Monday, November 12, 2007

Coen brothers: Box office champs?

Like all things in life, that really depends on how you look at it. Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie," of course, was the only slightly surprising overall box office champ, but the Coens won a key category in a big way (which will hopefully propel them into my little corner of the world this week.)

When a movie opens in limited release, per-screen average is often the only box-office component it can brag about. And in this key category, "No Country for Old Men" not only won the weekend but also amounted to the best Coens limited-release opening ever. Huzzah to that!

Here, and I certainly hope the multiplex owners take note of this wherever they see it, is the per-screen breakdown:

1. "No Country for Old Men": 28 screens, $42,928 average
2. "Holly": 1 screen, $35,000 average
3. "Om Shanti Om": 114 screens, $13,157 average
4. "American Gangster": 3,059 screens, $7,949 average
5. "Saawariya": 85 screens, $7,058 average
6. "Bee Movie": 3,944 screens, $6,952 average
7. "Fred Claus": 3,603 screens, $5,335 average
8. "War/Dance": 3 screens, $5,700 average
9. "Bella": 276 screens, $3,644 average
10. "Lions for Lambs": 2.215 screens, $3,029 average

Now, a couple more statistics might put this triumph into perspective. Although three other limited releases this fall had higher averages, they were for far fewer screens. Wes Anderson's rather disappointing "Darjeeling Limited" did a whopping $67,469 average when it opened in only two theaters, "Lust, Caution" (which they've advertised regularly at my multiplex but have yet to show, dammit) had a $63,910 average from one screen (so I guess that's a total rather than an average), and Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" averaged $53,110 on four screens. So, the Coens are in the same ballpark figure-wise while playing in a much bigger arena.

It's also worth looking at how well "No Country" did vs. previous Coens' films opening in limited release. "Fargo" averaged $20,285 in 36 theaters in 1996, and "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (still my Coens' favorite) averaged $28,428 in five theaters in 2000.

I offer all that in hopes that, as promised, "No Country for Old Men" will indeed play NATIONWIDE, which means even in my little corner of the world, as promised this Friday.

And one final question that's just nagging at me: What in the world is "Holly"? It apparently stars Ron "Office Space" Livingston as a stolen artifacts dealer who works to rescue a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl (named, conveniently enough, Holly) from being sold into slavery in Cambodia. It's apparently part of something called the "K-11" project to make movies highlighting the epidemic of child-trafficking, but no matter what it is it's really just nice to see Mr. Livingston getting steady work.


jeremy said...

You sure its pushing to nationwide this week? Was that contigent on it opening well?
We didn't get it for this initial opening in Seattle, but word has it we're definitely getting it this week, but all the banner ads and such I see for it still lists November 23rd.
Have you read the book?

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm afraid you may be right about that, Jeremy, now that I take a closer look at the ads .. I think in my excitement I was just off by a week, so maybe I'll get it here by the 23 .. I haven't read the book yet, but I plan to soon .. right now I'm finishing up "The Golden Compass" so I can better enjoy that one

Chris said...

The movie is pretty damn awesome (here for review). I went to the Regal in Union Square and the thing was sold out for the nighttime shows well in advance. It's a great audience movie, too, for so many reasons.

Toto said...

I'm pessimistic about "No Country's" b.o. chances. The film's ending is as vague as they come, and a key character is offed off-screen, which won't sit well with many people. A sharp marketing campaign could draw some people in, but I don't see that happening. When Oscar comes calling, though, the film will draw a few more eyeballs.

Neel Mehta said...

I'm a big proponent of the per-screen rankings, if for no other reason this week than to demonstrate the box office impact of a pair of Hindi movies.

Publicizing these rankings might also give a more accurate picture of how well films in limited release are catching on. Hollywood studios are dumb for many reasons, but I particularly hate that they release all their serious fall dramas at the same time in the same select cities. Inevitably, they cannibalize each other, and some are characterized as box office failures before they ever get a chance at a general release.

I'd say more, but then I'd start pissing off everyone from Los Angeles and New York City. I don't really need 18 million people mad at me, no matter how spoiled and undeserving they are.

Vasta said...

It may be in limited release, but No Country for Old Men is one film that is worth driving for several hours in order to see it. It is by far the best film of the year -- after Ratatouille, of course, which I believe is a cinematic wonder -- and deserves every iota of critical acclaim it has been getting. I may get in trouble for saying this, but I actually think the Coen brother's film is better than Cormac McCarthy's novel, though it was pretty good as well.

The movie is, however, not the most accessible film for general audiences, and probably won't do massive box office numbers. That being said, a movie with big name directors, big name stars, and huge critical acclaim can't be hidden away forever: it will get a wide release, coupled with a large marketing push as well.

I'm sure it'll make it to your side of the country pretty quickly Keith if its not already there this Friday, so do not despair.

Reel Fanatic said...

I had heard all the warnings everyone has mentioned about the ending of this one, but I'm hoping the good reviews are still enough to get it playing very widely .. and besides, I simply adored the ending of "The Sopranos," so I'm certainly not averse to any kind of vague ending

Mercurie said...

I am a huge fan of No Country for Old Men, so I am hoping that it will make it to Randolph County. I am also happy that its per screen average was good. I am lousy at math, but I know enough that it made many times more than Bee Movie did per screens...

RC said...

i certainly hadn't heard of holly until you posted it here.

the buzz on no country certainly picked up after this's potential at being a box-office and academy champ seems very promising...

we'll see?

download movies online said...

I haven't watch this movie.Want to know your reviews.I know this movie is champ on box office but I want to see some trailer of the movie so I can decide.