Arthouse Audit: 'Blue Valentine' Trumps 'Nada,' 'Biutiful'
Thanks mostly to another significant expansion, Blue Valentine barely held off newcomer From Prada to Nada to lead the arthouse field for a fourth straight weekend. The weekend's other significant new limited release was Biutiful, which leveraged it's multiple Oscar nominations to decent initial results.

After scoring an Oscar nomination for Michelle Williams' lead performance, Blue Valentine expanded to 415 locations and was up 35 percent to $1.19 million. Its per-theater average of $2,858 was its lowest yet, though, and it appears to have reached market saturation. Since opening at the end of December, the romantic drama has earned $6.06 million.

From Prada to Nada pulled in $1.12 million at 256 locations in 21 markets to debut just behind Blue Valentine. The movie registered an underwhelming $4,358 per-theater average, and no expansion is currently planned. Distributor Lionsgate's exit polling indicated that 71 percent of the audience was Latino and 70 percent was female.

After getting shut out from the Oscar nominations, The Company Men still doubled its location count but was only up three percent to $665,402. The Ben Affleck-Tommy Lee Jones recession drama has grossed $1.55 million thus far.

Biutiful received Oscar nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor (Javier Bardem), and then opened to $456,930 at 59 locations. While this debut was far from earth-shattering, it actually managed to be the top foreign language debut in nearly three years outside of Bollywood movies and the Millennium series. With a total of $619,240 (including its Oscar qualifying runs), Biutiful is set to expand to around 200 locations next weekend with marketing targeted towards Latino audiences.

Another Year doubled its location count to 91 and was up 48 percent to $309,097. Writer-director Mike Leigh's drama, which scored an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay, has so far made $1.1 million.

A few other movies with major Oscar nominations occupied spots further down the chart. Rabbit Hole, which earned Nicole Kidman a nod for Best Actress, was off three percent to $172,086 for a total of $1.53 million. Best Animated Feature nominee The Illusionist added ten locations and was up 66 percent to $133,988, while Best Documentary nominee Inside Job expanded back to 250 locations and grossed $115,832 (for a weak $463 per-theater average).

While the focus this weekend was on the Oscar nominees, a handful of new limited releases fared decently as well. Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster debuted to $61,057 at 20 locations, and Gregg Araki's sci-fi sex comedy Kaboom yielded the weekend's best per-theater average by opening to $13,714 at one venue. Foreign movies When We Leave (Die Fremde) and Rage (Rabia) grossed $6,018 at two locations and $952 at one theater, respectively.

Last Arthouse Audit

'Company Men' Can't Beat 'Blue Valentine'

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