According to Friday estimates, Lee Daniels' "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire" is showing no signs of slowing down as it expands. The Lionsgate release went from 18 to 174 screens this weekend, expanding in its initial four markets of Atlanta, NYC, LA and Chicago and opening in Washington, San Francisco, Philadelphia Houston and Dallas. The result was a $1,940,000 gross - placing it in the overall top five despite playing on only a small fraction of the screens of its competitors.
The numbers were also good enough for a massive $11,149 per-theater-average, and puts "Precious" on track to gross $5-7 million over the weekend. That would potentially place it third overall behind only "2012" and "Disney's A Christmas Carol," and give it an average in the $30-40,000 range.
Likely to top "Precious"'s per-theater average, though on only 4 screens, was the debut of Wes Anderson's Roald Dahl adaptation "Fantastic Mr. Fox." The film packed houses in New York and Los Angeles, with grosses estimated to be around $70,000. That could put the Fox Searchlight film in $220,000-$260,000 range for the weekend, averaging a very promising $55-65,000. Besides "Precious"'s stunning $104,000 average last weekend, 2009's top PTA comes care of Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story," which averaged $57,991 from 4 screens. "Mr. Fox" could very well top that.
Check back tomorrow afternoon for a full report on the weekend's box office.