“The Chorus” Tunes into a Box Office Score; Smaller “indies” Collectively Win b.o. Average Race
by Brian Brooks
Miramax hit a high note for the second time in a month with the release of Christophe Barratier‘s “Les Choristes” (The Chorus) on a pair of screens over the weekend, taking the specialty box office throne for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The troubled distributor again soared with the weekend’s highest grossing film, “The Aviator,” which took the best picture drama prize at the Golden Globes. Sony Classics‘ “Merchant of Venice,” meanwhile, placed second on the iW BOT as measured on a per screen basis, while “Hotel Rwanda” landed in the third position after a large expansion. Five films saw seven-figure weekend grosses, although the per site average for all 39 remaining iW BOT films out-performed the “big indies.”
French production “Les Choristes” debuted on two screens over the weekend, taking the premiere position on the chart with an $11,620 per screen average. The film, which received a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign-language film, grossed $23,239.
Sony Classics’ “Merchant of Venice” added 11 sites, taking in $145,250 on 15 screens. The feature averaged $9,683, down 21% from the previous week. In five weeks, the film has cumed $335,278.
United Artists opened “Hotel Rwanda” on 87 more additional screens, placing third on the chart with a $9,440 average ($11,155 last week, a 15% drop). “Rwanda” was one of five films scoring more than seven-figures over the weekend with a gross of over $1.8 million. The film’s one month total is nearing $4 million.
THINKFilm‘s “Born into Brothels” once again added momentum to its exclusive Film Forum engagement in New York. The doc took in $8,370 during the weekend, up over 10% from the previous weekend. “Brothels” has brought in $79,465 in five weeks.
Golden Globe best comedy, “Sideways” rounded out the top five on iW BOT, taking in over $2.75 million on 366 screens, one more then reported last week. The Alexander Payne directed feature set in the Central California wine region averaged $7,514, a 30% increase over last week’s $5,226 and has cumed over $28.63 million in 3 1/2 months.
Wellspring‘s Sundance 2004 doc “Tarnation” placed tenth on the chart in its 15th weekend of release, taking in $3,880 on one Manhattan screen. The film, directed by Jonathan Caouette, passed the half-million mark.
Martin Scorsese‘s “The Aviator” once again grossed the most money of any offering on the iW BOT, taking in over $6.35 million on a wide 1,956 screens ($3,246 average), representing about one-third of the entire indie take. The film, which also garnered a best actor Golden Globe for Leonardo DiCaprio, has cumed nearly $51.3 million.
Also once again in the “indie big leagues” were Miramax’s “Finding Neverland” and Sony Classics’ “House of Flying Daggers.” The former took in nearly $2.3 million on 1,000 screens ($30.9 million 10 week cume), while “Daggers” grossed over $2.26 million on 1,189 screens (a nearly $17.5 million seven-week total).
“The Aviator” along with “Finding Neverland” and “House of Flying Daggers” as well as “Hotel Rwanda” and “Sideways” represented a lopsided 71% of the entire ‘indie’ gross of nearly $18.77 million. Overall, the iW BOT averaged $3,026, a 5% decline from the previous week. The 39 films that did not reach seven-figure grosses over the weekend, however, collectively averaged $3,576 calculated from a $5.363 million take on 1,500 screens.
Debuting this weekend in limited release is Regent Releasing‘s “Beautiful Boxer,” Strand Releasing‘s “Head-On,” and Kino International‘s “Watermarks.”