'Beginners,' Starring Ewan McGregor, and 'Submarine' Lead Weekend's Specialty Releases


"Midnight in Paris" and "Tree of Life" expand to additional theaters nationally.

A slew of independent films open this weekend at the domestic box office, led by Mike Mills' touching father-son dramedy Beginners and the British coming-of-age drama Submarine, executive produced by Ben Stiller.

Focus Features opens Beginners, starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor, in New York and Los Angeles. Ditto for Submarine, which the Weinstein Co. is releasing in the U.S.

FILM REVIEW: Beginners

Focus and the Weinstein Co. are hoping to mine the same success that Sony Pictures Classics is enjoying with Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. The movie's domestic gross to date is an impressive $3.8 million, and it scored one of the best per screen average of all time during its first weekend.

Beginners tells the story of a son stunned by two revelations: His 71-year-old father is gay, and ill.

Submarine, directed by Richard Ayoade is based on the novel by James Dunthorne, and marks Ayoade's feature directorial debut.

FILM REVIEW: Submarine

Both films were acquired soon after they premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival.

Other specialty films debuting this weekend include the harrowing Michael Sheen-Maria Bello starrer Beautiful Boy, which Anchor Bay Films opens in four theaters in Los Angeles and New York, while Lorber Films opens Jean Luc-Godar's Film Socialisme in one theater in New York

On the lighter side, IFC Films opens romantic comedy Love, Wedding, Marriage -- directed by Dermot Mulroney and starring Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz -- in two theaters.

Three documentaries open; environmental pic The Last Mountain, Rejoice and Shout, about gospel music, and Women, Art, Revolution, which bowed Wednesday.

Among holdovers, Midnight in Paris expands from 58 theaters to 147 locations on Friday.

FILM REVIEW: The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which opened last weekend to strong numbers, expands from four theaters to 20 theaters as Fox Searchlight tests the appetite for the drama outside of New York and Los Angeles. Starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, Tree of Life was produced by River Road Entertainment.