CATEGORIES Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Independent, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Box Office, Cinematical Indie, War, Nicole Kidman, UK Box Office, Cinematical, UK Box OfficeNoah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding did smashing business at two theaters in Manhattan, earning a per-screen average of $39,800, according to estimates compiled by Leonard Klady at Movie City News. Was it the sparkling dialog, the witty performances, the star wattage of Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black? The critics were mixed: our own Ryan Stewart opined that the film was "torpedoed by its own self-indulgence." A. O. Scott of the New York Times was kinder ("frequently brilliant, finally baffling") and Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was not ("I've had root canals that were more enjoyable"). Check Metacritic for more critical coverage.
Opening in a single Manhattan theater, What Would Jesus Buy? performed quite nicely according to Box Office Mojo, making $11,600. Personally, I thought Rob VanAlkemade's documentary was timely and entertaining, although quite scatter-shot in its approach.
Opening in a single Los Angeles theater, Smiley Face earned an estimated $5,700 over the weekend, according to Mr. Klady. Distributor First Look has been criticized for changing their plans from a wider release last April; filmmaker Sujewa Ekanayake comments: "It is sad to see a film that screened at 4 incredibly well known festivals [Sundance, SXSW, Cannes, Toronto] being released in only 1 theater." Amen! Both Jette Kernion and Monika Bartyzel reacted positively to Gregg Araki's stoner comedy starring Anna Faris; the movie hits DVD in January.
Redacted ($1,760 per screen; 13 theaters) and Southland Tales ($1,780 per screen; 63 theaters) appeared to fall victim to bad buzz. Everyone kept saying that no one would want to go see Brian DePalma's Iraq War project and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Critical response was lukewarm overall, though a number championed it, according to Rotten Tomatoes. (Ryan Stewart felt it "doesn't ever truly gel.") The same site estimated that only 34% of the Southland Tales reviews were positive; its champions are fewer but no less appreciative -- but not Nick Schager, who called it "monumentally vapid."
The Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men expanded into 148 theaters and soared into the overall Top 10, scoring a scorching per-theater average of $20,540.