Though it wasn't a "Guardians of the Galaxy"-sized victory for the little guys this weekend, but John Michael McConaugh's "Calvary" started off nicely and a bunch of holdovers -- namely "Boyhood," "A Most Wanted Man" and "Magic in the Moonlight" -- kept going strong. A full report:
Debut Winner of the Weekend: "Calvary"
Three years ago, John Michael McConaugh and Brendan Gleeson had an indie hit on their hands with "The Guard" -- which Sony Pictures Classics released to the tune of a $19,209 opening average (in 4 theaters) and an eventual $5.4 million gross. Did follow-up "Calvary" match it, at least so far? Pretty much. The drama -- depicting a priest (Gleeson) who is threatened during confession and then needs to fight against dark forces closing in on him -- grossed $72,000 from 4 theaters for a very similar $18,000 average (the highest of any film in release save "Guardians of the Galaxy").
"The opening weekend figures fall right in line with our expectations," Fox Searchlight's SVP Frank Rodriguez said. "Based on the reactions from various screenings we have held, we are aware of the film’s great playability and expect that good word of mouth will help to direct audiences to see 'Calvary.'"
Next week they will add 8 new markets as well as expanding in NY and LA to hit a total of 35-40 theaters.
This Weekend's Debuts: (ranked in order of per-theater-average)
Holdover Winners of the Weekend (3-way tie): "Boyhood," "A Most Wanted Man" and "Magic in the Moonlight."
Expanding from 107 to 311 theaters, the success story of Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" continued to unfold as it soared 43% in grosses, taking in $2,522,210 with a strong per-theater-average of $8,110. That actually placed it in the overall top 10, one spot ahead of "Transformers: Age of Extinction," which is playing on over 5 times the screens.
"'Boyhood' expanded this weekend to 311 runs reaching the top 50 markets," said Mark Boxer, SVP Sales and Distribution at IFC Films. "The word of mouth remains very positive as the film's audience expands. User ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are extremely high and the film has now achieved a very rare 100 on Metacritic."
"Boyhood" was a shot over 12 years, following the evolution of a family (played by Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Lorelei Linklater) over that period. It represents an investment from IFC Films, a division of AMC Networks, over that same period. The company had recently financed Linklater’s "Waking Life" and "Tape" when Linklater and producer John Sloss approached IFC Films head Jonathan Sehring about financing the "12 year project." He in turn went to his boss, Josh Sapan, head of AMC Networks, who he had worked for almost 30 years, who also was into the idea.
The film will hit 500 theaters next weekend. Its total stands at $7,565,590 after 18 days of release.
Meanwhile, two second weekend holdovers also did quite well.
Coming off an acclaimed debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Anton Corbijn's John le Carré adaptation "A Most Wanted Man" was definitely among the most wanted options of filmgoers this weekend. With an impressive cast including Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances, the film grossed $3,324,265 from its 729 theaters to also hit the overall top 10 (one spot ahead of "Boyhood"). It notably saw its per theater average drop a modest 38% despite doubling its screen count, and brought its total to a very healthy $7,058,814 after just 2 weekends. Both "Man" and "Boyhood" seem destined to breakout into the $20 million range.
That's also a potential future for Woody Allen's "Magic In The Moonlight," though its a bit too early in the film's expansion to really tell just yet. Sony Pictures Classics and Allen have clearly been on a roll lately, with their annual summer releases translating to $33.4 million ("Blue Jasmine"), $16.7 million ("To Rome With Love") and $56.8 million ("Midnight in Paris") over the past three years. That's a lot to live up to, but "Magic in the Moonlight" -- which stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth -- is off to a very good start in terms of continuing the streak. SPC expanded the film from 17 to 65 theaters and saw a 87% jump in grosses as "Magic" -- which stars Colin Firth and Emma Stone -- hit $770,000 as it averaged $11,846 and took its total to $1,353,000.
crossed the $28 million mark -- only the second specialty release of
2014 to do so after "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The Jon Favreau comedy
has been holding on extremely strong over its run, dropping just 11%
this weekend -- its 13th -- despite losing 55 screens. The $30 million milestone is definitely looking good.
- "Begin Again" hit $13 million in weekend #6, making it the 4th highest grossing indie of 2014 after "Budapest Hotel," "Chef" and "America"
- "Boyhood," as noted, reached $7 million, with a whole lot more where that came from.
- "A Most Wanted Man" also crossed $7 million after a very successful second weekend.
- "Snowpiercer" hit $4 million in weekend #6.
- "Magic in the Moonlight" crossed the $1 million mark in its second weekend.
The Holdover Top 12: (ranked in order of per-theater-average)
1. Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics)
Weekend Gross: $770,430
Theaters: 63 (up from 17)
Total Gross: $1,352,766
Criticwire Average:Boyhood (IFC Films)
Weekend Gross: $2,522,210
Theaters: 311 (up from 107)
Total Gross: $7,565,590
Criticwire Average: A
5. A Five Star Life (Music Box)
Weekend Gross: $30,000
Theaters: 7 (up from 1)
Total Gross: $74,708
Criticwire Average: N/A
7. Le Chef (Cohen Media Group)
Weekend Gross: $23,693
Theaters: 18 (up from 14)
Total Gross: $308,220
Criticwire Average: N/A
10. The Fluffy Movie (Open Road)
Weekend Gross: $530,000
Theaters: 432 (even)
Total Gross: $2,370,000
Criticwire Average: N/A
Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.