'Birdman' warmly received at Academy screening as Edward Norton and company hold court

October 20, 2014 5:37 AM

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BEVERLY HILLS — Fox Searchlight's "Birdman" flew into limited release this weekend with a fantastic $103,750-per-screen average and plenty of Oscar potential. This comes on the heels of a New York press blitz built around a closing night New York Film Festival berth for the film and with the expectation for limited availability from the ensemble and key crew members during the upcoming awards season (and in lieu of a proper Los Angeles premiere, to boot). At the film's official Academy screening Sunday afternoon, Alejandro González Iñárritu's thematically rich, formally inventive opus drew a sizable turnout (800 or so people in the 1,000-seat venue) and a warm reception that seemed to indicate this one will do well with voters.

Nevertheless, I'm mostly against taking reportage from Academy screenings to heart. So take any or all of this with a grain of salt. Generally this kind of thing is only an element of the equation and not necessarily indicative of a whole lot; just last year we saw reports of the sky falling on film...

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