Anderson film fuels strong in specialty frame

The specialty biz had a strong weekend at the B.O., led by “There Will Be Blood,” which successfully expanded to 129 locations in 25 markets, averaging a robust $15,039 to reach $4.4 million overall.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s oil epic will broaden out Friday to 375-400 locations in 75 markets, the stiffest test yet for the Paramount Vantage/Miramax co-venture. While early returns are strong, it is an open question whether smaller cities will spark to the film, whose 158-minute running time and dark, violent mood could be hurdles.

On the flip side, star Daniel Day-Lewis has garnered an array of early awards for his work in the pic, which itself has claimed many prizes from critics and other groups.

Another Paramount Vantage co-production with Miramax, “No Country for Old Men,” eclipsed “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” over the weekend to become the top grosser for the Coen brothers. The awards magnet pulled in another $1.3 million in its 10th week to reach $46.8 million.

“No Country” is being distribbed domestically by Miramax, which also posted solid results for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” The French-language pic collected $375,000 on 75 screens to average $5,000 per theater and draw close to $2 million in all.

“The Kite Runner,” a DreamWorks title released by Paramount Classics, is starting to flag in its fifth week. Expanding to 715 sites, it recorded $1.7 million, or $2,337 per location. Its cume is $11 million.

Picturehouse reached a similar number of prints with “The Orphanage,” which took in $2 million on 707 in its wide break. Company topper Bob Berney noted the Guillermo Del Toro-backed, Spanish-language chiller put up huge numbers in the biggest of the big theaters.

Its strongest runs were places like L.A.’s Arclight, the Block in Orange County and Gotham’s Empire.

ThinkFilm opened doc “Nanking” in L.A. and SanFran, following a two-week Academy qualifying run. It collected $18,660, or $6,220 per screen.

The company’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” pushed its cume to $6.8 million in its 12th week.

Sony Classics’ “Persepolis” punched up almost $11,000 on each of its 18 screens to hit $548,229 after four weeks.

The Metropolitan Opera’s ongoing simulcast series featured “Macbeth,” which collected almost $1.3 million from 441 venues where it screened live in high definition and another 242 that hosted “encore” presentations.

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