The final frame of 2008 also saw its highest limited debut, as Sam Mendes' "Revolutionary Road" scored a massive $192,000 in just three theaters (though, mind you, on five screens), averaging $64,000 per theater (which, if estimates hold, beats the year's previous record, Ron Howard's "Frost/Nixon"). Holdovers also fared very well over the insanely competitive weekend, with Clint Eastwood's "Gran Torino" averaging $29,048 on 84 screens, Darren Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" averaging $21,170 on 18, and the return of the "Che" roadshow averaging $15,893 from 2.
The iWBOT is based on per-theater averages reported by Rentrak Theatrical, the complete indieWIRE BOT will be available Tuesday afternoon at indieWIRE.com.
The three-screen debut of Kate Winslet-Leonardo diCaprio acting showcase "Revolutionary Road" followed last weekend's "The Wrestler" and early December's "Frost/Nixon" as the only 2008 limited releases to find averages of over $50,000. The Paramount Vantage release's $64,000 average was also four times the second highest opener, Joel Hopkins' "Last Chance Harvey," which grossed $96,000 from 6 screens for a $16,000 average. Other notable openers included Sony Pictures Classics' "Waltz With Bashir," which took $55,100 from 5 screens, and IFC Films's "The Secret of the Grain," which grossed $10,147 on 1 screen.
Most specialty business came via holdovers, with Warner Brothers' "Gran Torino" finding the most impressive numbers. Despite a near-shutout from Oscar precursors, the film expanded from 19 to 84 screens and actually saw its per-theater-average grow from $24,643 to $29,048. "The Wrestler," on the other hand, expanded from 4 to 18 screens and saw its average drop nearly 60% to $21,170. Though both numbers are very promising amid such aggressive competition. "Torino"'s total now stands at $4,340,554 while "The Wrestler" stands at $900,601.
IFC Films' "roadshow" screenings of Steven Soderbergh's "Che" returned to New York and Los Angeles after a week off, and maintained decent numbers. It re-opened on December 24th at the IFC Center in New York and on December 26th at the Nuart in Los Angeles, and over the weekend grossed $31,786 for a $15,893 average, about a 50% drop off from its first weekend of shows. However, the film did have less seats then its first weekend out, and sold out all day in Los Angeles on Friday, and all day in New York Sunday. The film will debut theatrically as two separate films on January 9th in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and on cable video-on-demand on January 21st. Its total currently stands at $140,747.
The most aggressive specialty expansion came care of John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt," which went from 39 to 1,267 screens. And while it's $5,675,000 gross and $4,479 average was fine, it was behind the weeks-older "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Milk," which averaged $7,248 and $5,883, respectively. On 614 screens Fox Searchlight's "Slumdog" added another $4,450,000 to its gross, which now stands at $19,670,886, behind only "Fireproof" and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" as the year's top specialty grossers. Focus Features' "Milk" grossed $1,829,506 on 311 screens, taking its cume to $13,600,453, the fifth highest specialty gross of 2008.