After setting a per-screen revenue record with a $1.8 million premiere playing in only 18 theaters, and becoming an early Oscar favorite in the process, Lionsgate’s "Precious" will experience only a moderate expansion this weekend.
After opening in four cities, New York, L.A., Chicago and Atlanta, the film will expand to 175 venues, with Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Houston, Dallas and San Francisco adding runs.
"This isn’t a sprint for us, it’s a marathon," said Lionsgate distribution president David Spitz, noting that the studio has tentative plans to roll out "Precious" into 600-700 theaters nationwide on Nov. 20.
Also starting its run in early November, Spitz added that last year’s Academy Awards best-picture winner, Fox Searchlight’s "Slumdog Millionaire,"didn’t expand it’s run to over 500 venues until mid-to-late December.
"’Precious’ is a challening film," he said. "We feel like we need recommendations and word-of-mouth in order to slowly build this thing."