By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 6, 2009 at 5:59AM
Jason Reitman's "Up In The Air" found stunning numbers in its first weekend of limited release, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier this afternoon. The Paramount release - which led the National Board of Review winners last week - grossed $1,100,000 from only 15 screens. That amounted to a scorching $73,333 average - among the 25 highest of all time and the year's best specialty debut behind only "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
On the exact same weekend two years ago, Reitman's "Juno" opened on 7 theaters and actually found a smaller per-theater-average. "Juno" - which went on to gross $143,495,265 in North America alone - grossed $413,869 in its opening frame, averaging $59,124. That "Air" topped that bodes very, very well for its future. The film - starring George Clooney as a man hired by companies to fire their employees - will expand next Friday before going wide on Christmas Day.
The second best per-theater-average this weekend came care of the third weekend of Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," which has has now grossed a stunning $454,596 without screening in more than two theaters. The Sony Pictures Classics release grossed another $90,288 this week, a slight 23% drop from last weekend, averaging $45,144. At this point, the film has better momentum than any other Almodovar film. Currently, the highest grossing Almodovarian total is 2006's "Volver," which grossed $12,899,867.
After four impressive weekends, Lionsgate's "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire" showed serious signs that its momentum has stalled considerably. The film, stagnant on 664 screens, fell 67% from Thanksgiving weekend, a sharper drop than any film in the top 10, including "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." The film, which received five Spirit Award nominations last week but was snubbed by the National Board of Review, grossed an estimated $2,310,000, averaging $3,469 and taking its total to $36,280,000. Sharp drops aside, though, thats a substantially impressive cume - the highest for a specialty platform release this year.
Other notable holdovers included Richard Linklater's "Me and Orson Welles" - the DIY release of which was profiled in indieWIRE earlier this week. On 5 screens (up one from last weekend), the film held on decently after its promising debut, grossing $40,745 and averaging $8,149. That gave the Zac Efron-Claire Danes period film a $150,198 total after ten days.
Apparition's "The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day" continued an aggressive expansion in its sixth weekend. The Troy Duffy-directed sequel to DVD phenomenon (and theatrical failure) "Boondock Saints" expanded to 432 screens and grossed $884,489, averaging $2,047 and bringing its total to an impressive $7,180,063.
Finally, in wide release, Miramax's parade of financial failures continued with Kirk Jones's remake of Guiseppe Tornatore's 1990 Italian film, "Everybody's Fine." The Robert deNiro family drama grossed $4,027,000 from 2,133 screens, barely making the overall top ten and averaging just $1,800.
Lionsgate fared better with its European remake, Jim Sheridan's "Brothers," which is based on Susanne Bier's 2004 Danish film. Featuring Natalie Portman, Tobey Maguire, and Jake Gyllenhaal as a family facing the Maguire character's troubled return from war, the film grossed a fair $9,700,000 from 2,088 screens, averaging $4,646.
Check back with indieWIRE Tuesday for updated box office numbers.
indieWIRE:BOT tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the indieWIRE Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at email@example.com by the end of the day each Monday..