I can't help but think that the huge audiences that flocked to American Gangsterthis weekend cut into the box office for indie films. it's a big-budget, star-driven, "based on real life" vehicle that has nothing to do with the Iraq War or other Serious Issues, yet it's an adult drama that screams quality. While there were no big break-out numbers posted, though, two docs performed quite respectably, according to estimates compiled by Leonard Klady at Movie City News.

Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten averaged $9,450 on two screens in New York for distributor IFC Films. Our own Jeffrey M. Anderson found the doc to be a frustrating experience, chiefly because director Julien Temple "has never figured out how to move past a short attention span. He's constantly worried that we'll lose interest, even in a story as ferocious and passionate as Joe Strummer's." Other reviews were more positive. The film is also available as part of the IFC InTheaters video on demand service nationwide.

Darfur Now "
spotlights six individuals," according to Cinematical's Christopher Campbell, "some of whose stories directly inter-weave, who are affected by the tragedy in Darfur and have been successful at making a difference." The film itself did not generate much enthusiasm among critics, but no doubt its subject matter helped the doc to earn $7,800 at three screens in New York and Los Angeles for distrib Warner Independent.

Sidney Lumet's widely-praised Before the Devil Knows You're Dead expanded into 35 theaters and had the highest per-screen average ($9,830) among limited engagements for distributor ThinkFilm, according to Mr. Klady.