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Niche pics slowly gain ground at B.O.

'City Island' stands out among specialty films

While some wide releases struggle to give much lift to the box office, several specialty pics have made headway in an overall soggy B.O. playing field.

Among them, Anchor Bay’s “City Island” has grossed a standout $5 million, playing at 269 locations at its widest. Released on March 19, “City Island,” starring Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies, continues to place near the top at specialty exhibs in such cities as New York and St. Louis.

“We’ve been delighted that the word of mouth from audiences and favorable responses from critics, coupled with our strategic marketing campaign, have paid off in a big way,” said Anchor Bay prexy Bill Clark.

Music Box’s indie Swedish thriller “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” also has profited in a relatively scant specialty frame, having grossed $9.7 million since its limited release March 19. The high-end result for “Dragon” reps a significant gain for the film, given that most foreign-lingo pics face an uphill battle with U.S. auds.

English-language “Agora,” directed by Spanish helmer Alejandro Amenabar, kick-started a potentially profitable run during Memorial Day weekend, nearing the $1 million mark. Newmarket acquired U.S. rights to the film, which had struggled to secure a distribution deal.

In its soph sesh this weekend, the historic epic took in $43,505 at four locations for a per-screen average of $10,876.

Meanwhile, specialty labels Sony Pictures Classics and Focus Features have launched several successful limited rollouts, including holdovers “Please Give” for SPC and “Babies” for Focus.

“Please Give” entered its sixth frame, earning $300,061 at 87 locations for a per-screen average of $3,449. Pic’s cume reached $1.7 million, while “Babies” has totaled $6.5 million.

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