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by Peter Knegt
May 8, 2012 12:05 PM
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Final Box Office: 'Exotic Marigold Hotel' Tops Weekly Chart With Stellar Debut

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" Fox Searchlight
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 and Best Debut: "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Fox Searchlight)
Coming off a stunning $70 million (and counting) gross overseas, John Madden's older audience-skewing film is off to an excellent start, joining "Bernie" as the first two potential indie breakouts from summer 2012.

On 27 screens, the film -- which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson as a group of seniors retiring in India -- grossed $737,051. That gave it a glowing $27,298 per-theater-average, the second best indie debut of the year (after last weekend's "Bernie," which notably was released on much fewer screens).       

"The 'baby boomers' came back to the theatres this weekend," Fox Searchlight's Sheila DeLoach, executive VP of distribution, told Indiewire. "The film had many sold-out matinees, twilight hours and prime shows as the adult audience showed they were happy to see a movie with a good story and good performances that made them laugh out loud."
 
This Friday, the film will expand to 24 markets and be in 140 – 150 theatres. By Memorial Day weekend, Fox Searchlight expects the film to be screening in approximately 800 theatres.

Worst Debut: "A Little Piece of Heaven" (Millennium)
While Millennium Entertainment has reason to celebrate due to the continuing success of "Bernie," things were not so sunny regarding Nicole Kassell's cancer-themed romantic comedy "A Little Bit of Heaven." Starring Kate Hudson, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kathy Bates, Rosemarie DeWitt and Whoopi Goldberg, the film -- which received some of the worst reviews of the year -- opened on 11 screens to a dismal $10,011 gross.  That gave it an average of only $910 and will likely become one of the biggest duds of the year.

Most Impressive Holdover: "Bernie" (Millennium)
Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, Richard Linklater's aforementioned dark comedy did great business in its second weekend out. After a stellar debut on three screens (which resulted in the year's best per-theater-average for a limited release), the film expanded to eight locations and jumped 64% in grosses. It took in $140,544, averaging a fantastic $17,568.

"'Bernie' held fantastic," Millennium Entertainment's Andy Gruenberg told Indiewire today. "It's selling out everywhere. Sleeper of the year."

Gruenberg said the film will make significant expansions on May 18 and June 1. Its total currently stands at $261,843.

Milestone: "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" (CBS Films)
Lasse Hallstrom's "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" went from 335 to 247 screens in weekend #9 and dropped off a reasonable 37% in grosses. It also managed something no indie release has done so far this year: It crossed the $8 million mark. Starring Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor, the film grossed $266,207, enough to take its total to $8,225,200. That makes "Salmon" the top grossing specialty release of 2012 so far.

Check out the full box office chart.

TAGS: Box Office
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8 Comments

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  • MDL | May 9, 2012 9:12 PMReply

    Jon - That makes sense. I suppose there are only a handful of films that make a proportionally bigger BO in Canada than in the US. True too that M Lazhar is a relative success for Music Box - just not to the tune of 4 million.

  • Jon | May 9, 2012 9:12 AMReply

    This is easily correctable - on Rentrak just switch North American to US and it will eliminate the Canadian grosses. Box Office Mojo made the exception because it's one of the rare cases where the Canadian B.O. will completely distort the perception of the release. They rightly made a similar exception for Incendies last year. Setting it's $4.7m gross next to A Separation and The Raid just isn't accurate.

    MDK: Even without the Canadian B.O., M Lazhar is still a formidable release for Music Box. It will cross the $1m mark in only 4 weeks which is quite impressive for a ostensibly little film. By EOY it should rank among the top (non-Bollywood) foreign grosses.

  • MDL | May 8, 2012 7:54 PMReply

    Thanks for explaining. As long as it is consistant that's cool. The only issue I see however is the distributor is different in Canada than in the US. For instance, Monsieur Lazhar is released by Music Box Films in the US but Entertainment One in Canada. Yet according to the way the $$$ are displayed it seems Music Box has a hit on its hands when they really don't. This must happen a lot. I guess real insiders know the true figures while the rest of us are lead slightly astray.

  • Peter Knegt | May 8, 2012 5:37 PMReply

    MDL: We get our numbers from Rentrak, which defines "domestic box office" as North American, so LAZHAR's numbers are higher here because it includes Canada and the US. Sites like boxofficemojo generally do the same, but seem to have made a strange exception for LAZHAR. You will see this also for GOON, for example, which made way more money in Canada than the US. Our rule across the board: North American numbers.

  • MDL | May 8, 2012 2:27 PMReply

    Okay, someone explained to me why there is a discrepency in the Monsieur Lazhar figures. You guys [and Variety] include Canada in your figures. [Maybe you mention this and I didn't see it?] While Box Office Mojo only shows US totals.

    I would say to some degree you should only include US totals since 'indie' in the US has a different meaning that 'indie' in Canada. So does 'foreign'. In parts of Canada French is a primary language. Also the figure can be a bit misleading. If someone were relying on your figures to make a conclusion about how French films do in the US they might be fooled into thinking this particular film made $5 million in the US when in fact it will only make about a million. Big difference.

  • MDL | May 8, 2012 2:10 PMReply

    Your BO chart shows that Monsieur Lazhar has made $4,730,703. Where do you get that figure? According to Box Office Mojo it has made $914,200. It opened on April 13th. Did it make a big chunck prior to the April opening somewhere? Or are your figures including international BO as well?