Bella Movie Continues Phenomenal Success Despite Limited Release

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bella Movie Continues Phenomenal Success Despite Limited Release Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 5,

Hollywood, CA ( — Bella, the little movie that could, continued its phenomenal success despite it still being shown in about 5 percent of the number of movie theaters as major national releases. The film held steady in the 17th slot overall and showed its popularity with the third highest per theater sales of the top 20 movies last weekend.

Bella stunned movie critics on its opening weekend at the end of October by taking in $1.3 million at just 165 theaters.

The movie firmly established itself in second place that weekend with $7,784 on average at each of the theaters where it opened this weekend.

New cinemas have picked up the film in existing cities and Bella is now able to be seen in 186 theaters in a few dozen markets across the nation.

According to Box Office Mojo, which tracks daily movie sales figures, Bella took in another $1,001,000 as the 17th top grossing movie last weekend and it stood third with per-theater sales of $5,381.

Only the new films "American Gangster" and "Bee Movie" sold more tickets per theater — meaning that Bella would be the third-highest rated movie for the weekend if it was shown in the same 3,000+ venues as those two movies.

"Bella had another strong weekend with very little advertising," producer Sean Wolfington told

"Bella was the only film in the Top 20 on less than 300 screens and it had an impressive number 17 ranking," he explained.

Wolfington was excited that the two movies with more per-screen sales both cost $100-150 million to make and more to market them nationwide. Bella cost a mere $3 million to produce and has seen little in the way of advertising and publicity.

Bella also maintained its number one ranking on Yahoo (American Gangster is Number 2) and on the Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes Fan Sites.

"As a result of the incredible momentum, we are planning a wide release before Thanksgiving," Wolfington told "To make this happen we need to find investors to give Bella a $5 to $10 million loan or advertising for the wide release, so please let us know if you know anyone."

Those strong sales figures are expected to continue as another 13 cities see Bella premier next weekend — including Albuquerque, Des Moines, Durango (Colorado), El Paso, Green Bay, Honolulu, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Tucson.

Hopefully the numbers will be good news for producer Leo Severino as a lackluster opening weekend could have killed the film. He called this weekend’s sales figures "the biggest three days" of his life.

The movie’s distributors gave Bella two weeks to prove it was profitable enough for the distribution company to take it to a wider audience. Time will tell whether or not it took in enough for a wider release to 500, 1,000 or more theaters.

In total, Bella has taken in $2,589,000 in only two weeks in a limited release and media outlets are starting to take notice.

In a report on how well Bella is doing, the Dallas Morning News described it as, "The little movie that has caught the attention of some big fans" with an "impressive" start.

"The winner of the 2005 Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival has struck a chord with its pro-life message and stands a good chance at finding a wider audience with its solid opening," the newspaper said.

Bella boasts a higher opening screen average than previous Latin releases this year such as “El Cantante” which generated $1,993 per theater at 540 cinemas and “Ladron que roba el ladron” which grossed $1,393 per theater from 340 across the country.

A third movie geared towards Hispanics, “Feel the Noise,” only took in $1,110 per engagement from a whopping 1,015 theaters.