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Arthouse Audit: The Weekend is 'Bernie''s, 'Sound of My Voice' is Weak, 'Elles' Gets Boost from NC-17

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood April 29, 2012 at 3:44PM

An incredible 20 films premiered in limited runs in NY or LA this weekend (including three on Wednesday). While most were branded by festival play, few boasted much pre-opening coverage. Only "Bernie" wielded much box-office muscle --while "Headhunters" also showed signs of early strength.
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'Bully'
Lee Hirsch 'Bully'

"Goodbye First Love" (IFC-Sundance Selects) - Week 2; also available on VOD

$13,500 in 5 theaters (+1); PSA: $2,700 ; Cumulative: estimated $42,000

With only one new theater, the PSA fell about in half, indicating a mixed response after a mediocre opening.

What it means:   VOD came on board during the week, making home viewing the future for this French romantic drama.

"Bully" (Weinstein) - Week 5

$330,000 in 263 theaters (unchanged); PSA: $1,255; Cumulative: $2,126,479

Keeping the same number of theaters, the PSA fell about a third from its already modest level.

What it means:   The special nature of this film will keep this in play for weeks to come, but at this point any much wider release (beyond shifting prints to other markets) doesn't appear likely.

"Damsels in Distress" (Sony Pictures Classics) - Week 3

$92,952 in 57 theaters (+11); PSA: $1,630; Cumulative: $448,166

Another disappointing expansion, with a PSA getting into a precarious zone for both holdovers and sustaining any lengthy further run. It already lost its two prime LA theaters after only two weeks, which doesn't bode well for its future.

What it means:   Neither young nor older audiences seem to be accepting this quirky comedy of college life from a veteran director/writer.

"Salmon Fishing in Yemen" (CBS Films) - Week 8

$440,000 in 335 theaters (-110); PSA: $1,313; Cumulative: $7,790,328

Two months into its run (most of the weeks beyond limited platforms), this still is accumulating gross as it approaches the $8 million mark, surpassing "Friends With Kids" and far outgrossing "Jeff, Who Lives at Home," two other more general audience Toronto acquistions.

What it means:   The remaining question is whether it can hit $10 million. Chances are it falls a bit short, but still, for the modest marketing allocation on top of the $5 million plus sales price, the theatrical part of its playoff has been quite successful.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office, Independents


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.