Following last week's semi-wide release of Friends With Kids (which expanded to 640 screens this weekend and grossed another $1.5 million, dropping 25%), we have three more theoretically mainstream films that have been relegated to the arthouse circuit. Will Ferrell's telenovela satire Casa de Mi Padre debuted with $2.2 million on just 382 screens, the Jason Segel/Ed Helms comedy Jeff Who Lives At Home debuted with on a mere 254 screens grossing $840,000, and the 90s-action throwback Seeking Justice (with Nicolas Cage) debuted on 231 screens grossing $260,000. The highest grossing of the trio was Lionsgate's Will Ferrell romp (which is entirely in Spanish with English subtitles), as it earned a solid $5,700 per-screen average. Yes, the film cost just $6 million, but you'd think that a decent marketing campaign centered around one of the more popular comic actors around could generate an opening of at least $10 million, with a final gross of around $25-30 million (Weinstein Company pulled that same trick for the $5 million Paul Rudd vehicle Our Idiot Brother last August). I've long complained about the ever-increasing trend of treating seemingly mainstream genre fare, even ones with big stars, and tossing them off to die in limited release so that The Lorax can have a 2D screen, a 3D screen, and an IMAX screen all to itself. Long story short, arthouse audiences aren't the sort to flock to a bawdy Will Ferrell comedy while Ferrell fans are either unable to find it at a nearby cinema or don't realize that it's being released. Memo to studios - if you want your films to make money, you might want to position them to actually be seen by paying audiences. In uber-limited release news, Kid With the Bike grossed $51,000 on three screens while Detachment (the best film of 2012 thus far) grossed $11,100 on two screens.
For holdover news, including the fate of John Carter and the continued strength of The Lorax, go to Mendelson's Memos.
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