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These new films struggle in limited release

From saccharine sweet middle school romance to drug-abusing teenagers and online porn moguls, it was a bad weekend for several new movies in limited release.

“Flipped,” an earnest tale of young love in the early 1960s directed by Rob Reiner, opened at 45 theaters in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Austin, Texas, and sold an estimated $234,000 worth of tickets — $5,200 on average. Warner Bros. domestic distribution President Dan Fellman said the studio has yet to decide whether it will expand the movie to more cities in coming weeks.

While receipts for the well-reviewed “Flipped” were soft, they were far better than the dismal starts for two other movies. “Middle Men,” about the beginnings of the online porn industry, grossed just $305,000 at 252 theaters, giving it an average take of only $1,210. Christopher Mallick, one of the movie’s subjects, bankrolled its $20-million budget and paid for advertising. It was distributed, for a fee, by Paramount Pictures.

The worst results were for “Twelve,” an adaptation of a novel about privileged, drug-using Manhattan teens that was directed by Joel Schumacher. The independently distributed movie first shown at the Sundance Film Festival collected $107,383 at 231 theaters, according to Hollywood.com, or $465 per location. That means about 59 people, on average, saw the movie over the weekend at each theater.

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However, the Robert Duvall drama “Get Low” continues to do decent business. On its second weekend, Sony Pictures Classics expanded the real-life-based tale about a hermit who throws his own funeral party from four to 26 theaters and collected $234,095 — $9,004 per location. Its total gross is now $365,307.

Ben Fritz


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