CATEGORIES IFC, Box Office, Fox Searchlight, Miramax, Cinematical Indie, Samuel Goldwyn Films, UK Box Office, Cinematical, UK Box Office"A damn fine film with a good heart and some really excellent performances" finished atop the indie weekend box office charts. The quote is from our own Scott Weinberg's review of Tom McCarthy's The Visitor (Overture), and I agree wholeheartedly. The film earned $22,000 per-screen at four theaters, according to estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo. Richard Jenkins stars as a college professor who strikes up a friendship with an immigrant couple he finds living in his NYC apartment. It's even better -- and deeper -- than that description might sound.
An elderly chorus sings a repertoire of modern pop and rock songs in Stephen Walker's documentary Young @ Heart (Fox Searchlight); audiences responded to the tune of $13,075 per screen at four locations. Cinematical's James Rocchi wrote: "Even for all its flaws and failures it still succeeds in showing us friends who -- through song and art and community and, yes, love -- are doing their best to face it with everything that they've got."
David Ayer's Street Kings (Fox Searchlight) should be included, I suppose, because it's distributed by an studio specialty division known for its indie releases, though not much about the police drama screams "indie." By the per-screen numbers, it finished third, earning an average of $4,864 at each of 2,467 engagements. "As yet another tale of dirty criminals and even dirtier cops," Scott Weinberg opined, "Street Kings works well enough, albeit strictly in a 'been there, seen that' sort of way."
Smart People (Miramax) generates a lot of laughs without providing much insight into its characters, in my opinion, but James Rocchi thought otherwise, calling it a "superbly-made piece of entertainment for grown-ups." Playing at more than 1,100 theaters, it earned $3,797 per screen. Dennis Quaid stars as a curmudgeonly college professor; also featured are Ellen Page as his wisecracking daughter, Thomas Haden Church as his wise lower-class brother and Sarah Jessica Parker as a doctor with low romantic standards.
Among holdovers, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Flight of the Red Balloon (IFC Films) performed strongly, averaging $12,600 per screen at two theaters. Wong Kar Wai's My Blueberry Nights (Weinstein Co.) dropped off a bit more, winding up with a still-solid $7,616 per-screen average at six locations. The long-running Bella (Roadside Attractions) roared back to life, expanding to 28 theaters and making $3,928 at each in its 25th week. And Audrey Tatou's enduring appeal no doubt helped Priceless (Samuel Goldwyn) to earn $3,707 per-screen in 41 engagements.