Arthouse Audit: 'Girl' Stays Hot, 'Middle Men,' 'Flipped' Disappoint

by Ray Subers
The Girl Who Played with Fire

August 9, 2010

For the second straight weekend, The Girl Who Played with Fire led all specialty releases. This was less due to its own strength and instead a result of disappointing debuts from a set of high-profile new entries, including Middle Men and Flipped.

The Girl Who Played with Fire held well again, off 13 percent to $471,459. Through its fifth weekend, it has grossed $4.56 million, and, while that's still more than its predecessor The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had made at the same point, the gap narrowed.

Middle Men, which is based on a true story about the founding of the online porn industry, made just $325,641 at 252 locations, translating to a poor per site average of $1,292. Distributor Paramount Vantage currently has the movie scheduled to expand on Aug. 20, though weak initial attendance often thwarts such plans.

Showing little signs of fatigue, Winter's Bone was down only four percent to $296,753. In nearly two months in theaters, the Sundance favorite has earned $4.48 million.

Rob Reiner's nostalgic Flipped debuted to $224,233 in 45 theaters, averaging a modest $4,983 per site. To put this in perspective, Mr. Reiner's past nostalgia movie, Stand by Me, made more when it opened at 16 theaters 24 years ago. Distributor Warner Bros. currently has Flipped scheduled for a nationwide expansion on Aug. 27.

Get Low added 22 theaters and was up 149 percent to $219,124, though its per site average sank. In 10 days, the Robert Duvall-Bill Murray comedy has earned $350,336.

While both Middle Men and Flipped underperformed, the real loser this weekend was Joel Schumacher's Twelve, which opened to a meager $110,238 at 231 theaters. It's per site average of $477 was the worst for any movie opening in more than three locations since Transylmania bombed last December.

A handful of much smaller movies also debuted this weekend. Documentary The Wildest Dream debuted to a decent $67,848 at 12 locations. IFC's Cairo Time, starring Patricia Clarkson, opened to $66,245 at five sites for the best per theater average ($13,249) of all new releases. Thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed earned $40,258 at 10 locations, while war drama Lebanon made $17,145 at two venues. Since opening Wednesday, The Sicilian Girl has grossed $9,054 at one location. Finally, Brotherhood (Broderskab) and The Oxford Murders (starring Elijah Wood) each opened at one theater, earning $2,341 and $1,191, respectively.

Last Arthouse Audit
With 'Kids' Gone Wide, 'Girl' Lights Up

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