Check out our box office predictions for "Mud" and a few other notable films opening in limited release today, as well as musings on some major expansions. And then check back Sunday for our report on the actual numbers.
Director: Jeff Nichols
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Theater Count: 363
Box Office Prediction: Roadside is taking a wider road than most indies with Jeff Nichols' Matthew McConaughey starrer "Mud." Opening on 363 screens, it's a much bigger risk than typical platform releases starting in a handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles. Will it pay off? The presence of McConaughey (not to mention Reese Witherspoon, though who knows what her appeal is post-arrest) and some very nice reviews should help -- as should a generally weak slate of studio openers. If "Mud" manages an average of $5,000 (amounting to a gross just under $2 million), Roadside should be happy. That would actually give "Mud" a higher gross in its first weekend than the entire run of "Take Shelter."
"At Any Price"
Director: Ramin Bahrani
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Theater Count: 4
Box Office Prediction: Matthew McConaughey's "Paperboy" brother Zac Efron will be his biggest indie competition this weekend, though Efron's "At Any Price" -- co-starring Dennis Quaid -- is opening on a much less aggressive four screens via Sony Pictures Classics. Efron's last two forays into limited release indies were no "High School Musical" (the aforementioned "The Paperboy" grossed just $693,000 while 2009's "Me and Orson Welles" managed just over $1 million), but "Price" should at least get off to a decent start in limited release. An average of over $15,000 is probably the bar for success given the screen count.
Director: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Theater Count: 2
Box Office Prediction: Wait.. An 2012 Oscar nominee is just coming out now? Truly the final of last year's Oscar pool to find theatrical release is Norway's foreign film entry "Kon-Tiki," which lost its prize to "Amour." The Weinstein Company is releasing the film in just two theaters, and the Oscar nom should definitely help it find a strong limited debut. An average around $15,000 sounds about right, though how it performs beyond those two screens will be the bigger question.
Expansions To Watch:
Director: Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos
Week #: 2
Theater Count: 259
Change From Last Weekend: 71 new theaters
Box Office Prediction: Coming off an impressive debut where it averaged $7,863 from 188 screens, "Filly Brown" will try and hold on to that momentum as it adds another 71 this weekend. Starring Gina Rodriguez and recently deceased Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera (who died in a plane crash this past December), if the film holds on to half of its average -- say, $3,700 -- it will gross around $1 million, which would definitely put it in fine shape to eventually head toward the $5 million mark (it has $1.7 million in the bank already, and reportedly cost just $2 million).