One of the most towering achievements in cinema this year, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, finally opened in New York and Los Angeles on Christmas Day and was rewarded with a per-screen average of $91,300 over the weekend, the best average of the year, according to Pamela McClintock of Variety. Of course, the film only played at two theaters, but still, that's mighty impressive. Nineteen cities across the country also hosted a midnight screening on Saturday; no word yet on how those screenings were received. I thought this was an astounding film when I saw it at Fantastic Fest and I can't wait to see it again.

Cinematical's Scott Weinberg has been raving about The Orphanage since he saw the Spanish ghost story at the Toronto film festival (check his Top 10 list), and the film grossed a very healthy $12,260 per screen at 19 engagements, according to estimates compiled by Leonard Klady at Movie City News. That's just slightly more than the French-language Persepolis, the animated tale about a little girl coming of age during the Islamic Revolution in Iran, which earned $12,160 per screen at seven engagements. James Rocchi reviewed the film at Cannes, and Erik Davis recently posted his interview with directors Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud.

When it played at the Toronto festival, Monika Bartyzel called John Sayles' Honeydripper "a simple and plainly executed ode to the start of rock 'n' roll." Movie City News pointed to Stephen Holden's "withering notice" in TheNew York Times, which provoked Ira Deutschman of distributor Emerging Pictures to respond: "Do people show their own ignorance–and even racism–when they have a kneejerk reaction to a story that, while set in a certain time and place, is trying to get to something a little different from what is expected?" The picture made just $2,400 per screen at four locations in New York and Los Angeles.