Two very different small-budget films — a science fiction love story and a Holocaust drama — debuted in limited release this weekend, but both seemed to resonate with audiences.
Fox Searchlight opened "Another Earth" in four theaters, where it collected $78,413, according to the studio. That amounts to a good per-theater average of $19,600 for the film, which premiered to positive buzz at the Sundance Film Festival in January. The movie, which is the feature debut for director Mike Cahill and stars up and-coming actress Brit Marling, will debut in six new markets next weekend.
Meanwhile, "Sarah's Key," an adaptation of author Tatiana de Rosnay's popular book about World War II, fared even better. The film, which stars Kristin Scott Thomas as a Parisian journalist writing about a girl whose family was torn apart by the Vél d'Hiv roundup in 1942, was released by the Weinstein Co. in five theaters and grossed $117,045 for a per-theater average of $23,409.
It remains to be seen whether either film will become more than just an art-house hit. Few independent movies have been able to break out and become more commercial sensations this summer — among the exceptions are Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" and Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which this weekend became the 25th documentary ever to pass the $5-million milestone at the U.S. box office.
— Amy Kaufman