‘Anonymous’ conundrum

Scaled back release but some say still too wide

Roland Emmerich’s Shakespearean era literary mystery “Anonymous” wasn’t expected to approach the B.O. success of the helmer’s end-of-the-world blockbusters like “Independence Day” or “The Day After Tomorrow,” but the high-minded tale has been a particularly tricky sell for Sony.

Starring Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis and Vanessa Redgrave, the pic furthers a school of thought that questions whether Shakespeare wrote his body of work. The film attracts an intellectual crowd — but many of them are likely to be fans of the Bard.

A pet project for Emmerich, “Anonymous” entered its second frame (Nov. 4-6) grossing a reserved $1.2 million for a domestic cume nearing $3 million through Nov. 8.

Sony decided to scale back the film’s release just a week before its Stateside debut due to soft tracking, launching “Anonymous” at 265 locations. But some B.O. pundits say the pic’s eventual rollout was still too wide. The studio expanded the film in its soph sesh to 514 venues, based on a promising opening per-screen average of $3,856. Average for the second act was $2,399 per screen.

Sony is scaling back the film’s domestic count to 482 this weekend, all but sealing the pic’s U.S. fate.

In Blighty, too, “Anonymous” has run into the conundrum of being a smart alternative history in a nation of Shakespeare enthusiasts. The pic grossed $71,643 in its second frame there, down a steep 73% for a cume of just above $500,000.

Is the rest silence?

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