Anne Hathaway didn't hide from personal troubles. Her new film didn't hide from audiences.
Hathaway's Rachel Getting Married stood out in a limited-release debut, grossing $275,000 at only nine theaters, Exhibitor Relations estimates said today. No weekend film made more money per screen—a whopping $30,556—than the indie-minded family drama.
Overall, Beverly Hills Chihuahua ($29 million) topped the box office, while Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist ($12 million) scored with young women.
Rachel Getting Married seemed to benefit from strong reviews and Oscar buzz for Hathaway, who stars as a choppy-haired, chain-smoking rehab graduate (and, note, not the titular bride).
The movie also likely got a boost from an all-out promotional tour that saw Hathaway not only make stops on David Letterman, Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, but talk openly about how she spent her summer. Her tabloid-tainted summer.
"I broke up with my Italian boyfriend [Raffaello Follieri] and two weeks later he was sent to prison for fraud. I mean, we've all been there, am I right, ladies?" Hathaway joked on last night's SNL.
Well, at least the experience was worth a good gag, if not a killer opening weekend.
Other box-office highlights:
Michael Cera is a chick magnet. Sony said 62 percent of Nick and Nora's audience was female. Predictably, the iPod-powered movie also played well with the iPod generation, pulling 55 percent of its ticket buyers from the under-21 set.
Nick and Nora's specific appeal paled in comparison to Beverly Hills Chihuahua's broad family appeal. The talking-dog comedy accounted for about a third of all tickets sold among the weekend's top movies.
Even with tie-in weather in Los Angeles on Saturday, the intermittent windshield-wiper drama (and Greg Kinnear Oscar vehicle) Flash of Genius died in a wide-release launch, grossing only $2.3 million from nearly 1,100 theaters, and finishing outside the Top 10.
The thriller Blindness opened at even more theaters than Flash of Genius (1,690)—and made even less money ($2 million). The movie was beset by bad reviews, and a protest by the National Federation of the Blind.
In the battle of the bombs, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People blew up the biggest. The magazine-world comedy, featuring Kirsten Dunst, opened at more theaters than both Flashof Genius and Blindness (1,750), and made only $1.4 million.
Though it slipped to No. 2, Shia LaBeouf's Eagle Eye ($17.7 million) had a good second weekend, with business down only 39 percent from its debut.
Bill Maher's religion-debunking Religulous ($3.5 million off 502 theaters) made more money, per theater, than any film in the Top 10, outside of Beverly Hills Chihuahua. That means the movie won the ideological box office war with the Michael Moore-tweaking comedy An American Carol ($3.8 million off 1,639 theaters) and the faith-driven Fireproof ($4.07 million off 852 theaters).
Fireproof did enjoy another week of solid advance ticket sales. Overall, the $500,000 movie has made a miraculous $12.5 million.
Spike Lee's Miracle at St. Anna ($1.7 million; $6.3 million overall) was smited—and bounced from the Top 10 after just one weekend.
After two strong weekends in limited release, Ed Harris' Appaloosa broke wide with okay results ($5 million; $5.6 million overall).
The Dark Knight ($830,000; $525.8 million overall) downsized to about 660 theaters. Warner Bros' distibution executive Jeff Goldstein said today the movie will probably remain in theaters right up until its DVD release, sometime in December, before returning (around Oscar nomination time) in January.
Here's a recap of the top-grossing weekend films based on Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations: