R.J. Cutler's Anna Wintour doc "The September Issue" is headed for some impressive opening weekend numbers, according to Friday estimates. The Roadside Attractions release took in a massive $77,232 from six New York City screens last night, averaging $12,873. It even managed $2,600 from a midnight show at the Chelsea 9, quite the feat for a documentary. The Chelsea 9 ended up topping out at a staggering $22,464, while numbers from the Sunshine and Lincoln Square both hit $14-16,000. If it wasn't for its weak link - the Jacob Burns Film Center, where it grossed only $1,496 - its daily average would have been around $15,000. That would have topped "Sunshine Cleaning" as the best limited opening night PTA of the year.
While its expected "Issue"'s weekend will be frontloaded, "Issue" should still be headed for $175,000-$200,000 by Sunday, which would give it an average in the neighborhood of $30,000-$33,000 - easily making it the best opening for a documentary so far this year, and potentially among the best limited openings of 2009. Check out indieWIRE's interview with Cutler here.
In "Issue"'s shadow was the wide debut of Ang Lee's "Taking Woodstock." After a decent mid-week debut on just 2 screens, "Woodstock" hit 1,393 Friday and managed only $1,200,000. Its $861 average was in line with that of the fourth weekend of "Julie & Julia," which was playing on twice the screens. "Woodstock" should top out around $4,000,000 by weekend's end.
Check back with indieWIRE tomorrow afternoon for the full story on this weekend's box office.