Strong start for 'All Right,' 'Girls'

The specialty sector did more than all right at the weekend box office.

Focus Features’ “The Kids Are All Right” scored the best screen average of the year for a specialty release at $72,127, and the fifth best of the last five years.

“Kids,” directed by Lisa Cholodenko, grossed an estimated $504,888 as it opened in seven theaters. Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson star.

Also bowing to notable numbers was Music Box Films’ sequel “The Girl Who Played With Fire.” The Swedish film, based on Stieg Larsson’s runaway bestselling book trilogy, grossed an estimated $965,488 as it opened in 100 locations in North America for a per-screen average of $8,877.

Fox Searchlight reported a strong expansion for dramedy “Cyrus,” which grossed $1.4 million as it expanded into a total of 200 theaters for a location average of $6,875. That landed “Cyrus” at No. 10 on the domestic B.O. chart, with a cume through Sunday of $3.5 million in its fourth weekend.

“Girl Who Played With Fire” came in just behind “Cyrus” at No. 11, while Roadside Attraction’s arthouse drama “Winter’s Bone” — a much tougher sell — placed No. 13 for the weekend.

The critically acclaimed “Winter’s Bone,” directed by Debra Granik and starring Jennifer Lawrence, grossed an estimated $506,900 as it expanded into 106 theaters for a location average of $4,782 and a cume of $2.6 million in its fifth sesh.

Times have been tough for the indie film biz, with continued tumult among distributors of specialty fare. Among the companies whose fates remain in play are Miramax, Overture and Apparition.

However, a number of limited releases have been doing solid business over the last three months, capped by this weekend’s promising results.

“The high-end market is doing really well,” Focus prexy of distribution Jack Foley said.

The well-reviewed “Kids,” about a lesbian couple whose lives are disrupted by the sperm donor who fathered their children, was acquired by Focus at Sundance this year, where it was a fest favorite.

“Our marketing campaign spoke to the film’s energy. The film was met at the box office with the same favor it was met with at Sundance. There will be a lot of good word of mouth that integrates with our campaign,” Foley said.

“Cyrus,” which Fox premiered at Sundance, opened in four theaters in June and has steadily expanded. Film was written and directed by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, and stars Jonah Hill, John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener.

Searchlight prexy Steve Gilula said film’s performance this weekend indicates it is starting to cross over. He said the 77 holdover theaters dipped only 20%, while new markets like Providence, Milwaukee and Columbus did strong biz.

“The exciting thing is that the Duplass brothers are being embraced and their style introduced to a broader audience. We think we will play through the summer,” Gilula said. “It indicates that there is a significant audience out there that is yearning for alternative movies.”

“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which opened at 34 locations, has cumed an impressive $11.8 million in North America since its March 19 launch, spurring one of the widest openings for a foreign-language film in recent memory, said the distrib.

Music Box releases “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” the final installment, on Oct. 15.

Sony is planning an English-language remake of “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” with David Fincher set to direct. Actors circling the project include Brad Pitt.

Sony’s Argentinian pic “The Secret in Their Eyes” posted a cume of $5.9 million through Sunday, while Sony Pictures Classics’ Nicole Holofcener-directed “Please Give” has grossed $3.7 million. Anchor Bay’s “Solitary Man,” starring Michael Douglas, has cumed $3.5 million.

IFC Films’ docu “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” jumped the $2 million mark over the weekend, grossing an estimated $276,000 from 115 locations for a cume of $2.02 million in its fifth sesh.

National Geographic’s docu “Restrepo” continues to look for a foothold, grossing an estimated $101,692 from 25 locations for a cume of $273,565 in its third weekend.

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