By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 8, 2009 at 5:11AM
Six new specialty films reported numbers this first weekend of March, according to estimates provided by Rentrak early this afternoon. Liberation Entertainment's anthology "Tokyo!", co-directed by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-ho Bong, led the way with a stellar showing at New York's Sunshine Cinemas. The film grossed $21,500 on its sole screen. That's comparable to First Look's similar ode to a city, "Paris, Je T'aime," which averaged $19,621 from 2 screens in May 2007.
"Tokyo!"s average essentially doubled its closest reporting competition, Carlos Saura’s “Fados." Formerly a New Yorker Films release, "Fados" was released through Zeitgeist Films after its initial distributor ceased operations, and found a promising $11,000 gross at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. That narrowly beat out Mark Webber's "Explicit I'LLS," which stars Rosario Dawson and Paul Dano. "I'LLS," released through Peace Arch, grossed an estimated $9,600 on a single screen.
Opening on a relatively wide 5 screens, IFC Films' release of "Everlasting Moments" also found decent numbers, grossing $41,500. The Jan Troell-directed film averaged $8,300.
Not faring as well was another foreign-language entry, Nikita Mikhalkov's "12", which was also released on 5 sceens. The Sony Pictures Classics release, nominated for an Academy Award last year for best foreign language film, grossed $12,976 over the weekend for a weak $2,595 average. Since opening on Wednesday, the film has totaled $14,134.
Finally, ThinkFilm's "Pheobe in Wonderland" had the distinction of being the widest of the new releases, and the one with the lowest per-theater-average. The Daniel Barnz directed film, which screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, grossed just $26,311 from 11 screens, averaging $2,392.
Among holdovers, two films continued to excel in their fourth weekends out. James Gray's "Two Lovers," now on 93 screens, grossed another $380,000 for Magnolia Pictures. That takes its cume to $1,085,647, making it the highest grossing 2009 limited release thus far. Technically, Laurent Cantet's "The Class" is a 2008 release due to its December Oscar qualifying run. But its four weeks of traditional theatrical release has come in 2009, where it added another $308,176 this weekend on 88 screens. That allowed for a $3,502 PTA, bringing the Sony Pictures Classics' film's total to an exceptional $2,031,892.
Finally, Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire" continued to ride the Oscar wave in its 17th weekend of release. Finding itself in the overall top five once again, the 8-time Oscar winner grossed $6,925,000, taking its total to $125,441,000. Its just a million dollars away from surpassing "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"'s gross and becoming the highest grossing of the best picture nominees, and $18 million away from taking out "Juno" as Fox Searchlight's highest grossing release.
indieWIRE:BOT tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at email@example.com by the end of the day each Monday.