By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 15, 2012 at 4:02PM
Each Tuesday, Indiewire publishes a box office chart that sorts the final weekend numbers of all specialty releases by per-theater average. Check out the full chart here, but here's some highlights:
Top Per-Theater Average: "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Fox Searchlight)
Coming off a stunning $70 million (and counting) gross overseas, John Madden's older audience skewing "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" continued to prove itself one of 2012's first true indie breakouts this weekend.
On 178 screens (up from 27), the film -- which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson as a group of seniors retiring in India -- grossed a fantastic $2,672,140. That gave it a glowing $15,012 per-theater-average, the highest of any film in release save "The Avengers."
"Moms love the 'Marigold Hotel' as evidenced by the sold out theatres playing in North America," Fox Searchlight's Sheila DeLoach -- EVP Distribution -- told Indiewire. "It was terrific counterprogramming for the adult audience against the two tent pole films in the market place. Clearly, it was a Happy Mother’s Day for the 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.'"
Next weekend the film will expand to an additional 24 markets and increase to a total of approximately 300. The national release will be the following holiday weekend and the film will be in over 800 theatres. Its total now stands at $3,744,656, with a $10 million+ gross all but assured.
Best Debut: "Girl In Progress"
Patricia Riggen's single mom film "Girl In Progress" had a very hopeful start this Mother's Day weekend. The film -- which stars Eva Mendes -- got an aggressive start on 322 screens and managed to pull in $1,384,078. That made for a strong $4,298 per-theater-average, and gave Pantelion its second consecutive film to debut in the top 10. Back in March, "Casa de Mi Padre" did so. The company -- which bills itself as the "first major Latino Hollywood film studio" -- was created in 2010. "Girl" marks its fifth film to cross the $1 million mark.
Least Impressive Expansion: "The Artist"
The Weinstein Company decided to give "The Artist" one last shot as it expanded it from 41 to 751 screens in its whopping 25th weekend of release. The results were not good. Grossing only $188,841, the film averaging a meager $251. The film has now totalled $44,439,470 and its now officially clear there's no more where that came from.
Milestones: "Monsieur Lazhar" and "The Deep Blue Sea" (Music Box)
Music Box films saw two films cross the $1 million mark.
The last release among the Academy Award nominees for best foreign language film, Quebec's "Monsieur Lazhar" went from 81 down to 70 screens in its fifth weekend. Grossing $127,462, the film -- which follows an Algerian immigrant who takes over the elementary school classroom of a teacher who has committed suicide --- averaged $1,655 and took its total to $1,130,487.
"Lazhar" has now joined "A Separation" and "Footnote" as the third foreign film Oscar nominee to cross the $1 million mark.. "Lazhar" has already grossed over $3 million at the Canadian box office, which is not included in its reporting total (notably, many films do include Canadian numbers in their total, but "Lazhar" has different distributors in Canada and the U.S.).
Meanwhile, its seventh weekend, Terence Davies' acclaimed Rachel Weisz-starrer went from 36 to 37 screens. "The Deep Blue Sea" grossed $30,268, averaging $704. The film has held on very nicely over its run, with a new total of $1,003,843.
Check out the full box office chart.