By Indiewire | Indiewire September 30, 2003 at 2:00AM
"Yossi & Jagger" Ambushes the BOT; "Bubba Ho-Tep" "To Be and To Have," and "Translation" Remain Robust
by Brian Brooks
Gay Israeli army pic "Yossi & Jagger" stormed its way into the box office over the weekend with the highest per screen average and a first place position on the iW: BOT. The film, on one screen, beat out last week's number one film, "Scarface," which remained strong at number two. Also continuing to sing its way to the bank is comedy/thriller "Bubba Ho-Tep," remaining robust in its second weekend in theaters. "Lost in Translation" remained solid as it opened wider and "Step into Liquid" continued to ride the big cash wave two months in release.
The true story of two Israeli officers who hid their affair from fellow soldiers managed to bank some collateral damage to the competition over the weekend, opening at the Film Forum in New York last Wednesday. For the weekend, the film, released by Strand, grossed $19,395 and has cumed $26,570. Long queues formed for the film's screenings at Film Forum, and the feature was the theater's biggest grosser by far.
Focus Features continued to inflict box office shock of its own with its re-release of "Scarface." Now in 12 sites (down from 13 last week), "Scarface" took in $194,497 for a robust $16,208 per screen average, down only a little from last week's $18,679. The film has so far cumed $656,161.
Vitagraph's release of "Bubba Ho-Tep" remained a vigorous ticket seller, capturing the third place on the iW BOT with a $47,011 gross on three screens, up one from its debut weekend. The cult thriller maintained a strong per screen average of $15,670, down slightly from its debut average of $17,818 and has totaled $108,586. "It's great. [The film] did about $32,000 [at the Anjelika in New York], I don't know what else did that on one screen. It's a [tribute] to Don Coscarelli and Bruce Campbell and the writer [Joe R. Lansdale]," said Vitagraph's head David Shultz in a conversation with indieWIRE.
Shultz attributed some of the film's drawing power to people interested in work by Coscarelli and Campbell, but added, "the film has much more of an appeal. It's a social satire on aging, so the film has its own signature [and] without a doubt, there's nothing else like it. It's going to grow." Shultz went on to describe the film as not 'just a horror film,' but called it "the new millennium version of 'Cocoon' [by Ron Howard]."
Next week, the film will be on four screens in L.A. and New York, in addition to their current runs in Seattle and Portland. "Bubba Ho-Tep" will open October 10 in San Francisco, followed by additional openings throughout the Bay Area later in the month as well as Chicago, Detroit and Boston on October 17th and Austin on October 24th.
New Yorker Films' French doc "To Be and to Have" remained in three theaters in its second weekend outgrossing $25,233 ($8,411 average) for a fourth place position on the iW BOT. The film has cumed $65,340.
"Lost in Translation" maintained its fantastic rapport with the box office as it increased its number of sites from the previous week's 183 to 488 over the weekend. The Sofia Coppola directed feature grossed just under $3.7 million for a per screen average of $7,558 and a fifth place on the chart. As of yesterday's report of the numbers from Focus Features, the film had cumed over $8.6 million. In New York, "Lost in Translation" was the top earner at the Lincoln Square, Kipps Bay and Chelsea 11 cinemas.
ThinkFilm released Philip Saville's "Gospel of John" on fourteen screens, grossing $98,363. The film's average was $7,026.
Sony Classics opened "My Life Without Me" in seven venues taking in $40,515 (a $5,788 average). Magnolia Pictures opened "Bollywood/Hollywood" over the weekend as well, but did not report grosses for the title. Distributors typically send figures to indieWIRE by 6pm ET to be included in this weekly column.
Palm Pictures' "demonlover" played in 12 sites (up from eight its opening weekend), grossing $44,644 its second weekend out (a $3,720 average). The film, by French director Olivier Assayas has cleared $104,659 at the box office.
Strand Releasing's "Party Monster" has mellowed a bit in its fifth weekend on screens. The film grossed $39,820 ($3,318 average) for a cume of $439,872.
Now two months in theaters, "Step into Liquid" passed the $3 million mark with a cume over $3.1 million. Playing 87 sites, the film grossed $148,259 for a $1,704 average.
Next weekend, look for openings from Thom Fitzgerald's "The Event," Lab Ky Mo's "Nine Dead Gay Guys," Tom McCarthy's Sundance winner, "The Station Agent," and James Cox's "Wonderland." Rialto Pictures will also re-release "The Battle of Algiers" by Gillo Pontecorvo in New York, L.A. and other select cities.