‘Margot’ marshals N.Y. audiences

'No Country' still fertile

The Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” found some room to roam over the weekend, grossing an estimated $3 million as it expanded strongly from 28 to 148 theaters in its second frame for a boffo per-screen average of $20,932, according to Rentrak.

“No Country” placed No. 7 overall for the weekend, continuing to be one of the best starts for filmmaking sibs Ethan and Joel Coen. It even edged out the Tom Cruise-Meryl Streep-Robert Redford starrer “Lions for Lambs,” which is playing in more than 2,000 theaters and came in 8th place.

Miramax and Paramount Vantage are partners on “No Country,” which toplines Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin. Miramax is domestic distributor.

Vantage scored the best per-screen average of the weekend with the debut of Noah Baumbach’s “Margot at the Wedding,” which grossed an estimated $82,929 from two runs in New York for a per-screen average of $41,464.

“Margot” stars Nicole Kidman, Jack Black and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and is Baumbach’s follow-up to “The Squid and the Whale.”

This fall has been especially tough for the specialty biz, with an abundance of serious dramas all fighting to break out. Many films have enjoyed strong openings on a sprinkling of screens, but have struggled as they continue to platform.

Vantage’s “Into the Wild,” however, has hung in there, remaining among the top 20 films. The film declined 19% in its ninth frame to an estimated $891,424 from 511 theaters for a cume of $13.9 million.

Among other limited openings, Rob VanAkemade’s docu “What Would Jesus Buy?” grossed an estimated $11,644 from one theater in Gotham. Doc takes a look at the commercialization of Christmas in America.

First Look-Anonymous Content’s debut of “Smiley Face,” from director Gregg Araki, came in next with an estimated $6,502 from one theater in Los Angeles.

Richard Kelly’s long-awaited “Southland Tales” had trouble gaining traction, bowing to an estimated $116,500 from 63 theaters for a per-screen average of $1,850.

Brian De Palma’s Iraq war drama “Redacted” debuted at $27,475 from 14 theaters in key markets for a per-screen average of just $1,962, underscoring again that auds are resisting politically themed fare this fall. Film is distribbed by Magnolia.

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