Miramax’s “Proof” calculated a winning position on the iW BOT.s list of specialty releases last weekend, taking a commanding lead following its limited roll out in over a half-dozen sites. Warner Independent Pictures. “Everything is Illuminated” scored the second position on the chart, as ranked on a per screen basis, leading (together with “Proof”) a pack of theatrical debuts, mostly from mini-majors, that dominated the iW BOT.s top ten for the weekend ending Sunday, September 18th. Fox Searchlight.s “Separate Lies” and Sony Pictures Classics. “Thumbsucker” debuted third and fourth respectively among the nearly 80 specialty titles reporting grosses. Warner Independent.s documentary juggernaut “March of the Penguins” once again took in the most money of a single title, while Miramax.s “An Unfinished Life” followed closely afterward on fewer screens.
[View the indieWIRE:BOT Box Office Table for this week’s films here.]
John Madden.s “Proof” debuted atop indieWIRE.s box office table list of specialty films in theatrical release. The feature opened on eight screens, grossing $193,840 with a $24,230 per site average, easily capturing the premiere position of the 78 titles listed this week.
“We.re very happy with the opening as the per screen average was very strong,” commented Miramax executive vice president, marketing Jason Cassidy responding to questions from indieWIRE Tuesday. “This shows that there is a significant audience on which we can build the film over the next few weeks.” Cassidy indicated that the audience skewed “slightly older,” and weighted female and well-educated. “These are the groups that can really help drive word-of-mouth on an upscale picture when they like it, as they do [with] ‘Proof..” Miramax will take the film to the top ten markets or about 80 screens. The company plans to increase it to about 250 screens on September 30th and increase further thereafter “depending on the performance of the picture.”
Liev Schreiber.s latest release, “Everything is Illuminated” took the chart.s second position, taking in $73,600 at six locations. The film averaged $12,267. “We are very pleased,” said Warner Independent.s executive vice president of distribution Steven Friedlander told indieWIRE Tuesday. “The audience response has been extremely positive [and] it was an eclectic crowd.” Friedlander indicated the film drew a heavy female audience over the weekend, but with a large age-range. “This was exactly what made this project so interesting, the fact that the book appealed to such a broad range of tastes.”
Warner Independent Pictures will take the film to six additional markets this week and will open in the top 40 markets in the next few weeks. Friedlander expects talk about the film to propel it further in the weeks ahead. “One of the best marketing tools this film has going for it is the tremendous word-of-mouth that will be generated by the early audiences.”
Julian Fellowes. “Separate Lies” played a pair of screens its first weekend in theatrical release. The Fox Searchlight film grossed $22,341 for an $11,171 per screen average, ranking third on the chart.
Sony Pictures Classics. “Thumbsucker,” meanwhile played nine locations, taking in $85,327 for a $9,481 site average. The film ranked fourth on the iW BOT.
In other weekend openers, New Yorker Films. “The Weeping Meadow” played one site, grossing $6,015, taking the fifth position on the iW BOT, while Aloha Releasing.s “G” opened on 42 screens, grossing $252,243 ($6,006 average). Picture This! Entertainment.s “Garçon Stupide” played three screens with $17,195 ($5,732 average), while Regent Releasing.s “Hellbent” took $45,047 from ten locations ($4,505 average). Cinema Libre.s “The Future of Food” grossed $8,721 from two locations ($4,361 average), while First Run Features. “One Bright Shining Moment: The Forgotten Summer of George McGovern” took in $2,876 from one screen and Picturehouse.s “The Thing About My Folks” grossed $235,341 from 93 screens ($2,531 average).
As has been the case for most of the summer, Warner Independent Pictures. “March of the Penguins” grossed the highest amount of absolute money on the chart, this week taking in over $2.5 million on 1,876 screens. The film.s $1,342 per screen average actually increased by 18% from the week prior, although the film had over 500 fewer screens. “Penguins”.s 14-week cume is just under $70.4 million.
Miramax.s “An Unfinished Life” took in the second highest amount of money, grossing just over $2 million on 753 screens. The film averaged $2,725 and its two-week cume is over $3.3 million.
Both “March of the Penguins” and “An Unfinished Life” represented about 58% of the entire specialty box office.s combined weekend gross of just under $7.8 million on 4,601 screens. The previous week, 74 titles took in about $6.8 million on 4,788 screens. This week.s iW BOT average culled from the 78 titles reporting grosses increased 16% from a week earlier to $1,695. Factoring out “Penguins” and “Life,” the chart.s remaining 76 films averaged just 3% below the overall iW BOT average.
Industry-wide, 122 films grossed $85.1 million on 41,558 screens, averaging $2,048, or 17% above the iW BOT average.
Wellspring will open “Dear Wendy,” and First Look will debut “Dirty Love” this coming weekend. 1080 will release “Dorian Blues” and New Line will open “A History of Violence.” Also opening is Slow Hand Releasing’s “Into the Fire.”