"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.'"
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.
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 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.