'Bella' Holds Fast at Box Office Despite Competition

Box office underdog "Bella" made a strong standing over the weekend despite competition from major studio releases.

The film grossed a total of $916,441 in 276 theaters over the weekend, giving "Bella" the sixth highest per-theater average for any movie shown. Total gross for "Bella" rose to $3,780,932, which surpasses the production's $3 million budget.

Hollywood premiers had a mild showing over the weekend, with holiday comedy "Fred Claus," earning the highest ranking at No. 3 and bringing in $18.5 million. United Artist release "Lions for Lambs," starring Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Meryl Streep, took a disappointing fourth place, earning total of $6,70,434. The film marks Cruise's lowest nationwide opening since 1986's "The Color of Money," which took in just over $6.3 million.

Earning this weekend's No. 1 spot was the animated "Bee Movie," starring Jerry Seinfeld, which bumped last week's winner, the Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe drama "American Gangster," to No. 2.

But while "Bella," which has been keeping afloat in the box office top 20 for its three weeks of release, may not be a top 10 contender at the moment, chances for the film to rise in the rankings continues to increase, with the movie scheduled to open in over 200 new theaters this coming weekend – a phenomenon that producer Sean Wolfington credits to fans of "Bella."

"Because of your support, this little film with a big heart continues to touch and transform people's lives," producer Sean Wolfington told LifeNews.com. "Because of last weekend's success we are adding 200 theaters this weekend … before Thanksgiving."

According to Wolfington, a strong showing for "Bella" this weekend will give the film an even wider release during Thanksgiving, one of the most popular weekends for filmgoers.

"It could also put us in a position to potentially get an Oscar Nomination which can broaden our reach and Bella's impact even more," added the producer, according to LifeNews.com.

In the movie, famed Mexican actor Eduardo Verástegui plays José, a rising soccer star whose career abruptly ends after he's involved in a tragic accident that leaves a girl dead. He finds himself working as a chef in an upscale Mexican restaurant in New York – a job that leads him to cross paths with TV actress Tammy Blanchard, who plays Nina, a waitress who recently learns that she's pregnant. After Nina is fired for her repeated tardiness, José follows to console her and learns of her pregnancy and her plans for abortion. He decides to talk her out of it. In helping her, José finds renewal and atonement.

On the Web: Local showtimes and locations at www.bellathemovie.com.