'Mongol' has impressive bow

Specialty film is one Picturehouse's remaining releases

It looks like Bob Berney could go out with a bang.

Limited openings during the weekend included an auspicious bow by the period adventure film "Mongol" from Berney's Picturehouse, a specialty unit Warner Bros. recently tagged for shutdown.

Directed by Sergei Bodrov ("Nomad: The Warrior"), the subtitled "Mongol" grossed $133,136 from five venues for a weekend-topping theater average of $26,627. The Ghengis Khan drama, which was screened to a good reception at ShoWest in March, is one of a handful of final releases from Picturehouse.

"Like the critics have said, ('Mongol') has real action, thousands of actors and limited CGI, and that makes it stand out," Berney said.

The "better than good" bow for "Mongol" means the film will broaden to 400 or more runs within two weeks and perhaps ramp up further thereafter, he estimated.

Berney said he has been talking to prospective financing sources about starting a new film distribution company.

"Literally just walking down the street in Cannes, everybody was like, yeah, let's do it," the independent film veteran said. "It's too early to tell, but the main thing was that I felt a lot of support."

Other remaining Picturehouse releases include "American Girl" (June 20) and "The Women" (Sept. 12).

Also during the weekend, Third Rail unspooled the Weinstein Co. comedy "The Promotion" in six locations and grossed $28,859. That was good for a sturdy $4,810 per site ahead of future expansions.

Sony Pictures Classics debuted the family drama "When Did You Last See Your Father?" with eight playdates and grossed $41,082, or a solid $5,135 per engagement.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, SPC's war drama "The Children of Huang Shi" added 13 locations for a total of 30 and grossed $71,652. That was a tepid $2,388 per site, with its cume reaching $201,650 through three sessions.

Paramount Vantage -- another specialty unit recently marked for shuttering -- expanded its martial arts comedy "The Foot Fist Way" by 14 theaters for a total of 18 and grossed $49,508, or a so-so $2,750 per venue. Its cume hit $85,288.

IFC Films' 1970s crime drama "Savage Grace" added five theaters to total seven and grossed $23,838, or an acceptable $3,405 per venue, with a cume of $56,638.

Miramax's drama "Reprise" added one playdate for a total of 15 and grossed $47,575, or $3,172 per engagement, with a cume of $321,953.
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