Indie Box Office: ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ Hooks an Audience

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” “Friends With Kids” and “Footnote” opened strong. “The Artist” crosses the $40 million mark in its 16th week

"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," which CBS Films hooked at last year's Toronto Film Festival, opened to a strong $240,000 on 18 screens this weekend. That's an impressive $13,333 per-location average in a good weekend for specialty films.

CBS Films had expected a $10,000 per-screen average.

"This is a film that not only could attract an arthouse audience and a commercial upscale audience," but a broader audience, Steven Friedlander, CBS Films' head of distribution, told TheWrap Sunday afternoon. "It is a film that critics and audiences say, 'This was enjoyable.'"

Also read: 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' Review: Quirky Fish Tale Lacks Bite

The movie is about a British fisheries expert who is brought to Yemen by a sheik, who dreams of introducing salmon fishing to his country. Ewan McGregor plays the expert; Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas also star.

The comedy, written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by the Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom ("My Life as a Dog"), is based on Paul Torday’s novel.

Paul Webster produced the BBC Films movie.

A handful of movies opened in limited release this weekend, with generally good results. "Friends With Kids," from Roadside Attractions, took $2.2 million at 374 locations, "Footnote," from Sony Pictures Classics, took $48,076 at two locations and "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," from Magnolia, took $43,500 at two locations.

The most notable of the weekend's holdovers, The Weinstein Company's Oscar-winner "The Artist," took $2.3 million at 1,505 locations.  That put it past the $40 million mark for its run.

The PG-13 movie is now in its 16th week of release, and is clearly is slowing down. The Weinstein Company expects it will end its theatrical run with something between $45 million and $50 million.

Just below "The Artist" at the box office this weekend was "Friends With Kids," 

The R-rated comedy starring Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Adam Scott, Megan Fox, Ed Burns and writer-director-producer Jennifer Westfeldt, saw a bump of 53 percent from Friday to Saturday, and Roadside Attractions is expading the film to 600 locations next weekend.

"Footnote" is the Israeli film nominated for the best foreign language Oscar and "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" is a documentary about renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono.