Distrib will release pic in Theron's hometown

JOHANNESBURG — Charlize Theron’s Oscar-winning role is driving “Monster” to unprecedented B.O. success for a small arthouse film in South Africa.

Monster earned nearly $210,874 on 15 screens for its South African distributor, Nu Metro, in its first week of release, pushing it to fourth place in B.O. takings for the week through March 4.

“Scary Movie 3″ ($249,402 on 59), new release “Paycheck” ($240 445 on 57) and “Something’s Gotta Give” ($218,453 on 58) were ahead of it in the stakes while it upstaged “Cold Mountain” ($95,046 on 39) and “The Last Samurai” ($91,311 on 61).

Nu Metro said it had extended the film to 25 screens for its second release week, reversing its earlier, controversial decision not to screen the movie in Benoni, the town outside Johannesburg where Theron grew up.

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