Foreign-language pics power SPC


Sony Pictures Classics juggled five summer releases as well as seven other well-reviewed films released earlier in the year.

One that hit big was "Black Book," Paul Verhoeven's German-language World War II thriller. It earned the bulk of its $4.4 million take during a long summer run, with legs as impressive as those of star Carice van Houten.

Another foreign entry, screenwriter-director Francis Veber's French comedy "The Valet," also played throughout the summer to the tune of $2.3 million. A U.S. remake is now in the works.

SPC further proved that there was an audience for foreign-language films at the summer boxoffice with the continued success of "The Lives of Others." Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's German drama earned $2.2 million of its total $11.3 million this summer.

Its actual summer debuts weren't as successful. The R-rated Japanese-language anime fantasy "Paprika" earned about $825,000. The Theo van Gogh remake "Interview," starring Sienna Miller and directed by Steve Buscemi, took in about $371,000.

Acclaimed director Ray Lawrence's "Jindabyne" couldn't translate the star power of Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne far beyond $400,000. Laurent Tirard's French-language playwright biopic of "Moliere" took in a similar $400,000.

SPC's biggest disappointments were the piano prodigy docu "Vitus," which struggled to reach $148,000, and Luc Besson's black-and-white French-language fable "Angel-A," which didn't quite top the $200,000 mark.