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Arthouse Audit: 'Black Swan' Flies Higher

by Ray Subers
Black Swan
 

 
December 13, 2010

On a weekend when two high-profile nationwide releases, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Tourist, disappointed, there was hope to be found on the arthouse scene. Black Swan expanded from 18 to 90 locations and grossed an spectacular $3.3 million, while The King's Speech continued to impress and The Fighter had one of the best limited debuts of the year.

Black Swan's $3.3 million was good for sixth on the overall weekend chart, placing it ahead of movies like Burlesque and Love and Other Drugs, both of which were playing at over 2,000 locations. Its per-theater average of $36,726 was higher than the second weekend figure for last year's similarly-scheduled Up in the Air, even though the George Clooney movie was playing at fewer venues. One movie it did continue to lag behind, however, was Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, which averaged slightly less in twice as many theaters in its second weekend. Black Swan has made $5.6 million in ten days, and distributor Fox Searchlight has elected to move up the nationwide expansion to this Friday, hitting an estimated 900 locations.

While Black Swan was surging, another Fox Searchlight movie, 127 Hours, was fading. The Danny Boyle-James Franco movie dipped 38 percent to just over $1 million at 416 venues. It would likely take a serious boost in awards season buzz for Searchlight to deem the movie worthy of further expansion. Since opening at the beginning of November, 127 Hours has made nearly $8.3 million.

The King's Speech expanded from six to 19 locations and grossed $591,818, which was its best tally so far. Its per-theater average of $31,148 compared nicely to similar movie The Queen, which averaged $36,543 at 11 theaters in its second weekend. The King's Speech has earned $1.5 million and will likely continue to gradually expand in to January.

Fair Game fell 43 percent to $555,618 for a total of $8.2 million. While it opened higher than 127 Hours on the same weekend, 127 Hours finally passed it on Sunday.

The Fighter opened to $300,010 at four locations for a per-theater average of $75,003. That's the third-best average of the year, behind The King's Speech and Black Swan, and second highest-grossing ever at four venues. The Mark Wahlberg-Christian Bale boxing drama expands to around 2,200 theaters this weekend.

Bollywood comedy No Problem didn't live up to its name, opening to just $242,116 at 84 locations for one of the worst Bollywood starts of the year. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest also continued to show signs of fatigue, falling 36 percent to $155,719. Its $4.7 million total now trails predecessor The Girl Who Played with Fire by over $1 million through the same point.

After a decent start last weekend, I Love You, Phillip Morris expanded to 35 locations and earned $153,122. Its $4,375 per-theater average was not encouraging.

Aside from The Fighter, the rest of the new limited releases struggled. Julie Taymor's The Tempest earned just $42,436 at five locations for a miserable per-theater average of $8,487. That was way off from The Merchant of Venice, which averaged $17,467 at four locations back in 2006. Sticking with disappointing adaptations, Hemingway's Garden of Eden notched a meager $12,404 at 14 locations for an average of $886.

Halle Berry drama Frankie & Alice grossed $7,768 at one location in Los Angeles as part of its Academy-qualifying run (it's official opening in Feb. 4). IFC documentaries And Everything Is Going Fine and Shoah each opened at one location and earned $7,035 and $2,874, respectively. Also playing at one theater, comedy/drama You Won't Miss Me made a measly $2,240.

Last Arthouse Audit
'Black Swan' Soars

Related Story
Weekend Report: 'Narnia' Fails to Tread Water, 'Tourist' Trips



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