Arthouse biz ‘De-Lovely’

Smaller pics finding B.O. niche

Even with numerous films crowding the megaplexes, there were several bright spots in the specialty market over the weekend, especially among the holdovers.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” has a firm grip on numerous arthouse screens and “Spider-Man 2” is luring a broad aud into megaplexes, leaving some specialty distribs to worry that the summer’s crop of niche pics could get lost in the shuffle. But even in the summer crunch, specialty pics seem to be finding their auds.

The Cole Porter biopic “De-Lovely” from MGM grossed $355,000 from 24 screens in its second week, a very strong average of $14,808 per screen. Cume on the musical now stands at $864,000, with expansions planned in coming weeks.

Warner Independent Pictures’ Richard Linklater-helmed “Before Sunset” grossed $510,000 from 63 screens, an average of $8,100, after expanding by 43 screens for the frame.

“Our holdovers were down only 18% from the holiday weekend,” said Warner Independent’s distrib chief Steven Friedlander. “We’re expanding another 50 or 75 runs the next week.”

Fox Searchlight’s more aggressive expansion of Robert Redford thriller “The Clearing” to 261 screens brought in $1.2 million for the weekend, an average of $4,559 per screen, pushing cume to $2 million.

Distrib has also seen “Napoleon Dynamite” perform well in its five weeks of release. The quirky comedy played on 141 screens this past weekend and is prepping for its widest point of release on July 23. For the frame, it grossed $530,000, a $3,759 average.

The weekend also saw two documentaries open well. IFC debuted “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” which grossed $49,453 from three screens in Gotham and San Francisco, posting some kind of screen average of $16,484.

Sony Pictures Classics introduced surf doc “Riding Giants” on 26 screens and took in $142,468, or an average of $5,480.

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