LOS ANGELES - The limited release of "Black Swan" last weekend continued to demonstrate what many had suspected since the trailer blew up YouTube last summer: The movie could become an art-house sensation. At the 18 big-city locations the film played, Darren Aronofsky's supernatural ballet drama took in an average of nearly $80,000, which is a fancy numerical way of saying that audiences jammed theaters.
It's still far from resolved how well the Natalie Portman-Mila Kunis film will travel. Will it go beyond the urbane audiences that came out to see it last weekend and become a pop-culture juggernaut like "Slumdog Millionaire," another holiday-season genre bender? Or is it more akin to Aronofsky's "The Wrestler," a well-received film that, at $26 million in box office, was nonetheless mainly a niche hit?
But one weekend into its release, one thing has become clear about "Black Swan." There's a generational divide. And despite its ballet-world setting, it's a divide that cuts sharply against older audiences.
In an informal poll of theater managers, distributor Fox Searchlight found that audiences were almost overwhelmingly younger than 50, with most 35 and younger. "This is much younger than we usually get," Nancy Utley, co-president of distributor Fox Searchlight, said in an interview last week.