Fox Searchlight had another solid debut this weekend with its initial limited opening of Belle in four New York and L.A. theaters, while foreign-language feature Ida showed some traction in a trio of locations despite the Spider-Man 2 juggernaut. While certainly nowhere near the stratospheric numbers of its fellow Searchlight roll out The Grand Budapest Hotel earlier this year, British-set period drama Belle nevertheless managed a regal bow, grossing over $104K, giving the film a $26,123 theater average. Searchlight said the feature outgrossed Spidey at the Landmark in West LA and was the second highest grosser at the Arclight in Hollywood. In New York, it also had strong numbers at Lincoln Plaza and Sunshine theaters.
“We’re pretty happy with how it opened. It’s an interesting thing with a film that’s very sophisticated like this and you’re hoping to get the cinephile crowd out,” Searchlight’s EVP of Distribution Frank Rodriguez told me Sunday morning. “The secret of this film is to keep it in theaters and see if it can get some traction. We know we have a great art film and we know we’re going to do well with it. The real goal here is to see if it can go a little mainstream. To do that with Spider-Man and the like will be interesting. Perhaps it’s a bit of counter-programming, but if we had had a $15 – 25K [PTA this weekend] I would have been happy, so we’re at the high end of that. In this business anything can happen, but we’re going into the right theaters and targeting a sophisticated audience.” (more…)