By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 1, 2012 at 1:14PM
While Seth MacFarlane's "Ted" and Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" gave the studio box office a huge and unexpected boost, the specialty box office also soared thanks to a potent opening care of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and strong expansion numbers from "To Rome With Love" and "Moonrise Kingdom."
"Beasts" had one of the best limited debuts of the year, averaging a huge $42,250. That's the third best debut of the year behind "To Rome With Love" and "Moonrise Kingdom," both of which expanded to very strong numbers themselves this weekend. It sets up all three films to benefit significantly from the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
Check out the full rundown below.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Fox Searchlight)
After a hugely successful run on the festival circuit (where it won major awards at both Sundance and Cannes), Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" made its way to theaters this weekend with a huge $169,000 gross from just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That made for a $42,250 average -- the third best of the year. It's also the sixth best average for a limited platform release from a first-time filmmaker, a very notable feat.
"It has been an incredible opening weekend for these first-time filmmakers when you consider that the actors are all non-professionals who have distinguished themselves both on screen and off," said Fox Searchlight senior VP Distribution Frank Rodriguez.
Since opening last Wednesday, "Beasts" has totalled $220,447. The film will open in New Orleans on Wednesday July 4, with an additional 5 markets (Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, and Dallas) slated to open on July 6, which will bring the total number of theatres to 19 by next Friday.
"Take This Waltz" (Magnolia/Entertainment One)
On Canada Day weekend, Magnolia (who has US distribution rights) and Entertainment One (who has Canadian rights) teamed up to release Canadian icon Sarah Polley's "Take This Waltz" on 30 screens this weekend. Overall, the results were mild. The film took in $150,000 -- averaging $5,000 per theater. But notably 28 of those theaters were in Canada, including numerous small markets. On its two American screens -- both in New York -- the film took in $26,000, averaging a much more respectable $13,000. The film will expand to LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, DC, Philadelphia and San Diego on July 6th.
"Neil Young Journeys" (Sony Pictures Classics)
Speaking of Canada, Sony Classics released another Canadian icon-centric film -- Jonathan Demme's doc "Neil Young Journeys" -- in 3 theaters this weekend and saw a $13,280 gross as a result, averaging $4,427 per theater.
"Unforgivable" (Strand Releasing)
Strand Releasing opened André Téchiné's French-language drama "Unforgivable" on 5 screens in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. The result was a $29,886 gross, giving it a so-so average of $5,977.
For a rundown of holdover releases, including "To Rome With Love," "Your Sister's Sister," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Safety Not Guaranteed" and "Bernie," continue to the next page.