You may remember “Weekend, the 2011 indie film about two British guys who meet in a club one night and wind up in a swirl of sex, drugs, and romance — only to have one of them leave for two years.
The film made a name for its writer/director Andrew Haigh, which led to him acting as co-producer of the HBO series Looking. It’s also considered one of the best modern gay films.
And now, in a delightful irony, it seems that the Vatican‘s limiting the film’s Italian release to a mere handful of screens may only be adding to its success there.
Variety reports that Weekend earned the country’s highest per-screen average this weekend, $6,221 compared to $4,217 for The Divergent Series: Allegiant, which showed on 376 screens. That compares to just 10 for Weekend, which took in a $63,000 first-weekend total.
Last week, bookings for Weekend were abruptly reduced to ten screens after the Italian Bishop’s Conference Film Evaluation Commission categorized the film as “not advised, unusable and scabrous (indecent or salacious).”
The Vatican owns many of the country’s art-film houses and though it doesn’t operate them it can weigh in on what’s shown there.
Yet according to Weekend’s Italian distributor, the film was the top per-screen earner in Rome, taking in more than $17,000 from one art-house screen alone–more than any other single movie screen in the same time period in the capital, including multiplexes.