'The King's Speech' enjoys regal opening in four theaters
The historical drama about Britain's King George VI and his unusual relationship with a speech therapist brought in a total of $349,791 from two locations in Los Angeles and two in New York, according to an estimate from distributor the Weinstein Co. Its per-theater average of $87,448 was the highest for any movie released this year.
The picture played for only three days, despite the holiday, as it opened on Friday.
The Weinstein Co. is hoping to spin largely positive reviews and good word-of-mouth for the film, which stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter, into box-office and Oscar gold. "The King's Speech" is widely considered to be a top awards contender, and the Weinstein Co. will expand the film's presence in theaters slowly over the next two months in hopes of taking advantage of expected nominations from critics' organizations, the Golden Globes and, ultimately, the Oscars.
The spectacular start in four theaters this weekend indicates that "The King's Speech" already has generated must-see buzz among at least a sliver of art-house moviegoers in big cities.
Also in limited release, the James Franco drama "127 Hours" continued to expand theater locations this weekend with good but not great results for Fox Searchlight. The true story of a hiker whose arm becomes trapped under a boulder brought in $2.3 million over the five-day holiday weekend from 293 theaters, up from 108 the previous weekend. Its total gross is now $4.4 million.
Meanwhile, the new 3-D version of "The Nutcracker," brutalized by reviewers, opened to a weak $89,208 over the five-day weekend at 42 locations.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: Colin Firth, left, and Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech." Credit: Laurie Sparham / The Weinstein Co.