Danny Boyle‘s “Slumdog Millionaire” was high atop the iW BOT this weekend, according to initial estimates from Rentrak early this afternoon. Screening in 10 locations, “Millionaire” scored one of the best per-theater-averages of any film this year. Grossing $350,434, its $35,043 average even rivaled “The Dark Knight‘s whopping $36,283 average last July. It certainly found the best specialty numbers so far this season, beating recent $30,000+ openings from “Changeling,” “Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom” and “Rachel Getting Married.” Since opening Wednesday, the Fox Searchlight Oscar hopeful has grossed an impressive $418,131.
The other notable opener this weekend was IFC Films‘ release of Arnaud Desplechin‘s “A Christmas Tale.” On 7 screens, the French film grossed a mild $65,408, finding a $9,344 average. That places it ahead of recent French export “I’ve Loved You So Long,” which averaged $8,023 in its first frame, but behind the huge $21,213 opening average “Tell No One” found this summer. But with glowing reviews on its side and the holidays approaching, “Tale”‘s box office possibilities still look quite promising.
Among holdovers, last week’s iW BOT topper, Mark Herman‘s “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” expanded from 17 to 38 screens and saw a minimal drop in per-theater-average. “Boy,” Asa Butterfield, Vera Farmiga and David Thewlis, grossed $490,000, averaging $12,895. That takes its cume to $843,293 as it continues to expand over the following weeks.
“Boy”‘s fellow sophomore releases, Darren Lynn Bousman‘s horror-musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and Mabrouk El Mechri‘s “JCVD,” didn’t quite hold up as well. “JCVD” expanded to 22 screens and grossed $63,453, averaging $2,884 and taking its total to $90,518. “Repo!” remained on 8 screens, grossing just $17,836, a 67% drop from last weekend. Its $2,230 average helped take the Lionsgate release’s total to a disappointing $89,635.
indieWIRE will publish its weekly box office column on Monday evening and the full iW BOT chart on Tuesday afternoon. Get the latest in the indieWIRE Box Office section.