Box Office (Specialty): Woody Allen a Big Draw in 'Fading Gigolo' Despite Scandal

John Turturro directed and stars in the comedy opposite Allen, about a cash-strapped bookstore owner who convinces his friend to become a gigolo.

The recent uproar surrounding Woody Allen over allegations that he molested his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, didn't stop new comedy Fading Gigolo from doing strong business in its limited debut over Easter weekend.

John Turturro both directed and stars in the QED International film opposite Allen, who rarely acts for other directors.

Fading Gigolo debuted to $198,399 from five theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a pleasing theater average of $39,680, the best of the weekend for any film.

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"Fading Gigolo is performing better than we had even hoped. Propelled by fantastic word of mouth we saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday, which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film. That fact that Woody Allen is featured in a hilarious lead role was clearly a big draw," said Bill Lee, CEO of Millennium Entertainment, which is distributing the movie.

"John Turturro has created a romantic comedy that is truly speaking to audiences -- young, old, male and female. We're proud to be part of bringing this very special film to as many people as possible," Lee continued.

Fading Gigolo, which made its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, stars Allen as a struggling bookstore owner who convinces his friend (Turturro) to become a gigolo, serving as his pimp.

Earlier this year, Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter published in The New York Times detailing how she was molested by Allen as a child when living with her mother, Mia Farrow. Allen has vehemently denied the accusations. Dylan Farrow, now 28, was one of two children adopted by Mia Farrow and Allen.

Allen is currently finishing his next directorial effort, Magic in the Moonlight.