Marshall musical takes best theater average

Rob Marshall’s musical “Nine” belted out the best theater average of the weekend at the domestic B.O. in a crowded frame for specialty fare looking to prosper in the wake of Golden Globe noms and other awards mentions.

From the Weinstein Co., “Nine” opened to an estimated $246,933 from four runs in New York and L.A. for an impressive location average of $61,733.

I have nothing to complain about. It is an unbelievable start,” said Harvey Weinstein, saying “Nine” did the biggest opening biz of any musical playing at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York outside of Marshall’s “Chicago.”

Paramount’s George Clooney starrer “Up in the Air,” which received the most Golden Globe nominations of any film, did nice business as it expanded from 72 theaters to 175. “Nine” received the second-highest number of Globe noms. Up in the Air,” directed by Jason Reitman, grossed $3.1 million from just 175 locations to come in No. 8 for the weekend. Per location average was $17,714.

After that, results were soft, if not disappointing, for a number of titles earning Globe mentions or nods on best-of critics’ lists.

Part of the problem may have been a major blizzard that slowed theater traffic in New York on Saturday night — primetime for adult moviegoing — and paralyzed other East Coast cities, although “Nine” overcame the hurdle.

Fox Searchlight’s “Crazy Heart” grossed an estimated $84,204 from four runs in New York and L.A. for a location average of $21,051, substantially behind “Nine.”

Emily Blunt topliner “The Young Victoria,” from Apparition, also started slow, grossing an estimated $148,254 from 20 theaters for a location average of $7,413.

Lionsgate had hoped Golden Globe noms would help re-energize “Precious,” which expanded from roughly 650 theaters over the weekend to 1,003, grossing an estimated $1.1 million for a location average of $1,117. Pic is ready a financial success, having cumed $40 million.

Among other holdovers, Paramount/DreamWorks’ “The Lovely Bones” fell a steep 64% in its second frame, grossing an estimated $41,000 from three runs for a location average of $13,667 and cume of $196,590. The Weinstein Co.’s “A Single Man,” directed by Tom Ford, also saw a significant drop, dipping 37% in its sophomore frame from nine theaters to an estimated $138,680 for a location average of $15,409 and cume of $471,030. Pedro Almodovar pic “Broken Embraces,” from Sony Classics, grossed an estimated $205,281 from 53 locations in its fifth sesh for a location average of $3,873 and cume of $847,976.

Distribs of specialty pics are hoping filmgoers have more time to see movies between Christmas and New Year’s, especially as wider releases “Avatar” and “Invictus” are also drawing adults.

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