Top Per-Theater Average: "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (Fox Searchlight)
For the third weekend running, John Madden's older-audience skewing "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" topped the Indiewire chart in per-theater-average and continued to prove itself one of 2012's first true indie breakouts this weekend.
On 354 screens (up from 178), the film -- which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson as a group of seniors retiring in India -- jumped 21% to gross a fantastic $3,230,584. That gave it a glowing $9,126 per-theater-average, the highest of any film in release save "The Avengers."
Next weekend the film will expand to over 800 theatres. Its total now stands at $8,228,025, with a $10 million+ gross all but assured and the $20 million mark pretty likely.
Best Debuts: "Elena" (Zeitgeist) and "Hysteria" (Sony Pictures Classics)
No debuting film proved remarkable this weekend, but two found decent numbers:
Tanya Wexler's Victorian era romantic comedy (about the invention of the vibrator) debuted on five screens this weekend for Sony Pictures Classics. Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Felicity Jones and Rupert Everett, the film managed a so-so $35,656 gross, averaging $7,131.
Gaining a higher average (though only on a single screen) was Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Elena. The 2011 Cannes alum grossed a very respectable $9,035 adding to a $13,240 cume since opening Wednesday.
Worst Debut: "Mansome" (Paladin)
Morgan Spurlock continued a losing streak at the indie box office this weekend, seeing his male grooming doc "Mansome" debut to dismal numbers. On 20 screens, the film grossed only $18,395 -- averaging just $920. Despite the presence of folks like Jason Bateman and Will Arnett, the film became Spurlock's worst debut in terms of per-theater-average, topping the "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope," which averaged $2,734 from three theaters earlier this year.
Second-Most Impressive Holdover: "Bernie" (Millennium)
Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, Richard Linklater's dark comedy continued to do very good business this weekend in a crucial expansion. Going from 36 to 95 theaters, the film jumped 124% as it took in another $491,436, averaging $5,173 (down only about $1,000 per theater from last weekend despite nearly tripling its screens). The film will make another significant expansion on June 1st, but for now has taken in $1,124,527.
Check out the full box office chart.