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Specialty Box Office: “Biutiful” Opening Weekend

With the Oscars approaching, independent films are making aggressive pushes to capitalize on the added award buzz. Roadside Attractions released Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful in 57 theaters grossing a respectable $8,088 average. It will most likely expand the film passed the 100 theater mark this coming weekend in preparation for Javier Bardem’s Oscar nomination. “Biutiful” is Iñárritu’s first feature film directorial effort since “Babel” and is the frontrunner in the Academy’s Best Foreign Language category.

Weekend Box Office: January 28th through the 30th

With the Oscars approaching, independent films are making aggressive pushes to capitalize on the added award buzz. Roadside Attractions released Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Biutiful in 57 theaters grossing a respectable $8,088 average. It will most likely expand the film passed the 100 theater mark this coming weekend in preparation for Javier Bardem’s Oscar nomination. “Biutiful” is Iñárritu’s first feature film directorial effort since “Babel” and is the frontrunner in the Academy’s Best Foreign Language category.

Gregg Araki’s Kaboom is the first 2011 Sundance alumnus to debut theatrically, and it did not disappoint distributer IFC Films. The $13,700 average in one location is a promising start to the sci-fi film about everyday dorm-life turned upside down. IFC Films will also be releasing “The Other Woman” this weekend as it attempts to cash in on the lead actress Natalie Portman’s bankability this Oscar season.

U.S Indie:
As with many other specialty films, “Blue Valentine” expanded this past weekend and managed to make a 33.1% increase in grosses despite a low $2,814 average. The film has now eclipsed the $6 million mark and has been an unlikely financial hit for The Weinstein Company (with the film’s paltry $1 million budget). Michelle Williams is also up for a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in “Valentine.”

In its ninth week, “Black Swan” eclipsed the $90 million mark on its way to becoming an unforeseen cash cow for distributor Fox Searchlight. It isn’t often that the words “Darren Aronofsky” and “box office smash” are used in the same sentence, but with another week in the box office top ten, “Swan” is performing stronger than ever. The $2,203 average isn’t much, but 2,315 locations with a very small weekly decline certainly are promising.

With a wide release this past weekend, “127 Hours” is again relevant in its 13th week. Fox Searchlight expanded the film back into 916 locations and is hoping to make a final push after six Oscar nominations were announced for “Hours.” Danny Boyle is noticeably absent from the list of nominations, but things still look good financially for the film’s resurgence after a strong $2 million showing at the box office last weekend.

The bright spot in Sony Classics’ future is the decent showing of “Barney’s Version” as it expanded to 39 theaters. It maintained a healthy $6,436 average with a 75.5% increase from a couple weeks ago. Paul Giamatti didn’t follow up his Golden Globe success with an Oscar nomination for Best actor, but his performance has clearly fueled the film’s expansion and could help give Sony Classics a good return on its investment.

World Cinema:
The Weinstein Company continued its expansion of “The King’s Speech” as it pushed its way into 2,557 theaters. With a 41.3% increase, “Speech” is by far the most promising film in the box office top ten (averaging $4,342). A little under $400,000 separated “Speech” from being third instead of fifth on the charts, but nothing separated “Speech” director Tom Hooper from upsetting David Fincher in taking home Best Director honors at the Directors Guild of America awards this past weekend.

The Illusionist” expanded to the 25 locations this past weekend and managed to gross a solid $136,000. The animated French film also made it into the final list of Oscar nominations for Best Animated film and has received some due credit in a very tough category (despite the presumed domination of “Toy Story 3”). With a $5,440 average, the film could gain some momentum in the next few weeks as word of mouth spreads.

Specialty Box Office Top 5

# Title Theaters Weeks Weekend Total Distributor
1 The King’s Speech 2,557 10 $11.1M $72.2M The Weinstein Co.
2 Black Swan 2,315 9 $5.1M $90.7M Fox Searchlight
3 127 Hours 916 13 $2.0M $13.4M Fox Searchlight
4 Blue Valentine 415 5 $1.1M $6.0M The Weinstein Co.
5 The Company Men 211 2 $0.6M $1.5M The Weinstein Co.

 

Studio:
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Box Office Top 10

# Title Theaters Weeks Weekend Total Distributor
1 The Rite 2,985 1 $15.0M $15.0M Warner Bros.
2 No Strings Attached 3,022 2 $13.6M $39.7M Paramount
3 The Mechanic 2,703 1 $11.5M $11.5M CBS Films
4 The Green Hornet 3,524 3 $11.5M $78.8M Sony
5 The King’s Speech 2,557 10 $11.1M $72.2M The Weinstein Co.
6 True Grit 3,120 6 $7.6M $148.3M Paramount
7 The Dilemma 2,901 3 $5.4M $40.6M Universal
8 Black Swan 2,315 9 $5.1M $90.7M Fox Searchlight
9 The Fighter 1,914 8 $4.0M $78.3M Paramount
10 Yogi Bear 2,133 7 $3.1M $92.5M Warner Bros.

 

Next Weekend:
The Other Woman, Cold Weather, The Roommate, Sanctum

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