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ThinkFilm

Domestic distribution report

B.O. cume: $10 million

Toppers:Jeff Sackman, prexy & CEO; Robert Lantos, chairman; Mark Urman, head of U.S. theatrical

Upcoming releases: “Three of Hearts” (Oct. 19), “Where the Truth Lies” (Oct. 14), “Protocols of Zion” (Oct. 21), I Love Your Work (Nov. 4)

Analysis: In 2003 ThinkFilm helped kick-start the nonfiction revolution with spelling-bee phenom “Spellbound.” In 2004, it had repeat success with “Born Into Brothels,” the Calcutta-set Oscar winner for documentary. But the market for true-life stories has proven fickle in ’05, with Think docus “Mondovino,” “Tell Them Who You Are” and “The Last Mogul” struggling to finds auds. Even the seemingly sure-fire hit “Murderball” didn’t perform as well as expected. In addition, foreign-lingo pics “Kontroll” and “5 x 2” failed to strike a chord.

But good fortune came late this summer with a very dirty joke: “The Aristocrats,” a foul-mouthed nonfiction comedy, had one of the best per-screen-openings of any film this year. The Canadian company also recently made a deal with Lions Gate to handle its DVD releases as well as launching international sales and kid-specific divisions. As the company hopes to find docu accolades this awards season, it’s also realistic – and even a little bitter – about its much larger competitors. “It’s like musical chairs,” says U.S. theatrical topper Mark Urman. “The odds are always the same, but the people we’re competing with for the same seats have big, fat asses.”

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