Between Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival, Agora cooked up a good deal of praise, and a lot of speculation that it would struggle at the box office and most likely not make back its price tag. It wasn't exactly unwarranted guessing -- the film had one of the biggest budgets for a European production, costing 50 million euros ($73 million). But so far, so good.

The Hollywood Reporter posts that after getting released on Friday in Spain, Alejandro Amenabar's epic has grabbed the top earning spot for Spanish films after only 4 days, and the best opening weekend for 2009. So far, the film has earned roughly $10.4 million, dethroning Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs for the #1 spot. In fact, it only missed the all-time high by $.3 million -- an honor held by Torrente 3: El Protector. THR says this comes after "an unusually aggressive advertising campaign," but even with that, this is an impressive feat. It's not every day that a cerebral and beautiful epic can surpass Hollywood family films, and almost beat the record box office of a crime comedy.

Will this mean good things for the U.S. as well? I'd hope a North American release date hits soon, with an equally prevalent marketing campaign. I completely adored this film when I saw it at TIFF, and this is the sort of fare we need to embrace of we expect moviemaking to be more than Hollywood spectacle. Or hell, if we want some solid female fare on the big screen.