Rich start for 'Slumdog Millionaire'
Danny Boyle's Dramedy averages $35,043 per screenIt's been a relatively slack market so far for prestige films with awards-consideration aspirations, but Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog Millionaire" hit the jackpot during the weekend with a gold-plated start to its platform campaign.
Danny Boyle's critically praised dramedy about an Indian game-show contestant grossed $350,434 from just 10 first-frame playdates in six markets. That represented a mind-bending $35,043 per engagement for one of the year's top theater averages to date.
Cumulative domestic boxoffice on "Slumdog" reached $418,131 following its Wednesday bow.
"It's a fantastic start," Searchlight senior vp distribution Sheila DeLoach said.
Elsewhere in the specialty market, IFC's French-language Catherine Deneuve starrer "A Christmas Tale" unwrapped a first-weekend gross of $65,408 in five New York theaters and three in Los Angeles. That translated to an encouraging $9,344 per venue as the Yuletide reunion drama prepares to unfold in top 10 markets Friday.
Cavalier Films' PG-13 comedy "Family Strangers" grossed $12,294 from a pair of opening playdates in Washington, D.C. That amounted to a sturdy $6,147 per engagement, with "Strangers" tagged to expand in select markets slowly in coming weeks.
Laemmle/Zeller's basketball documentary "The First Basket" opened with $5,370 from three Southern California locations, or a thin $1,790 per site. And Liberation Entertainment's relationship drama "Eden" unspooled in a single New York venue with a tepid $2,760.
Among the session's notable expansions, Miramax's Holocaust drama "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" added 21 theaters for a total of 38 and grossed $490,000, or an impressive $12,893 per venue, with an $843,000 cume.
Miramax added 41 locations for Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" and grossed $374,000, or a so-so $2,616 per site, with a $1.8 million cume.
Sony Pictures Classics added 46 playdates for a total of 80 for Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" and grossed $351,413, or a sturdy $4,448 per engagement, with a $1.1 million cume.
SPC added seven locations for a total of 29 for its French-language Kristin Thomas Scott starrer "I've Loved You So Long" and grossed $175,944, or a pleasing $6,067 per site, good for a $1 million cume.