'Brokeback' breaks into small towns with ease

“Brokeback Mountain” is no longer astounding. It’s simply impressive.

Expanding into smaller cities as big markets started to show some wear, Focus’ cowboy love story grossed $5.8 million over three days in 683 theaters, up 1% from what it made in 483 locations last weekend. Per play average was $8,430.

Pic debuted in a number of small markets where it came in No. 1 or 2, but $10,000-plus per play grosses are rare counting cities such as Columbia, Mo.; Shreveport, La.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. in that group.

In the few big cities where “Brokeback” debuted, it performed extremely well, grossing well over $20,000 in Tucson, Ariz.; Little Rock, Ark.; and Pittsburgh.

Theaters in big cities where the cowboy love story has been open a month or more saw declines ranging from the single digits to a high of around 30%.

“Drops like this after the kind of business we have done is really remarkable,” Focus distrib topper Jack Foley commented. “Even though the film is fully out in most regional markets, it’s still wearing well.”

Cume thus far is $30.8 million. Pic seems well on its way to becoming an indie smash with a gross of more than $50 million.

Next week, it bows in another 200 theaters, primarily in very small cities.

Woody Allen’s dark drama “Match Point” held up well in its third frame, falling only 25% to $2.1 million as DreamWorks kept the print count about even at 312. Per play average was $6,478 and cume is $6.9 million.

It’s already the best performing Woody Allen pic since 2001′s “Curse of the Jade Scorpion” and looks well on its way to becoming one of his top 10 grossers ever.

The Weinstein Co. expanded three of its pics in limited release to decent results. “Mrs. Henderson Presents” added 37 theaters to reach a total of 52, where it grossed $384,507, for an average take of $7,394. Judi Dench starrer has cumed $1.1 million after six frames.

“The Matador” doubled its print count to 56 on its third weekend and grossed $447,351, or $7,988 per play. Cume for the comedy is $888,602.

“Transamerica” got a small bump from six to nine playdates, grossing $86,566 and averaging $9,618 per theater. Transgender road drama has now cumed $487,180 over seven frames.

“Cache” continues to do very good business for Sony Pictures Classics in its fourth frame, as it doubled its print count to 10 and saw its gross rise 61% to $111,212. Per play take for the French thriller was $11,121 and cume is $472,034.

ThinkFilm’s Hungarian holocaust drama “Fateless” declined just 10% in its second weekend at the Film Forum in Gotham, grossing $11,400. Cume is $30,400. Pic hits L.A. Jan. 27.

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