Film to widen to at least 300 screens in March

The Weinstein Co. is changing direction with its biopic “Miss Potter.”

Company has scotched a plan to widen to about 300 screens later this month and instead will wait until after Feb. 25’s Academy Awards, when it will roll out to between 300 and 500 screens in March.

Movie, which is being distribbed in the U.S. by MGM, will continue to play this weekend on 10 screens.

Distrib sees the film as suitable for upscale suburban auds, which haven’t been targeted yet, and hopes March will find those auds hungry for the literary biopic about the children’s book author.

“The exit polls have proved that audiences who have seen “Miss Potter” absolutely love the film, so we want to show it at a time when more people can see it,” Harvey Weinstein said. “We realize this is a unique strategy but want to give the film the chance it deserves and feel that the market is too crowded right now.”

“Potter” was initially released Dec. 29, but soon became lost in a crowded season. Movie bowed on two screens to less than $10,000 in its first three-day frame. After five weeks in release, “Potter” has taken in about $770,000. Its latest per-screen average, off 33, was $3,113. Widest release has come on 38 screens.

Movie’s perf also reflects a rough year for specialty films this season. Even pics with rock-solid reviews have been drawing tepid box office, with “Pan’s Labyrinth” ($17 million) one of the few specialty films to successfully widen in January.

Move recalled other re-release campaigns, most recently “Cinderella Man,” which Universal put back into theaters in the fall after a lackluster June rollout. Movie eventually grossed $61 million.

Weinstein noted that Miramax successfully pulled off similar re-releases for movies such as “Il Postino” and “Like Water for Chocolate.”

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