By Peter Knegt | Indiewire April 15, 2012 at 12:43PM
The overwhelming winner amidst a slew of specialty debuts this weekend was Neema Barnette's "Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day." According to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today, "Loosed" managed to find the best per-theater-average of any film in release, including studio chart topper "The Hunger Games."
Also of note this weekend was a respectable debut from Oscar-nominated foreign language film "Monsieur Lazhar" and impressive expansions care of "The Raid: Redemption" and "Bully" -- which headed to 158 screens across the country this weekend with a new PG-13 rating.
Check out the full rundown below:
"Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On The 7th Day" (CodeBlack Entertainment)
Following the massive success of last year's stand-up comedy doc "Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain," CodeBlack Entertainment has another hit on its hands with Neema Barnette's "Woman Thou Art Loosed!: On the 7th Day."
Starring Blair Underwood and Sharon Leal as a couple whose six-year-old daughter is kidnapped, the film was released on 102 screens and took in an excellent $650,319 -- averaging $6,376. That made for the highest per-theater-average of any playing on more than 100 screens, including studio offerings like "The Hunger Games" and "The Three Stooges."
"Monsieur Lazhar" (Music Box Films)
The last release among the Academy Award nominees for best foreign language film, Music Box Films released Quebec's "Monsieur Lazhar" on 19 screens (in New York, LA, San Francisco, Miami and Santa Fe) this weekend to respectable numbers. Grossing $119,890, the film, which follows an Algerian immigrant who takes over the elementary school classroom of a teacher who has committed suicide, averaged a solid $6,310.
Music Box will expand the film significantly in the coming weeks. "Lazhar" has already grossed over $3 million at the Canadian box office.
"Blue Like Jazz" (Roadside Attractions)
Steve Taylor's "Blue Like Jazz" -- which premiered at SXSW last month -- made its way to 136 theaters this weekend care of Roadside Attractions. Based on Donald Miller's book, the film follows a teenager trying to escape his Bible-Belt upbringing. It grossed $280,704 over the weekend, averaging $2,064.
"Hit So Hard" (Variance)
On a single New York screen, P. David Ebersole's doc about Hole drummer Patty Schemel grossed an unremarkable $6,500 in its debut weekend for Variance Films.
"Here" (Strand Releasing)
Braden King's Sundance 2011 alum "Here" also made a debut on a single New York screen, and fared slightly better than "Hit So Hard," taking in $8,500 for Strand Releasing.
"Life Happens" (PMK-BMC)
Kat Coiro's "Life Happens" -- starring Krysten Ritter and Kate Bosworth -- opened on 17 screens in 10 different markets this weekend, and managed a disappointing $21,890 gross, averaging just $1,368.
For a report on over a dozen holdover releases, including "Damsels in Distress" and "Bully," continue to the next page.