11 November 2012 1:14 PM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" opened with the most impressive limited gross of the year, solidifying its status as a rigorous Oscar contender.  Though not the top per screen average of the year, it opened wider - 11 theaters in seven cities, not just NY/La - than those with higher average numbers. The bigger surprise of the week was the standout performance among specialized films from Submarine Deluxe's "Chasing Ice," a film that went to a second distributor after its initial buyer backed off. The rest of the field is loaded with disappointments, led by Magnolia's highly anticipated "A Royal Affair." The next few weeks will see a steady flow of upscale, awards-oriented films including "Anna Karenina," "The Silver Linings Playbook," "Hitchcock," "The Life of Pi" and "Rust and Bone" by Thanksgiving, which will keep the top specialized as well as crossover theaters well booked. »

- Tom Brueggemann

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