December 6, 2010 / 1:30 AM / in 7 years

"Black Swan" bow breaks studio record

<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>

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.

In a simultaneous debut in two theaters and video-on-demand, director Andrew Jarecki’s mystery thriller “All Good Things,” starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, collected $40,000, or a better-than-good $20,000 per venue.

Elsewhere in the specialty market, the Weinstein Co. expanded period drama “The King’s Speech” by just two theaters for a total six and grossed $325,874, or an enviable $54,312 per venue. “Speech” -- whose Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush have drawn broad kudos-season notices for their marquee performances -- totes $808.874 million in cumulative box office through two weekends.

Searchlight’s mountain-climbing survival drama “127 Hours” added 154 locations for a total 433 and rang up $1.6 million. That represented an acceptable $3,695 per site as its total reached $6.6 million.

Editing by Bob Tourtellotte

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