Best Debut and Top Per-Theater Average: "To Rome With Love" (Sony Pictures Classics)
On 5 screens, Sony Classics released Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" to very impressive numbers. The film -- which features a typical-for-Allen all-star cast including Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg -- grossed a huge $361,359, averaging $72,272. That's among the 35 best per-theater-averages of all time, and the second best for 2012 (after "Moonrise Kingdom").
It suggests Sony Classics' strategy of releasing Allen's work in the summer is continuing to pay off. Last year, "Midnight in Paris" grossed over $56 million after a late May debut, becoming the highest grossing film of Allen's career. Whether "Rome" -- which received much weaker reviews than "Paris" -- can gross even half that (which alone would make it a considerable success) remains to be seen.
Most Disappointing Debut: "The Invisible War" (Cinedigm)
Kirby Dick's acclaimed documentary "The Invisible War" hit 4 theaters this weekend to modest results. The film -- which details the horrifying state of rape in the military -- grossed $16,500 for a $4,125 per-theater average. This is a particular shame given the power the film holds to expose a remarkably problematic issue. Check out Indiewire's interview with Dick here.
Most Impressive Holdovers: "The Intouchables" (The Weinstein Company) and "Bernie" (Millennium)
While "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and "Moonrise Kingdom" have deservedly been getting "best in show" praise in terms of the indie box office, two other films kept chugging along this weekend that deserve notice in thmselves.
Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano's "The Intouchables" dropped from 77 to 74 theaters for its fifth frame. It lost an impressive 2% of its grosses as a result and took in a $346,708, averaging $4,685. That helped it cross the $2 million mark, giving it a new total of $2,093,516.The film is already a massive hit overseas, taking in over $343 million, with $166 million in its native France alone.
Millennium Entertainment calso ontinued to find legs via Richard Linklater's dark comedy "Bernie." Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, the film managed strong numbers in its ninth weekend. Dropping 80 theaters to 220, the film dropped lost only 21% of its grosses as it took in another $485,881 averaging $2,209. That's notably a higher per-theater-average than last weekend, a notable feat for a film this late in its release. That gave it an impressive new total of $6,698,805. The film has nearly tripled the combined gross of Linklater's previous two films, "Me and Orson Welles" and "Fast Food Nation."
Milestones: "Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus Features)
After four straight weekends of having the best per-theater-average of any film in release, Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" finally lost the crown to "Rome" this weekend. But it still held on exceptionally strong, expanding from 178 to 395 screens and jumping 52% in grosses. The Wes Anderson-directed film grossed $3,394,430, averaging a potent $8,593.
"'Moonrise' continues its box office momentum with big grosses in the new opening markets/theaters, and in many holdover houses where the Friday and Saturday numbers increased from last weekend (or experienced very modest drops)," Focus said in a statement. "Many houses had sellouts on Friday and Saturday."
The film's new total is $11,613,828. It is having another expansion this upcoming Friday, and if it can continue the momentum, Focus Features could be looking at a major indie breakout. At the very least, it will easily top $11.9 million Anderson's last live action film, "The Darjeeling Limited," grossed in 2007 any minute now.
Check out the full box office chart.