The final weekend of the summer movie season saw a surprisingly robust debut for Eugenio Derbez's "Instructions Not Included," a Mexican film released via Lionsgate and Pantelion Films (which courts Hispanic audiences).
The film -- which follows a man who finds his family threatened when the birth mother of the daughter left on his doorstep 6 years ago resurfaces -- grossed a massive $7,500,000 from 347 theaters for a jaw-dropping $21,614 average, making the overall top 5 despite playing on a fraction of the screens. It grossed six times the entire release of Lionsgate and Pantelion's previous film, "Girl in Progress," and made clear there is a hungry film market in America's Hispanic population.
In a much more limited debut, Jill Soloway's "Afternoon Delight" -- which won the directing award at Sundance earlier this year -- hit 2 theaters care of The Film Arcade and managed a decent $28,088 gross, averaging $14,044. Starring Juno Temple, Kathryn Hahn, Josh Radnor, and Jane Lynch, the film is about the sexual awakening of a woman in a sexless marriage. It was the best opening average ever for year-old new distributor Film Arcade, which has only released two previous films -- "Simon and the Oaks" and "The Other Dream Team."
Also opening was Cinedigm's "Our Nixon," the Penny Lane-directed documentary that provides a view of the Nixon presidency through the use of home movies filmed by top Nixon aides combined with other historical material. "Nixon" grossed $5,911 from 3 screens for a $1,970 average.
Faring similarly (though given its a narrative film starring Rachel McAdams and Noomi Rapace, it should have exponentially better) was Brian DePalma's "Passion," which eOne released in 14 theaters after a month long exclusive run on VOD. The result was a weak $33,757over the three day weekend, averaging just $2,597.
As far as holdovers went, "The Grandmaster" -- already Wong Kar-wai's highest grossing film at the
Chinese box office -- expanded aggressively to 749 U.S. theaters this weekend care of Mr. Harvey
Weinstein (in a version 22 minutes shorter than what China got. Up from 7 last weekend, it was a risky move that mostly paid off, with the film grossing $2,446,000 for a decent $3,266 average. The film has now totaled $2,642,044, already almost topping the final gross of 2001's "In The Mood For Love" ($2,738,980), which was Wong's highest grossing film in the U.S. to date.
Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" dropped from 1,283 theaters to 1,179, but actually saw its weekend gross rise from $3,972,687 to $4,020,730. That made for a strong $3,410 average and a new total of $20,487,206 -- becoming the third specialty film this year to cross the $20 million mark (and only the 8th of Allen's career). In the next day or two, "Jasmine" will surpass "Mud" as 2013's highest grossing specialty film.
Check back tomorrow for an updated report with 4-day weekend numbers.