At the art house this weekend, moviegoers preferred modern-day Philadelphia to 19th-century Russia.
The quirky dramedy "Silver Linings Playbook" and the period drama "Anna Karenina" both debuted in limited release this weekend, but the former film proved intriguing to a bigger audience. The film, which stars Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, took in $458,430 from 16 theaters, according to an estimate from distributor the Weinstein Co.
The Joe Wright-directed "Anna Karenina," featuring Keira Knightley as Leo Tolstoy's classic literary heroine, collected $315,395 in the same number of theaters. That amounted to a respectable $19,712 per-location average, though "Silver Linings" garnered a stronger $28,652 per-cinema.
Financed by the Weinstein Co. for $21 million, "Silver Linings" stars Cooper as a man struggling with bipolar disorder who befriends an equally troubled young girl, played by Lawrence. The movie was supposed to expand to theaters nationwide over Thanksgiving, but last week the Weinstein Co. decided to put the movie in only 400 theaters on Nov. 21.
The studio said the last-minute switch-up was made in the hopes that strong word-of-mouth from early moviegoers will ultimately turn the film into a commercial hit. However, early industry research showed the movie was set to open with only a lackluster $10 million in wide release -- another reason the studio likely made the release change.
David Glasser, the independent studio's chief operating officer, said he was encouraged by the opening weekend's results and said he's optimistic the new release plan will work as hoped.
"This is right where we wanted to be -- we have a four-quadrant movie that women are bringing men to and they don't feel like they're being drug to it kicking and screaming," he said, noting that the film received an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.
"Anna Karenina," meanwhile, reteams Knightley and Wright for the third time after their work together on two other period dramas, "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement." The latest adaptation of Tolstoy's 1870s novel stars Knightley as an adulteress who is torn between leaving her faithful husband and child for her younger, more passionate lover.
The film appealed heavily to women this weekend, attracting a 70% female audience. Roughly 52% was younger than 35, and distributor Focus Features noted that 80% of those who saw the film said they had a college degree. The movie, which has received mixed reaction from critics, will be playing in 64 theaters by Thanksgiving.