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2011 Attendance Up at Indie Alamo and Landmark Chains; Top Ten Performers

2011 Attendance Up at Indie Alamo and Landmark Chains; Top Ten Performers

While the studios still chase after the increasingly fickle youth audience, indie theater chains successfully pulled filmgoers in 2011–without relying on 3-D premium ticket pricing. In fact, both the Alamo Drafthouse  and Landmark indie chains announce that their national box office was up in 2011, as opposed to the studios’ 3.4% drop in domestic box office. Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas’ domestic box office sales increased for 2011, up 2.6% over 2010 sales, while Landmark’s was up by 4 % over what had been their biggest year, 2010, making 2011 their highest-grossing year ever. Here are the top 30 indie domestic grossers.

The established Landmark chain thrives on a smartly booked mix of indie and adult-oriented studio releases on 297 screens in 63 theatres across 17 states, while the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas combine dinner, drinks and films under one roof. Their 65 screens in 11 Texas locations, including 5 in Austin, and one in Kemstown, Virginia, cater to a younger male demo, as you can see from their top ten performers below.

The big difference between this year and last was that the last quarter did not dominate as it did in 2010 with “Black Swan,” “The King’s Speech” and “127 Hours.” “The uptick was based on how the films were released,” says Landmark’s Ted Mundorff. “We didn’t have to rely on the fourth quarter. This year was a 52-week business, led by ‘Midnight in Paris’ and ‘The Tree of Life’ in May. Who says you can’t program aginst the summer blockbusters?”

Two smaller art-house hits went out in March, “Jane Eyre” and “Win Win.” Also released during the summer were “The Guard” and “Sarah’s Key.”  (Some of the fall and winter titles could wind up with much higher numbers by the end of their runs.) “People continue to want to see smart films all year,” adds Mundorff.

The top 10 grossing titles for Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas for 2011 include holdovers from the holiday 2010 season (while the chain is expanding, these numbers are based on the same number of thetares for 2010 and 2011):

1. “The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Co. holdover)
2. “True Grit” ( Paramount holdover)
3.  “Bridesmaids” (Universal)
4.  “The Hangover Part II” (Warner Bros.)
5.  “Super 8” (Paramount)
6.  “The Help” (Disney/DreamWorks)
7.  “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part Two” 2-D (WB)
8. “The Muppets” (Disney)
9. “The Tree of Life” (Fox Searchlight)
10. “Thor 3-D” (Paramount)

While the Landmark top ten is for 2011 titles alone (their holdovers would have also been “The King’s Speech” plus “Black Swan” and “127 Hours”):

1. “Midnight in Paris” (Sony Pictures Classics)
2. “The Tree of Life” (Sox Searchlight)
3. “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight)
4. “Jane Eyre” (Focus Features)
5. “Win Win” (Fox Searchlight)
6. “Beginners” (Focus Features)
7. “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Focus Features)
8. “The Guard” (Sony PIctures Classics)
9. “Sarah’s Key” (TWC)
10. “The Artist” (TWC)


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