Box Office Spotlight is a weekly column, appearing Monday mornings, that contains in-depth analysis of a single new release's (or, this week, two new releases') box office performance the previous weekend.
The Movies: Two high-profile limited releases: Big-time Oscar contender 'Black Swan,' directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina losing her grip of reality, and two-year old controversy magnet 'I Love You, Phillip Morris,' directed by 'Bad Santa' screenwriters Glen Ficarra and John Requa, and starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as lovers on the run from the law.
The Target Audience: 'I Love You, Phillip Morris' opened in six theaters in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, while 'Black Swan' bowed in eighteen theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Dallas and Toronto. Both aimed largely at the plugged-in, savvy audiences who would seek these movies out, though 'Phillip Morris' likely hoped to sweep in some unsuspecting Carrey and McGregor fans as well.
The Competition: Competition from other films is less broadly relevant when it comes to limited releases like these, which people are likely to seek out, travel to watch, etc. Still, with only one semi-wide release (the misbegotten 'The Warrior's Way'), and the weekend dominated by family-oriented holdovers, this was a great time to launch some well-reviewed R-rated flicks and possible awards players. For the (largely uneventful) full weekend results, take a gander at Moviefone's Box Office Report.