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The Reeler Blog

Today in Variety: Hack Jobs and Afterthoughts

Lauren Ambrose and Frank Langella in Starting Out in the Evening, which, by the way, had the best per-screen average in the United States last weekend (Photo: Roadside Attractions)

By S.T. VanAirsdale

I try not to let this kind of crap get to me -- there are so many more outrages in the world than Variety burying the weekend-best per-screen average of Starting Out in the Evening in the 12th paragraph of a 13-paragraph story headlined "Are art films out of touch?":

Among other limited openings over the Thanksgiving frame, Roadside Attractions' Frank Langella starrer Starting Out in the Evening nabbed the best per-screen average of the weekend. Pic, which opened Friday, grossed an estimated $85,596 from seven theaters for a per-location average of $12,228.

It bears noting that this is director Andrew Wagner's second consecutive, ahem, "art film" (combined budgets: $530,000) to break $12K per screen on its opening weekend. Furthermore, word from the Pioneer Theater is that Yiddish Theater: A Love Story was itself a staggering success and will be extended for an additional week. "The crowds have been mixed generationally and ethnically; by no means was I the only goy in the house," Pioneer programmer Ray Privett wrote this afternoon in an e-mail to Reeler HQ. "The discussions afterward have been fantastic, too. ... Many other dates across the US are being cemented into early next year. This will be one of the barely reported but truly grass-roots, community-based successes of the winter. And that's true whether or not the film industry papers report on it." (Yiddish Theater opens Friday in Los Angeles.)

But, of course, with the obtuse I'm Not There doing predictably diffuse business ($1 million gross on 130 screens over five days, with $5,826 per screen on the three-day weekend) and the auteur/star-powered No Country For Old Men and Margot at the Wedding faring well at $9K and $10K respectively, it's obviousness-stating time for Pamela McClintock and her headline-writing colleagues: "Commercial appeal key for art house pics." No. Fucking. Shit. And if you'll kindly turn to page 10, editor-in-chief Peter Bart has the latest on Watergate.

Posted at November 26, 2007 12:18 PM

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