'Black Swan' Breaks Studio Record as Prestige Films Make Impressive Debuts, Expansions

Black Swan

"Phillip Morris" has encouraging launch; "King's Speech," "127 Hours" expand their reach and success

The weekend went swimmingly for Fox Searchlight's Natalie Portman starrer Black Swan and other adult-targeting art films and prestige pictures.

An atmospheric suspense thriller about ballet dancers directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler), Swan dove into 18 theaters in eight markets and came up roses with $1.4 million, or a Searchlight-record $77,459 per venue. One of the holiday season's key platform pictures, Swan is set for an incremental expansion during the next few weeks and will reach at least 60 locations next weekend.

"We may increase that further, based on the weekend," Searchlight senior vp Sheila DeLoach said. "But this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. So we don't want to just blow it out, but we may do a few more theaters than we had planned next weekend."

Another well-reviewed prestige pic -- Roadside Attraction's I Love You Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor -- wooed $113,200 from six opening playdates. That represented $18,886 per engagement for an encouraging launch to the dramedy's platform campaign.

Roadside spokesman Howard Cohen said execs were particularly pleased with the big bow, as Morris boasted a relatively modest marketing budget.

Calling Morris an "underdog" in opening opposite the higher-profile Swan, Cohen added, "We think we came through with shining colors."

In a curious coincidence, Swan and Morris both drew prerelease buzz for their same-sex stars' locking lips in the pics. Portman and co-star Mila Kunis do the honors in the former.

In a simultaneous debut in two theaters and video-on-demand, Magnolia's Andrew Jarecki-helmed mystery thriller All Good Things, starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, collected $40,000, or a better-than-good $20,000 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, the Weinstein Co. expanded period drama The King's Speech by just two theaters for a total six and grossed $325,874, or an enviable $54,312 per venue. Speech -- whose Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have drawn broad kudos-season notices for their topline performances -- totes $808.874 million in cumulative box office through two weekends.

Searchlight's mountain-climbing survival drama 127 Hours added 154 locations for a total 433 and rang up $1.6 million. That represented an acceptable $3,695 per site, as cume for the Danny Boyle-directed James Franco starrer reached $6.6 million.