Top Per-Theater Average and Best Debut: "2016 Obama's America" (Rocky Mountain Pictures)
The anti-Barack Obama documentary “2016: Obama’s America" -- written and directed by John Sullivan and “The Roots of Obama’s Rage” author Dinesh D’Souza -- hits theaters nationwide on July 27 (via Rocky Mountain Pictures, or the same folks that brought you "Atlas Shrugged, Part I" and "An Inconsistent Truth"). But it opened on a single Houston screen first this past weekend, and managed a very impressive $31,750 -- by far the highest per-theater-average of any film in release. It remains to be seen whether it can pull in relatively decent numbers outside Republican hotbeds like Texas, but we'll find out soon enough (check out our interview with the film's producer here).
Worst Debut: "The Obama Effect" (ARC Entertainment)
Another Obama-themed film didn't manage so well. Arc Entertainment's narrative film "The Obama Effect -- directed and starring Charles S. Dutton -- was released exclusively through AMC theaters on 25 screems. The film grossed just $73,000, averaging only $2,920. The film is a fictional account of the "Obama fever of 2008," focusing on the life of one man (Dutton) who deals with the ups and downs of the campaign.
Best Non-Obama Related Debut: "The Imposter" (Indomina)
Indomina released acclaimed Sundance doc "The Imposter" on a single screen and found the best per-theater-average of any film in release save "2016 Obama's America" as it took in a very promising $22,379. The film -- directed by Bart Layton -- centers on a young Frenchman who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years. Indomina will expand the film in the coming weeks.
Most Impressive Expansion: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight)
After a hugely successful first two weekends in considerably limited release, Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" expanded from 19 to 81 theaters in its third frame.
The result? A 111% surge in grosses. "Beasts" took in a $790,535 gross and a $9,760 average.
"The film performed well in all new markets we opened this weekend, and good word of mouth should propel the picture as we continue to incresase the overall number of theatres," said Frank Rodriguez, SVP Domestic Distribution at Fox Searchlight.
The film will open in 22 more new markets on July 20th, and add additional theatres in existing markets. Its total now stands at $1,692,675.
Milestones: "Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus Features )
In its eighth weekend, Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" crossed the $30 million mark as expanded slightly from 884 to 924 screens. lt held on strong, dropping just 18% in grosses. The Wes Anderson film took in $3,704,507, placing in the overall top 10 yet again and averaging a very healthy $4,009.
Notably, the film's 47% increase on Saturday (over Friday’s gross) is the second greatest Friday to Saturday increase the film has posted since opening.
The film's new total is $32,483,002. It is the second highest grossing Anderson film, after 2001's "The Royal Tenenbaums." At this rate, it should be set to pass the $40 million mark -- rivalling "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" as the highest grossing indie of 2012 so far.
Check out the full box office chart.