Top Per-Theater Average and Best Debut: "Bully" (The Weinstein Company)
After weeks of controversy surrounding the MPAA's decision to give the film a 'R' rating -- and the subsequent decision to release it unrated -- The Weinstein Company's "Bully" was released on 5 screens in New York and LA this weekend. The result was a strong $116,472 gross, averaging $23,294. That made it the best documentary debut of 2012 so far (in terms of per-theater-average), and the second best limited debut overall (after the $23,764 "Footnote" averaged four weekends ago).
Considering the huge amount of publicity that the film has received in the past month or so -- most of it coming as a result of the MPAA decision -- these strong initial numbers were expected. The real test for the film comes in the next few weeks. The Weinstein Company will broaden the film on April 13th, taking it to 50 markets and 125-150 theaters.
Worst Debut: "I Kissed a Vampire" (Monterey Media)
It's official: Having a vampire in your movie does not guarantee success. Directed by Chris Nolan (no, not that Chris Nolan -- but the one arguably best known for directing a 1996 episode of "Silk Stalkings" and acting in a few episodes of 1980s teen show "You Can't Do That On Television"), Monterey Media-released "I Kissed a Vampire" follows a "goth rocker with a growing thirst for blood." On 11 screens, "Vampire" grossed just $1,380. That made for a dismal $125 per-theater-average. Based on the average ticket price of $7.83, a total of roughly 176 people saw the film over the weekend, and its doubtful there will be too many more.
Doc Breakout: "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" (Magnolia)
A look at 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" went from 27 to 44 screens in its fourth weekend and took in a very strong $193,541 -- jumping 11%. That made for a $4,399 average and a potent new total of $665,827. The film is clearly charming audiences and is now all but assured become 2012's first $1 million doc.
Milestone: "Friends With Kids" (Roadside Attractions)
In its fourth weekend, Jennifer Westfeldt's romantic comedy "Friends With Kids" crossed the $6 million mark as it dropped from 556 to 306 screens. Starring a large portion of the "Bridesmaids" cast (Jon Hamm, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd), as well as Adam Scott, Megan Fox, Ed Burns and Westfeldt herself, the film took in another $459,074 -- averaging $1,491 (almost on par with last weekend's average). The film has now totalled $6,324,949, making it the highest grossing specialty film released in 2012.
Check out the full box office chart.