" by Casper Andreas ranked sixth with $5,094 from one New York City venue. Wellspring's "Wild Side" also opened on one screen, taking in $4,268, and UTV Communications' "Parineeta" screened 50 sites, grossing $201,956 for a $4,039 average. Fine Line's "The Bridge of San Luis Rey" opened six screens, grossing $21,281 for a $3,547 average, and Indican's "Pure" played a pair of screens with a $2,577 average ($5,154 gross). Finally, Cinema Libre summoned "McLibel" at one venue, settling for $1,821.
Paramount Classics delivered more dates for its Slamdance doc "Mad Hot Ballroom," adding 30 screens. The film grossed $405,192 at 126 locations, averaging $3,216, 11% lower than last week. "Ballroom," last weekend's largest single earner, has cumed over $1.72 million in five weeks.
The weekend's second largest grosser, "Ladies in Lavender" from Roadside Attractions, took in $291,347 from 96 locations, a screen count unchanged from the previous week. "Ladies" averaged $3,035, a drop of under 8%, and its seven week cume over $2.52 million.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Layer Cake" once again took the title of third highest grossing film, taking in $253,691 from 196 screens, a decrease of four. "Layer Cake" averaged $1,294, a drop of about 25%, and the film's five-week total is over $1.56 million.
The combined grosses for "Mad Hot Ballroom," "Ladies in Lavender," and "Layer Cake" represented about 45% of the weekend's iW BOT gross of just over $2.122 million. Seventy-seven films screened at 1,168 locations, a drop from last week's 1,228, although the iW BOT's overall screen average increased by 11% to $1,818 ($1,628 previously). Factoring out the top three earners from the chart, the remaining 74 titles grossed over $1.172 million on 750 screens, averaging $1,563 or 14% below the iW BOT's weekend average.
In the same weekend of 2004, the iW BOT had a loftier $2,598 average, helped in part by the opening of indie dynamo "Napoleon Dynamite," which played six screens with a $19,444 per site average. Industry-wide, 124 films screened just over 35,300 sites around North America, grossing over $144 million for a $4,075 average, a slight drop of 4%.
This weekend, Sony Pictures Classics will open "Heights," while IFC Films debuts "Me and You and Everyone We Know." Focus Features will roll out "My Summer of Love," and Daddy W Productions opens "The Talent Given Us."