How did 12 Years A Slave do on its opening weekend? How does a solid $50,526 per screen average sound, for a total gross of $960,000?
This personal film, a 13-year journey, follows the directors’ son (Idris) and his best friend (seun), from their first day of kindergarten through high school graduation, and how their lives diverge, as they navigate an elite, performance-driven, ivy league New York City prep school in a world still largely segregated by race, class and culture.
The completed film, which made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January is scheduled to air on PBS' prestigious POV program eventually, so it should be accessible to most of us, especially if it doesn't screen at a theater near you.
There was a time, not-so-long ago, when a movie like this was more than likely destined for the home video market directly, without a theatrical release. But times have changed, with several options available today to filmmakers and producers, than there ever have been, affording them the opportunity to open their films in theaters, and doing so without robbing a bank.
Take the AMC Independent initiative for example, launched 3 years ago, to name one.
Last we heard of Ja Rule, he was doing time behind bars (nearly two years) for illegal gun possession, and tax evasion. But he's a free man now (as free a man as the rest of us are), and stars in the indie feature film that opened on Friday, via an outfit called High Top Releasing.
The film follows a man with a criminal past, who many aren't convinced he's completely left behind, who meets and falls for a "church girl" which creates some turmoil as his past life catches up to him, and he's forced to make some hard decisions about his future.
It's a different type of role for Mr Rule, who's usually playing more 1-dimensional "thuggish" characters on screen, and not what appears to be a far more complex dramatic role in this new film.
I'm In Love With A Church Girl is based on screenwriter Galley Molina's own life, and co-stars Adrienne Bailon (as the "church girl) of Cheetah Girls and 3LW fame.
Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore and Michael Madsen round out the starring cast.
The film is directed by Steve Race, and produced by Molina and Grammy-winning Christian singer Israel Houghton.
But a solid $1.025 million opening weekend for a film that has really been overlooked by the mainstream press, and even smaller film blogs like ours. Something tells me that this weekend's opening will help raise its profile a bit, once more industry types walk into their offices tomorrow, and read this weekend's results.
Older releases still in theaters worth noting, include Baggage Claim, which has grossed just over $20 million as of this weekend; Lee Daniels' The Butler continues to push further into the centi-million range, grossing $114 million so far; The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete has earned a respectable $443,000, after just 2 weekends in limited release (playing on 147 screens); and finally, Mother of George, currently playing on 7 screens across the country, has earned $124,000, which, for an arthouse film with Nigerian characters and culture at the center of the narrative, is actually good and noteworthy.
|4||3||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||$10,100,000||3,602||$2,804||$93,137,000|
|8||N||The Fifth Estate||$1,714,000||-||1,769||$969||$1,714,000|
|10||7||Insidious Chapter 2||$1,533,000||1,665||$921||$80,923,000|