In limited release, Frost/Nixon, Ron Howard's adaptation of Peter Morgan's stage play, had the highest per-screen average of the weekend ($60,000 each at three screens), according to estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo, but it's not an indie. Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire ($18,026 per screen at 78 theaters) and Gus Van Sant's Milk ($17,071 per screen at 99 theaters) held up very well as they expanded in their fourth and second weeks, respectively, but we talked about them last week.
Instead, let's look at the resiliency of Philippe Claudel's I've Loved You So Long. Now in its seventh week, the French-language drama starring Kristin-Scott Thomas still had the 7th-highest per-screen average among all movies ($3,020 average, 51 screens). The film's cumulative take is a modest $1.76 million, which likely is a good return for distributor Sony Pictures Classics, and it will undoubtedly do very well when it's released on DVD in a couple of months.
My personal opinion is close to what Jeffrey D. Anderson expressed: "These characters are always subservient to the furthering of the story; the story itself squashes them." The popular appeal of the film is readily apparent, though: (1) Kristin Scott Thomas has a degree of name recognition in the arthouse world; (2) she gives an exquisite, finely-tuned performance; (3) it's in French, which is the default language for anguish and loss; (4) it revolves around a mother and her family, not a romance, which is a huge, refreshing relief; (5) it's rarely cinematic and feels much more like a televised stage play, which is oddly reassuring for some audiences; (6) it features a closing twist, which I found infuriating rather than enlightening, but twists always drive word of mouth.
Have you seen any films in limited release that you're recommending to friends?