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Olsen twins sis’ ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’ off to solid start

October 23, 2011 |  2:58 pm

Martha Marcy May Marlene got off to a strong start at the box office

Will Elizabeth Olsen — sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — end up being a bigger box-office draw than her famous twin siblings?

"Martha Marcy May Marlene," the dark drama starring newcomer Lizzie Olsen, as she is called, got off to a strong start in limited release this weekend. The film about a young woman trying to escape the clutches of a cult collected $137,541, according to an estimate from distributor Fox Searchlight. The means that the movie, which played at two theaters in Los Angeles and two in New York, had a strong per-theater average of $34,385.

While the well-reviewed picture is off to one of best starts of any independent film released this year, it remains to be seen whether it will be embraced by a wider audience than the art-house crowd.

“We seem to be capturing two audiences: an edgy crowd who like to go to the ArcLight and then an older crowd who wants to see a well-reviewed movie,” said Sheila DeLoach, Fox Searchlight’s executive vice president.

Searchlight has had success in marketing quirkier films to a broad audience in the past, with last year's award-winning "Black Swan" collecting $106.9 million in the U.S. Still, none of the movies the distributor has released in 2011 — including "Tree of Life" and "Win Win" — have brought in more than $15 million domestically.

The top-grossing film starring an Olsen twin to date has been this year's teen flick "Beastly," which featured Mary-Kate and raked in $27.9 million back in March. The sisters' second-highest grossing movie was 1995's "It Takes Two," a family comedy that made about $20 million. (That's not counting either twin's insignificant turn in 1994's "The Little Rascals," which grossed more than $50 million.)

For now, that means it's likely the Olsen twins, now 25, may sustain a better box-office track record than their 22-year-old sister.


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'Martha Marcy May Marlene': Sean Durkin on creating Martha [video]

— Amy Kaufman

Photo: John Hawkes, left, stars with Elizabeth Olsen in "Martha Marcy May Marlene." Credit: Fox Searchlight