Based on estimates for Friday night, Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is heading for a massive limited debut at the box office this weekend. The film - a psychological thriller about a ballerina (Natalie Portman) competing for the lead role in "Swan Lake" - grossed $425,872 from 18 screens. That made for a $23,660 per-theater-average, and puts "Swan" on a path to a $1.2 million to $1.4 million gross (and a PTA of around $68,000-$74,000). To put that into perspective, fellow Fox Searchlight film "127 Hours" similarly grossed $500,000 Friday night, but from 433 venues (or 25 times that of "Black Swan").
"Swan" could very well rank behind only last weekend's debut of "The King's Speech" as the second best per-theater-average of 2010. Mind you, "Speech" opened in only 4 theaters, and one can only suspect that had "Swan" done the same, its average would have potentially been the year's best.
Check back with indieWIRE tomorrow for a full report on the weekend box office, including "The King's Speech," which grossed $85,000 from 6 screens Friday night, averaging an impressive $14,167. The film should wind up with a weekend gross of $240,000-$270,000.