Each Tuesday, Indiewire publishes a box office chart that sorts the final weekend numbers of all specialty releases by per-theater average. Check out the full chart here, but we’ve called out some highlights:
Top Per-Theater Average: “Moonrise Kingdom” (Focus Features)
“Kingdom” followed two stunning weekends in very limited release with an impressive expansion from 16 to 96 theaters. The result saw it jump 80% and into the overall Top 10, where it outgrossed “Dark Shadows” despite playing on 1,000 fewer screens. “Kingdom” took in $1,559,670, which made for a potent $16,247 per-theater average, the best of any film in release wide or limited. The film’s total now stands at $3,731,001.
“‘Moonrise Kingdom”s box office momentum was strong Saturday with many theaters experiencing near or full sell out conditions carrying over from Friday,” Focus Features said in a statement. “The new opening markets are very strong, all are generating impressive grosses.”
The film will expand again this Friday, and if it can continue the momentum of its first three weekends, Focus could be looking at a major indie breakout. At the very least, it should easily top the $11.9 million Anderson’s last live-action film, “The Darjeeling Limited,” grossed in 2007.
Best Debut: “Safety Not Guaranteed” (FilmDistrict)
On nine screens, FilmDistrict’s Sundance Film Festival pick-up “Safety Not Guaranteed” managed a solid debut, taking in $97,762. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, “Safety” stars Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass and follows three employees of a magazine as they investigate an ad that reads: “Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.“
“Safety” averaged $10,862 per theater this weekend, and notably was released in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland. The latter two markets are unusual and risky launch pads for a first weekend, but the strategy seems to have paid off and suggests that the film may have crossover potential. We will find out as “Safety” expands to a total of 17 markets and close to 50 theaters June 15, and then to a total of 37 markets and roughly 120 theaters June 22.
Most Disappointing Debuts: “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” (IFC Films) and “Bel Ami” (Magnolia Pictures)
Despite the collective presence of Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman, IFC and Magnolia couldn’t get good numbers out of “Peace, Love & Misunderstanding” or “Bel Ami.” The former was released on 30 screens and managed a so-so $105,960 gross, averaging $3,418 per theater, while the latter did even worse on 15 screens, grossing $38,018 and averaging just $2,535.
Notably, both films also are being released on VOD (where “Bel Ami” has already been available for weeks), a platform likely to bode well for both (though, of course, numbers are currently unavailable).
Most Impressive Holdover: “5 Broken Cameras” (Kino Lorber)
Palestinian-Israeli documentary “5 Broken Cameras,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, held on strong during an exclusive run at New York’s Film Forum. It grossed $7,736 over its second weekend, impressively up 16% from last weekend despite no additional theaters. Distributor Kino Lorber will expand the film to San Francisco, Boston and DC later this month, with further expansion through the summer. Its total now stands at $22,787.
Milestone: “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Fox Searchlight)
Finding a place in the overall Top 10 alongside “Moonrise Kingdom” was John Madden’s older-audience skewing “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” In its sixth weekend, the film also continued to prove itself one of 2012’s true indie breakouts as it crossed the $30 million mark.
On 1,298 screens (up slightly from 1,294 last weekend), the film — which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson as a group of seniors retiring to India — dropped just 27% to gross a fantastic $3,267,156 over the weekend. That gave it a $2,517 per-theater average and put it in the overall top six. The film’s total now stands at $31,040,735.
The film is by far the highest-grossing indie of 2012 thus far, and a final gross north of $40 million is assured. “Marigold” has already grossed more than $100 million worldwide (more on that here).
Check out the full box office chart.