The potential downside to having an extraordinary amount of buzz surrounding a film is the mammoth expectations that come with it. They are definitely imposed upon "Silver Linings Playbook," which opened this weekend -- after a last minute move by The Weinstein Company to push it up a week earlier -- in 16 theaters.
Friday estimates gave the David O. Russell-directed film a strong $120,416 gross from its first day out, averaging $7,526. That should give it a weekend gross in the $350,000-$450,000 range, and an average in somewhere between $21,000 and $28,000. Not bad numbers, and the film is clearly the type that could benefit and grow from word of mouth as it expands. But it's nowhere near the numbers of some its Oscar hopeful predecessors.
The Weinstein Company have released two major Oscar hopefuls (and eventual best picture winners) in November the past two years, "The King's Speech" and "The Artist," both of which -- like "Silver Linings" -- were coming off hugely successful film festival runs. "Speech" averaged $24,630 on its first night, while "The Artist" averaged $18,864. Notably, each were just in 4 theaters, which surely boosted them relative to the 16 houses "Silver Linings" in screening in.
Perhaps a better comparison is a film that could be facing off with "Silver Linings" at the Oscars: "Lincoln." Last weekend, that film opened on 11 screens and averaged $24,376 on its first day, more than triple what "Silver Linings" averaged. It -- like "The Artist" and "The King's Speech" -- are extraordinarily high set bars for success, and its clearly way to early to judge the box office prospects of "Silver Linings" overall anyway. But so far it's off to a strong, but not quite spectacular, start.
Check back Sunday for a full box office report.