Fall arthouse films picking up steam

Early, limited rollouts of 'Catfish,' 'Go' make impressive bows

Fall's cavalcade of commercially targeted art films is beginning to gather steam, with a trio of notable platform campaigns launched during the weekend.

Universal debuted Rogue Pictures' documentary thriller "Catfish" in 12 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin and cooked up $255,252. That gave the PG-13 pic about social-networking intrigue an auspicious $21,271 a venue.

"This was just the beginning of what we hope will be developing word-of-mouth and interest in the film," Universal distribution president Nikki Rocco said. "We're off to a good start."

"Catfish" floats to 53 sites in 23 markets starting Friday.

Fox Searchlight's dramatic thriller "Never Let Me Go" opened in four locations -- two in New York and two in Los Angeles -- and fetched $120,830, or a gripping $30,208 a site. Directed by Mark Romanek ("One Hour Photo"), the R-rated pic totes cumulative box office of $165,331 since a Wednesday bow.

"It's a great start in a crowded market," Fox Searchlight senior vp distribution Sheila DeLoach said. "Yom Kippur probably affected the weekend a little bit, but it wasn't drastic. So we had this terrific screen average despite the fact that it was the Jewish holiday."

"Go" visits 26 theaters in 13 markets this weekend, with plans of reaching 350 locations by Oct. 15.

Overture's romantic comedy "Jack Goes Boating" starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Ryan, debuted with two New York playdates and two in Los Angeles to gross $30,000, or an acceptable $7,500 a site.

Rated R, "Jack" cruises into more than a dozen venues in 11 cities Friday.

Also this weekend, Paramount Vantage will bow the PG-rated "Waiting for Superman" in two playdates apiece in New York and Los Angeles following a major promo push for the education-reform documentary.
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