"Torino" and "Che" solid in limited release
By Carl DiOrio
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Prestige films including Clint Eastwood's tour de force "Gran Torino" and Steven Soderbergh's revolutionary epic "Che" stormed the domestic box office this weekend in a thickening battle for adult moviegoers and industry kudos.
Warner Bros. opened actor/director Eastwood's "Gran Torino" in six theaters in New York and Los Angeles, and registered $282,000. That represented a turbocharged $47,340 per playdate, though as an older-skewing release, "Torino" may take its time finding top gear once it hits wider distribution.
Positive reviews -- particularly for Eastwood's performance -- helped stoke must-see interest for the opening. "Torino" cruises into three additional markets with a total of 18 theaters starting Friday.
IFC Films' "Che" -- which casts Benicio Del Toro in the title role -- unspooled in single theaters in New York and Los Angeles but rang up a big $60,100 via sellouts of both venues.
IFC scheduled the one-week-only exclusive runs to qualify the four-hour-plus Che Guevara biopic for Oscar voting. "Che" is set to split into separate engagements starting January 9 for the film's two parts: the Cuba-centered "The Argentine" and the Bolivia-based "Guerrilla."
The Weinstein Co.'s post-World War II drama "The Reader" -- directed by Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot") and starring Kate Winslet -- opened in eight locations and grossed $170,000, or a showy $21,250 per site. Figuring among the most-nominated films in Golden Globes balloting, "Reader" totes a $181,000 haul since opening on Wednesday.
Miramax debuted "Doubt," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, in 15 theaters and grossed $25,030 per venue, or a glitzy $35,002 per playdate. "Doubt" will expand to 40-45 locations on Friday and widen to 1,000 or more sites on Christmas.
Elsewhere in the specialty market, several films staged important expansions in the afterglow of Thursday's Globes nominations. Continued...