Best Debut and Top Per-Theater Average: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Sony Pictures Classics)
After a hugely successful run on the festival circuit (where it won major awards at both Sundance and Cannes), Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" made its way to theaters this weekend with a huge $169,702 gross from just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That made for a $42,426 average -- the third best of the year. It's also the sixth best average for a limited platform release from a first-time filmmaker, a very notable feat.
"It has been an incredible opening weekend for these first-time filmmakers when you consider that the actors are all non-professionals who have distinguished themselves both on screen and off," said Fox Searchlight senior VP Distribution Frank Rodriguez.
Since opening last Wednesday, "Beasts" has totalled $220,913. The film will open in New Orleans on Wednesday July 4, with an additional 5 markets (Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, and Dallas) slated to open on July 6, which will bring the total number of theatres to 19 by next Friday.
Most Disappointing Debut: "Last Ride" (Music Box Films)
Nearly three years after it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Music Box Films released Glendyn Ivin's Australian import "Last Ride" to a desperate whimper on a single screen. The film, which stars Hugo Weaving, Tom Russell and Anita Hegh, grossed only $838.
Most Impressive Holdover: "To Rome With Love" (Sony Pictures Classics)
After a massive limited debut last weekend, Sony Classics expanded Woody Allen's "To Rome With Love" from five to 29 screens. The film grossed a stunning $692,300 as a result for an average of $23,872. That's not too far behind the second weekend of last year's "Midnight in Paris," which averaged $33,268 from 58 screens.
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. But it's definitely off to a great start with a total standing at $1,232,972 after 10 days.
Milestones: "Bernie" (Millennium Entertainment )
Millennium Entertainment continued 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 tenth weekend. Dropping from 220 to 166 screens, the film took in another $322,981. That made for a average of $1,946 and new milestone as it crossed the $7 million mark to hit $7,263,297. The film has now out-grossed previous Linklater offerings like "Before Sunset," "Before Sunrise" and "A Scanner Darkly" and should surpass the director's highest grossing indie, "Dazed and Confused," within the next week or so.
Check out the full box office chart.