Birdman: Year’s Hottest, Coolest Movie

Birdman, Alejandro G. Innaritu’s dark and quirky comedy more than quadrupled its theater count last weekend, picking up $2.5 million in the process and pushing its total to $5 million. Now the show business satire about a fading comicbook movie star (Keaton, in art-imitates-life form) mounting a play on Broadway is set to widen its footprint and push to the outer limits of the art house world.

The distributor, Fox Searchlight, plans to expand from 56 markets to 100 next week and increse its theater count from 231 to roughly 450.

Rodriguez said the studio is eyeing college towns and mid-size cities such as Des Moines, Syracuse, Dayton and Corpus Christi that have healthy cinephile crowds. If “Birdman” plays well next week — a big if given that “Interstellar” and “Big Hero 6″ debut — the studio could eventually have it in 600 theaters or more by the middle of November.

If the film stalls out, Fox Searchlight will likely bring it back to theaters when awards nominations are announced. Keaton is a leading best actor contender and the film, co-stars Edward Norton and Emma Stone and director Alejandro González Iñárritu could also factor into the race.