Good morning from Des Moines, where last night I scored the last chicken lip of the 2009 Iowa State Fair...
Disney released its latest nonfiction release of 2009, X GAMES 3D THE MOVIE, on 1,399 screens, the largest opening for a doc since Disney released EARTH in May. This time, however, the results were not EARTH-shattering, as X GAMES managed just $572 per screen and a total gross of $800K. Since the film was announced as a one-week only theatrical release, the ESPN Films-branded documentary may have difficulty making it to $1M by Friday.
UPDATE: X GAMES ended its one-week run with nearly $1.4 million, making it the 7th nonfiction title of 2009 to reach the million dollar mark and the third this year for Disney.
Fairing better was the release of Spike Lee's PASSING STRANGE: THE MOVIE, a filming of the same-name Tony-award winning Broadway musical written by Stew. The film was recently announced as the kickoff to IFC's new Sundance Selects series, a Video-on-Demand service which debuts this Wednesday on Comcast, Cox and Cablevision. It had its theatrical debut on a single screen at NYC's IFC Center and managed to gross more than $18K for the weekend.
In other box office news, IT MIGHT GET LOUD continued on 7 screens, cooling a bit in its second weekend to an average of $7,429. Its cume is now $198K. Meanwhile, THE COVE is continuing to defy expectations (although not in the ways that one would hope), slipping 40% from the previous week and now down to 29 theaters and total box office of $537K.
Last week, we wrote about THE COVE's producer Fisher Stevens sending a letter to Nikke Finke protesting THE COVE's exclusion from the Tokyo Film Festival. We noted that drawing attention to a festival rejection was rarely a good PR move for filmmakers, thinking that Stevens' email was some rogue act. But we'd missed what had previously been something of a concerted effort by THE COVE's filmmakers to draw attention to what they described as the Japanese government's efforts to stop the film from screening in that country. It began as early as July, when THE COVE director Louis Psihoyos spoke to the IDA's Sara Vizcarrando:
The Tokyo Film Festival called today. They said that, ironically, the theme of this year's fest is the environment. Not the top director but one of the directors of the fest said it would be hypocritical of us not to show that film."