Focus Features' cowboy love story lassoed $2.5 million from 69 locations, averaging a potent $36,354 per site, raising the total to $3.5 million in 10 days.
Last weekend, Brokeback Mountain trumpeted a $109,485 average at five bustling theaters in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. It's natural for a picture's average to drop significantly as it adds smaller markets.
"The danger with distributing a movie like this is if you get ahead of it, you lose it," said Jack Foley, Focus' president of distribution. "We'll do what we have to do to meet the business capabilities and the demand. I'd love to see this movie in 2,000 theaters. I have no limits to how wide I want it to go."
Foley said that the expansion will be more aggressive than previously planned, with around 275 theaters set for Jan. 6 and about 400 for Jan. 13. The original intent was to be in 300 venues by the end of January.
Among Brokeback Mountain's encouraging numbers, Foley noted two theaters in conservative markets that Focus used as an experiment for the picture's crossover appeal: the AMC Yorktown 18 near Chicago and the Cinemark Legacy 24 in Plano, Texas—"one of the biggest grossing theaters in the nation for The Passion of the Christ," explained Foley. Brokeback Mountain ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the complexes, respectively. "[The movie] is playing to the smart set as well as the boomer set, the senior set and the gay community," Foley said.
Also in its second weekend, Memoirs of a Geisha rolled out to 52 theaters and attracted $1.3 million, or a decent $25,044 per site. Director Rob Marshal's $85 million adaptation of the bestseller of the same name expands to around 1,400 theaters on Friday.
Meanwhile, The Producers, the $45 million movie version of Mel Brooks' Broadway musical, itself adapted from Brooks' 1968 movie, was unimpressive. At six venues, the musical comedy drew $154,590, averaging a modest $25,765 per site. Distributor Universal Pictures will release the picture at over 1,000 locations on Christmas day.
• 12/18/05 - 'King Kong' Mighty But No Monster
• 12/12/05 - 'Brokeback Mountain' Rides High in Limited Release
• Review: 'Brokeback Mountain'
• Weekend Box Office Results
NOTE: This report was originally published on Sunday, Dec. 18 and was updated on Monday, Dec. 19 with actual grosses.