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Merle Streep’s ‘Iron Lady’ has strong opening

With awards pundits buzzing over Meryl Streep’s Oscar-worthy performance in “The Iron Lady,” the Margaret Thatcher biopic got off to an excellent start at the box office this weekend.

The film about the former British prime minister grossed $280,409 over the four-day holiday weekend, according to an estimate from its distributor, the Weinstein Co. Playing in two cinemas in New York and two in Los Angeles, that amounted to a strong per-theater average of $70,102.

The film appealed to a slightly more female audience, because 54% of those who saw the film were women. It also attracted an older demographic, with 72% of the crowd older than 35.

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The movie will expand to 500 to 800 theaters Jan. 13, roughly two weeks before the Academy Award nominations are announced.

Also opening in limited release was Sony Pictures Classics’ “A Separation,” Iran’s official Oscar submission. The film about a married couple trying to decide whether to flee the country to improve their child’s life took in $79,481 over the long weekend. The movie played in three locations, giving it a decent per-theater average of $26,494.

The movie fared slightly better than Focus Features’ “Pariah,” which grossed $65,093 from four theaters. The Sundance Film Festival hit about a lesbian teenager battling her conservative family opened Wednesday.

—Amy Kaufman


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