How on earth did an unheralded, under-the-radar movie from an untested distribution outfit manage to nearly out-earn a much-advertised period flick starring one of the biggest tabloid stars in the world, directed by one of the most respected? Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom, based on the Logo TV series, opened at theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington DC over the weekend and grossed $32,200 per screen, according to estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo. That puts it just behind Clint Eastwood's Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. The romantic comedy follows four men and their partners as they travel to Martha's Vineyard and deal with relationship travails. The first release by Logo's film distribution unit, indieWIRE says that Noah's Arc "is already 2008's highest grossing narrative gay film overall."
If a romantic comedy starring gay African Americans sounds like an unlikely box office winner, what about a movie with a nearly unpronounceable title featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman as an aging theater director? Not exactly sexy, I suppose, but Synecdoche, New York nonetheless grossed $19,222 per screen at nine theaters in New York and Los Angeles. I don't think anyone expects this to be a huge box office smash, yet that's a good, strong start for Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, one of the more intriguing films to be released this fall season.
French drama I've Loved You So Long, starring Kristin Scott-Thomas, had the highest per-screen average for a foreign-language title ($7,520), but the wonderful Let the Right One In (yes, "the Swedish vampire flick"), starring no one you've ever heard of before, was right behind ($7,260), according to Leonard Klady at Movie City News. This makes me unreasonably happy, mostly because it's a really good movie that peers deeply into the dark heart of adolescence and points the way toward reasonable maturity. Bravo!