"Black Swan" bow breaks studio record

Sun Dec 5, 2010 8:26pm EST
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By Carl Diorio

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The weekend went swimmingly for Fox Searchlight's Natalie Portman stars in "Black Swan" and other adult-targeting art films and prestige pictures.

An atmospheric suspense thriller about ballet dancers directed by Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler"), "Swan" dove into 18 theaters in eight markets and came up roses with $1.4 million for a Searchlight-record $77,459 per venue.

One of the holiday season's key platform pictures, "Swan" is set for an incremental expansion during the next few weeks and will reach at least 60 locations next weekend.

"We may increase that further, based on the weekend," Searchlight senior vice-president Sheila DeLoach said. "But this isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. So we don't want to just blow it out, but we may do a few more theaters than we had planned next weekend."

Another well-reviewed prestige movie -- Roadside Attraction's "I Love You Phillip Morris," starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor -- wooed $113,200 from audiences in six opening venues. That represented $18,886 per engagement for an encouraging launch to the dramedy's platform campaign.

Roadside spokesman Howard Cohen said executives were particularly pleased with the big bow, as "Morris" boasted a relatively modest marketing budget.

Calling Morris an "underdog" in opening opposite the higher-profile "Swan," Cohen added, "We think we came through with shining colors."

In a curious coincidence, "Swan" and "Morris" both drew pre-release buzz for their same-sex stars' locking lips in the pics. Portman and co-star Mila Kunis do the honors in the former.   Continued...

<p>Cast member Natalie Portman arrives at a screening of the film "Black Swan" at the closing night gala of AFI Fest 2010 in Hollywood, California November 11, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>