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Specialty box office: British movies about old musicians win again

This weekend in specialty film releases, "Unfinished Song" had a sizzling debut, while "Frances Ha" and "Mud" both crossed milestones.

A nice Gemma Arterton clutches a mean Terence Stamp in "Unfinished Song," which had the highest per screen average of any new specialty release this weekend.  Credit: Nick Wall A nice Gemma Arterton clutches a mean Terence Stamp in "Unfinished Song," which had the highest per screen average of any new specialty release this weekend.
Credit: Nick Wall

According to Indiewire, the highest grossing new specialty release this weekend was "Unfinished Song," a British import about geriatrics singing pop songs, including Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" and "Let's Talk About Sex." It was inevitable that the film, which stars a grouchy Terence Stamp and a warm (and sickly) Vanessa Redgrave, would gross $27,692 from two screens, for an impressive $13,846 average. "Quartet," with Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay as singers of a more "classical" bent, was a monster art house hit last year. Throw in "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and it's safe to say we'll be seeing both more of "Song" as it expands through the country's art houses, and more movies about olds making sex jokes.

The other new releases fared fairly well, too, if they didn't scare up "Unfinished Song" dollars. "The Attack," about a Tel Aviv Arab who discovers his wife was responsible for a recent suicide bombing, did $26,352 from three theaters, for a $8,784 average. The superficially similar Danish hostage drama "A Hijacking" deserved better, but did well enough with $42,500 from seven theaters, for a $6,071 average.

As far as carry-overs go, there were two big milestones. "Frances Ha," Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig's comedy about a cash-strapped young New Yorker, crossed the $3 million mark. Meanwhile, "Mud," with Matthew McConaughey, went over the $20 million barrier. It is the second (star-studded) specialty release, after "The Place Beyond the Pines," to do so this year.

In its third weekend, Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" went from 23 theaters to 206, and grossed $762,350, for a decent $3,700 average. Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" made like the similar "Spring Breakers" (also released by newbie distributor A24) this Spring and went in its second weekend from 3 to 1,104 theaters, making $2,000,000 for $3,077 average. Its total now stands at $2,341,241.

For more, including even more numbers, consult Indiewire's roundup.

 
 
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