×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘King’s Speech’ expands to 2,553 theaters

'The Rite,' 'Mechanic' among new box office entries

Despite two new entries bowing at this weekend’s domestic box office, New Line’s “The Rite” and CBS Films’ “The Mechanic,” most bizzers will be keeping a watchful eye on the crop of Oscar-nommed pics, led by “The King’s Speech” and “127 Hours,” as they enter their first post-noms frame.

Weinstein Co.’s “The King’s Speech” goes wide today at 2,553 locations, an aggressive push for the boffo historical drama that’s already cumed $60 million, while Fox Searchlight expands “127 Hours,” with $11 million, to 916 engagements.

Awards boosts for those pics, along with other Oscar best film nominees “Black Swan,” “The Fighter” and “True Grit,” will depend on “the size of the pie,” as one distrib exec said, referring to the recent soft box office.

Comparisons between this month and a year earlier have been rough, with the first three weekends down significantly vs. 2010. Factors affecting the comparison include blizzard conditions throughout the East Coast and Midwest and last year’s high standard set by “Avatar.”

But bizzers expect box office conditions to improve, and this weekend could draw moviegoers with a mix of standout holdovers and new titles.

Anthony Hopkins starrer “The Rite,” with Warner Bros. distribbing, bows at 2,985 locations, while “The Mechanic” goes in 2,703. The two should avoid cannibalizing each other since “The Rite” is tracking best with women under 25 — typical of the horror genre — while the R-rated “The Mechanic,” the latest vehicle for action star Jason Statham, should appeal to a mostly adult male aud.

Sources suggest that New Line made a few last-minute edits to “The Rite” with the intention of securing the pic’s eventual PG-13 rating. That less-restrictive rating means teenage auds — a B.O. boon for horror pics — can attend more easily.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate’s “From Prada to Nada” opens at 256 locations. Pic marks the inaugural launch of Pantelion, a Televisa/Lionsgate co-venture targeting Hispanic auds.

Last weekend’s top titles, “No Strings Attached” and “The Green Hornet,” are again expected to rank high this weekend. Paramount’s “No Strings Attached” debuted with $19.7 million and a cume of $24.5 million, while Sony’s “Green Hornet” has tallied $66.2 million entering its third frame.

The weekend’s Oscar-nommed holdovers should continue to play strongly, with four of last week’s top 10 titles nabbing Oscar pic noms: “The King’s Speech,” “Black Swan,” “True Grit” and “The Fighter.”

Harvey Weinstein hasn’t been shy about his desire to see “The King’s Speech” cross over to a wider aud. He even wants to submit a re-edited version of the film to the MPAA with hopes of receiving a PG-13 rating, though that version wouldn’t hit theaters until after the Oscars.

Still, “Speech” is expected to do well this weekend with more than 900 additional U.S. playdates.

Searchlight bumped up “127 Hours” from 69 locations last weekend to 916, timed for post-Oscar noms. However, the film did reach 433 engagements in early December, its widest run until now.

The distrib’s other awards hopeful, “Black Swan,” has cumed just shy of $85 million, becoming the highest-grossing 2010 specialty title, while Paramount-Relativity Media’s “The Fighter” enters the weekend with $74 million.

Par’s “True Grit,” with nearly $140 million so far, stands as one of the biggest beneficiaries of last year’s holiday sesh.

Roadside Attractions’ twice Oscar-nomned pic “Biutiful,” which received noms in the foreign-lingo and leading actor (Javier Bardem) categories, opens this weekend at 50 Stateside engagements. Sony Pictures Classics’ Oscar-nommed docu “Inside Job,” which launched Oct. 8 and has cumed $2.5 million, expands to 250 locations from 23 last weekend. Docu first played at 250 the weekend of Nov. 12.

More Film

  • Steven Gaydos, Jacob Weydemann, Katriel Schory,

    Variety Celebrates 10 Producers to Watch in Cannes

    CANNES–Variety honored its 10 Producers to Watch for 2019 at a brunch on Monday morning at Cannes’ Plage des Palmes. Launched at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998, the annual event fetes 10 producers from the U.S. and the international film community who share a common commitment to bold, original, provocative storytelling. The films produced by [...]

  • Cannes Placeholder Red Carpet

    Cannes: KKR and Atwater to Launch Library Pictures, Boost Local-Language Film

    Local-language film making is to get a fillip through the launch of Library Pictures international. The company is backed by a consortium of investors led by media investment firm Atwater Capital and a newly formed Germany-based media company established by KKR. The new firm is intended as a content financing entity to support industry-leading filmmakers [...]

  • After21_0020.ARW

    Sequel to Independent Movie Hit 'After' Launches in Cannes

    “After,” the highest grossing independent film of the year so far, is set to return with a sequel, with stars Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin reprising their roles. Voltage Pictures is selling the new pic in Cannes. The first film, which had a reported production budget of $14 million, grossed more than $50 million [...]

  • Liam Gallagher and Son shopping at

    Cannes: Screen Media Buys 'Liam Gallagher: As It Was' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Screen Media has acquired North American rights to Charlie Lightening and Gavin Fitzgerald’s feature documentary “Liam Gallagher: As It Was.” The film follows the former Oasis frontman as he finds himself on the periphery of the rock ‘n’ roll world after years spent at the white hot center of the music world. Screen Media will [...]

  • La Casa de Papel Netflix

    Madrid Region Booms as an International Production Hub

    Madrid is booming as never before in its 125-year film history; arguably, no other European site is currently transforming so quickly into a global production hub. A 20-minute drive north of the Spanish capital, a large white-concrete hanger has been built beside the Madrid-Burgos motorway, at the entrance to Tres Cantos, a well-heeled satellite village and industrial [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content