For this WSJ.com post, I address the question on the minds of specialty biz players: Can ‘Black Swan’ and ‘The King’s Speech’ find mainstream appeal? The short answer: It’s too early to tell. The long answer: Fox Searchlight distribution execs feel like “Black Swan’s” opening numbers and sell-outs across its eight markets suggest it’s already crossing over, and should keep up the pace. For “King’s Speech,” the initial sales are amazing, but six theaters alone isn’t a harbinger of anything. Case in point: Fox Searchlight’s other Oscar contender “127 Hours” opened five weeks ago with a stellar per-venue average of $66,213 in four locations, but it’s momentum appears to be slowing as it expands.
From the story: “History has shown that [limited release returns] are not necessarily indicative of mainstream appeal,” said Brandon Gray, President of Box Office Mojo, via email. “It’s not terribly difficult for a high-profile release to score big numbers per theater in limited release,” he explains. “It’s important to note that they score these numbers by showing at the theaters that are the most conducive to high grosses.”