Audiences didn’t heed the title of Miramax’s “Benefit of the Doubt,” rejecting the Donald Sutherland-starrer as one of the few new exclusive entries in the marketplace.

Film earned $ 8,858 in first weekend at three Los Angeles locations plus $ 8, 539 at three Manhattan venues.

A better performance was recorded by Goldwyn’s documentary “Road Scholar,” which started with $ 8,335 at a single N.Y. site.

IRS Releasing/Trans Atlantic Entertainment’s “The Music of Chance” bowed in L.A. for a decent $ 10,694 at two houses, while continuing its New York run.

Two films already released elsewhere made it to L.A. at one screen each with modest results: Trimark’s imported shocker “Dead Alive” with $ 7,713, and Arrow Releasing’s “Family Prayers” at $ 1,358.

Los Angeles

“Dead Alive” (Trimark) scared up an OK $ 7,713 in first weekend at Landmark Nuart. “The Music of Chance” (IRS/TAE) opened for a fair $ 5,056 first weekend at Landmark Goldwyn Pavilion; $ 5,638 in same at Laemmle Sunset 5. “Benefit of the Doubt” (Miramax) debuted with a slow $ 3,144 first weekend at Mann Westwood Fourplex; $ 2,908 in same at Cineplex Century Plaza; $ 2,806 ditto at Cineplex Beverly Center. “Chain of Desire” (Mad Dog Pictures) moved over for $ 3,119 in its first weekend at Cineplex Beverly Center after two weeks at Landmark Nuart. “Family Prayers” (Arrow) started with a weak $ 1,358 first weekend at Cineplex Fairfax. “Orlando” (Sony Pictures Classics) off 13% to $ 18,165 in fourth weekend at Laemmle Royal. “Un Coeur en Hiver” (October Films) steady (minus 4%) with $ 7,471 in fifth weekend at Laemmle Music Hall. “Equinox” (IRS Releasing/TAE) minus 32% to $ 3,614 in fifth weekend at Laemmle Sunset 5; $ 3, 398 in first weekend at Landmark Nuwilshire. “Legend of Fong Sai-Yuk” (Rim Film Distributors) dipped 26% to $ 4,266 in second weekend at Laemmle Monica. “The Story of Qiu Ju” (Sony Pictures Classics) plus 39% to $ 3,594 in fourth weekend at Laemmle Monica. “Wide Sargasso Sea” (Fine Line) improved 39% to $ 3,305 in fifth weekend at Cineplex Beverly Center.

New York

“Road Scholar” (Goldwyn) opened for a nice $ 8,635 first weekend at Carnegie Hall Cinema. “Benefit of the Doubt” preemed for a slight $ 3,267 first weekend at Village East; $ 3,116 in same at 59th St. East; $ 2,156 in same at Worldwide. “Orlando” minus 29% to $ 22,622 in sixth weekend at Angelika; down 35% to $ 17, 560 in same at Lincoln Plaza. “Un Coeur en Hiver” off 16% to $ 10,206 in seventh weekend at Lincoln Plaza; down 29% to $ 5,034 in sixth weekend at Village East. “Beware of a Holy Whore” (Leisure Time Features) (reissue) lost 30% to $ 5,737 in second weekend at Angelika 6. “Hard Boiled” (Rim Film Distributors) minus 12% to $ 4,727 in fifth and final weekend at Cinema Village. “Barjo, Confessions of a Crap Artist” (Myriad Pictures) off 23% to $ 4,538 in second weekend at Film Forum. “Jacquot” (Sony Pictures Classics) lost 28% to $ 4,378 in fourth weekend at Lincoln Plaza. “The Music of Chance” off 4% to $ 3, 837 in seventh weekend at Paris Fine Arts. “Romper Stomper” (Academy) down 7% to $ 3,531 in sixth weekend at Film Forum. “For a Lost Soldier” (Strand) minus 27% to $ 3,344 in 11th weekend at Quad. “American Heart” (Triton) fell 40% to $ 3,304 in 10th weekend at Village East. “The Story of Qiu Ju” down 29% to $ 2, 237 in fourth weekend at Angelika 57; minus 41% to $ 3,429 in sixth weekend at Village East. “Chain of Desire” down 21% to $ 3,247 in fourth weekend at Village East; off 20% to $ 1,738 in same at 57th St. Playhouse. “Brother’s Keeper” (Creative Thinking) off 28% to $ 2,296 in fifth weekend at Quad. “Visions of Light” (Kino) lost 36% to $ 2,222 in eighth weekend at Quad. “Indochine” (Sony Pictures Classics) lost 32% to $ 1,867 in sixth weekend at Worldwide. “House of Cards” (Miramax) dropped 48% to $ 1,235 in fourth weekend at Plaza.

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