4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days — the critically-lauded “Romanian abortion film” that was controversially denied a chance to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film — has just passed the million-dollar mark at the American box office, reports Andrew O’Hehir of Salon.com:
After a strong and varied weekend kickoff to the spring indie-release season (as reported by indieWIRE), it appears that this year’s art-house film that could, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” has achieved a milestone of sorts. Admittedly, $1 million in cumulative box-office receipts sounds like nothing special; a hit Hollywood movie might earn that much in a couple of hours of nationwide release. When you’re talking about an abortion-themed thriller set in Communist-era Romania, and a film economy in which very few foreign-language releases make even half that much money, you begin to see why this is news. (“4 Months” is only playing on 44 screens in the United States — and that’s its widest distribution to date.)At the very least, the modest success of Cristian Mungiu’s film suggests that the theatrical audience for challenging foreign-language has not entirely evaporated, or defaulted to the safety of its living-room gizmos. What I want to know now, along with everybody else involved with the “specialty” film business, is how much more money “4 Months” has generated on-demand through IFC’s cable-TV outlet. At least for the moment, IFC’s strategy of simultaneously releasing films in theaters and on cable (but not on DVD), no longer looks like a desperate rear-guard action, or like the wave of the future. It’s working right now. . . .
By the way, a reminder for those who live in or near Vancouver: the film returns to the VanCity Theatre next week.