The dog days of summer hit the indie box office this weekend, as the top earner was a film in its third week of release. Elegy, directed by Isabel Coixet and starring Ben Kingsley and Penélope Cruz, expanded from six to 92 theaters and grossed $5,546 per screen, according to estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo. The adaptation of a novel by Philip Roth has not been universally praised, but maintains a strong 74% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes. I can't help but conclude that Penélope Cruz is the art house crowd's answer to Megan Fox, because . . .
. . . Cruz also stars in Vicky Christina Barcelona (pictured), which made $4,339 per screen in its fairly wide (692 theaters) second week. Woody Allen's latest features other pretty people such as Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson, of course, and has very good reviews behind it, yet it's silly to ignore the current Cruz heat factor.
As Eugene has already noted, Andrew Fleming's Hamlet 2 got a jump start on its wide release by opening on 103 screens, but its average of $4,223 "doesn't inspire confidence for the expansion." Will this slow down star Steve Coogan?
Suspense drama Transsiberian ($4,157 per screen, 38 theaters, 6th week), tense drama Frozen River ($4,048 per screen, 41 theaters, 4th week), and mystery thriller Tell No One ($3,643 per screen, 101 theaters, 8th week, $3.8 million total) continued to draw well, while debuting debt doc I.O.U.S.A. made $3,461 per screen at 18 locations.