From surfing through the early mixed reviews, I had the impression Danny Boyle's meditative science fiction drama Sunshine was not generating much excitement, a feeling reinforced by Nick Schager's Cinematical review ("a gorgeously crafted intergalactic saga sorely lacking in originality or profundity"). While it may not be winning unqualified raves, Rotten Tomatoes estimates that 68% of reviews were positive, more than 12,000 IMDb readers have rated it as 7.3 out of 10 and US theater-goers flooded into the ten theaters where Fox Searchlight opened it on Friday. Leonard Klady at Movie City News estimated that Sunshine earned $223,400 over the weekend for a healthy $22,340 per-screen average. It will expand to more than 400 screens next Friday.

Sicko expanded even wider into "scores of cities that never have a documentary come to their local theater," according to director Michael Moore; it dropped only 30% from its previous week of release and has now grossed more than $19 million, overtaking Waitress to become the top-grossing "limited grosser" for the year. Sicko is playing more than 1,100 locations. In its second week of release, Talk to Me averaged a very good $9,250 per-screen average, dropping just 17% while adding three theaters.

Cashback
played on nine screens and earned an estimated $12,800 for Magnolia before its DVD release on Tuesday. As Kim Voynar wrote in her review, it's a funny movie well worth seeing, and I was glad I got to see it at a festival screening last fall. Among the other new limited releases, Klady estimates that the French-language comedy My Crazy Aunt had the second highest per screen average ($4,030), playing on 35 screens -- looks like it's only playing in Quebec, Canada. Distributor IDP sent Goya's Ghosts out onto 49 screens; Milos Forman's biographical costume drama starring Stellan Skarsgård, Javier Bardem and Natalie Portman pulled down an estimated $150,000.