‘Strummer,’ ‘Darfur’ premiere strongly

'Devil' knows top of limited-release list

Sidney Lumet’s dark family drama “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” continued to enjoy good box office health as it expanded over the weekend in its second outing, while docus “Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten” and “Darfur Now” debuted to strong per-theater averages.

“Devil” saw a 440% jump as it expanded from two to 43 theaters, grossing an estimated $402,000 for a per-screen average of $9,350 and a cume of $516,230, according to Rentrak. Distrib ThinkFilm added runs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as well as additional theaters in the greater New York area.

Kelly Masterson-scripted pic toplines Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke as brothers who decide to rob their family jewelry store; their mother is killed during the heist. Albert Finney also stars.

Nabbing the highest per-screen average of the weekend among limited releases was Brit doc “Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten,” distributed by IFC Films. Docu about the charismatic frontman for the Clash grossed $20,386 from two runs in Gotham and Los Angeles for a per-location average of $10,193.

Directed by Julien Temple, “Strummer” will expand to the top-10 markets this coming weekend.

Warner Independent Pictures’ “Darfur Now” enjoyed a per-screen average of $8,000 as it opened in three theaters in New York and Los Angeles, with an estimated gross of $24,000. Film, about the genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan and narrated by Don Cheadle, expands by 20 runs in an additional 12 markets this weekend. It’s directed by Ted Braun.

Roadside Attractions’ Christian-themed, inspirational title “Bella” declined 23% in its second frame, grossing $1 million as it expanded to 186 theaters for a cume of $2.6 million. Per-screen average was $5,384.

Among other specialty holdovers, the Weinstein Co.’s “Control” posted a per-screen average of $4,625 in its fourth frame, grossing an estimated $106,382 as it expanded from 19 to 23 theaters for a bump of 7%. Cume is $397,546.

Fox Searchlight’s “The Darjeeling Limited” posted a per-screen average of $2,114 from 615 theaters in its sixth frame, declining 27% to an estimated $1.3 million and cume of $8.1 million.

Paramount Vantage’s “Into the Wild” declined 13% in its seventh frame to an estimated $1.4 million from 660 theaters for a cume of nearly $10.9 million and per-screen average of $2,083.

Julie Taymor’s sleeper hit “Across the Universe” crossed the $20 million mark over the weekend, declining 29% in its eighth frame to an estimated $1.2 million. Per-screen average was $1,490; cume is $21 million.

MGM-Sidney Kimmel Entertainment’s Ryan Gosling starrer “Lars and the Real Girl” scored a per-screen average of $2,439 in its fourth frame, declining 15% to an estimated $783,00. Cume is $2.4 million.

Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution,” from Focus Features, declined 29% in its sixth frame, grossing an estimated $332,973 from 122 runs for a cume of $3.3 million.

In its seventh frame, Warner Bros. “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” declined 46% to an estimated $233,000 from 212 theaters for a cume of $3.3 million.

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