Riding a wave of positive buzz and the rising stardom of Anne Hathaway, Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married crushed all comers, earning $33,667 per screen at nine theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, according to estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo. Hathaway appeared everywhere to promote it, even gamely spoofing herself as host on Saturday Night Live. (Loved her as Mary Poppins!)
Too much attention may be paid to Keira Knightley's ribs, but she was undoubtedly the reason that The Duchess made $7,047 per screen as it expanded to 127 locations in its third week. Keira and costume dramas seem to be the right fit; I wouldn't be surprised if this one drew an older audience that consistently attends British historical flicks.
Still ignored by the mainstream press (in contrast to Bill Maher's Religulous), faith-based Fireproof dropped just 40.5% (about the same as Eagle Eye) and took in $4,776 per screen at 852 theaters in its second week. So far the film has grossed more than $12 million. Was it ever advertised on TV? Or was the marketing done entirely through church groups? Whatever the case, with a reported budget of only half a million dollars, Fireproof appears to be a healthy success story.
Elegy, the 'old professor in love with a younger woman' adaptation of a Philip Roth novel starring Ben Kingsley and a sometimes naked Penelope Cruz, is in its ninth week of release and still playing in 70 theaters. The theater count is dropping, but the film has grossed more than $3.3 million.
Meanwhile, the powerful drama Frozen River, which was even more highly praised but does not feature a romance or a naked female star, instead offering sterling performances, is in its 10th week and has made more than $2 million.
Both films can be placed in the category of "modest success," both films will undoubtedly earn a few more dollars before heading to a long life on DVD, and both are reminders that even in the broadminded world of indie films, a couple of bare breasts can make a difference.