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Specialty Box Office: 'Chennai Express' Breaks Bollywood Record; 'Blue Jasmine' Continues Toward Breaking Woody Allen's

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 11, 2013 at 12:57PM

Indian import "Chennai Express" hit America with some serious strength this weekend, breaking the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for a Bollywood film Stateside.
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"Chennai Express"
"Chennai Express"

Indian import "Chennai Express" hit America with some serious strength this weekend, breaking the record for the biggest opening weekend ever for a Bollywood film Stateside.

The film -- directed by Rohit Shetty and starring Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone -- grossed $2,225,000 over the weekend from 196 theaters. That made for a huge $11,352 per-theater-average and a spot just outside the overall top 10, beating out the likes of "Pacific Rim" and "Red 2" -- despite playing in a fraction of their screens.

Distributor UTV noted that the old record of $1,944,027 was held since 2010 by "My Name Is Khan." "Chennai" also beat the 5-day Christmas holiday weekend opening of $2,149,227 for 2009’s "3 Idiots" which currently holds the record for the largest lifetime gross for a Bollywood film with a cume of $6,533,849. We should know by next weekend if "Chennai" can challenge that number, though so far it's looking pretty good.

"In a World..."
"In a World..."

Meanwhile, the highest overall per-theater-average this weekend went to Roadside Attractions' Sundance pick-up "In a World..."  Starring, directed and written by Lake Bell, the film grossed $70,980 from 3 theaters for a strong $23,660 average.

"Next week we expand into 8 new top markets and expect to be in the range of 25 screens, with further expansion in following weeks," Roadside Attractions -- coming off a hugely successful summer already with "Mud" and "Much Ado About Nothing" -- told Indiewire.

If "In a World" holds up well, it will follow "The Way, Way Back" (which past $15 million this weekend) "Fruitvale Station" (which past $13 million) "Before Midnight," "The Spectacular Now" and "Twenty Feet From Stardom" in a summer full of success stories to come out of Sundance.  Two more -- "Austenland" and "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" -- hit theaters next weekend in hopes of joining that club.

Two Sundance pickups were not looking like they'll be doing so this weekend as both "Lovelace" and "Prince Avalanche" opened to underwhelming theatrical numbers. The former grossed $184,176 from an aggressive 118 theater count (averaging $1,561), while the latter took in $40,000 from 14 screens for a $2,857 average. And though neither had theatrical numbers to phone home about, both were also released digitally, where they seemed to be doing much better so far. As of Sunday afternoon, "Lovelace" was #4 on the overall iTunes rental chart, while "Prince Avalanche" was #10.

Finally, what could turn out to be summer 2013's biggest indie hit had a huge third weekend. Woody Allen's Cate Blanchett showcase "Blue Jasmine" went from 50 to 119 theaters and jumped 36%, taking in another $2,523,355 with a $21,205 average. That's higher than the $18,843 "Midnight in Paris" averaged in its third weekend, continuing to put "Jasmine" in a reasonable position to rival that film's ultimate $56.8 million gross (Woody Allen's highest ever). And even if it doesn't reach that number, an assured gross north of $20 million would still likely be music to distributor Sony Pictures Classics' ears.

Full list of grosses on the next page.

Hirsch and Rudd in 'Prince Avalanche.'
Hirsch and Rudd in 'Prince Avalanche.'

The Debuts:


1. In a World
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $70,980
Theaters: 3
Average: $23,660
Cumulative Total: $70,980

2. Chennai Express
Distributor: UTV
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $2,225,000
Theaters: 196
Average: $11,352
Cumulative Total: $2,475,000

3. I Give It A Year
Distributor: Magnolia
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $5,800
Theaters: 2
Average: $2,900
Cumulative Total: $5,800

4. Prince Avalanche
Distributor: Magnolia
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $40,000
Theaters: 14
Average: $2,857
Cumulative Total: $40,000

5. Lovelace
Distributor: RADiUS-TWC
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $184,176
Theaters: 118
Average: $1,561
Cumulative Total: $184,176

The Holdovers:

1. Blue Jasmine
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 3
Gross:  $2,523,355
Theaters: 119 (up from 50)
Average: $21,205
Cumulative Total: $6,219,194

2. The Spectacular Now
Distributor: A24
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross:  $266,119
Theaters: 19 (up from 4)
Average: $14,006
Cumulative Total: $534,222

3. The Artist and the Model
Distributor: Cohen Media Group
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross:  $19,224
Theaters: 5 (up from 2)
Average: $3,845
Cumulative Total: $45,938

4. Blackfish
Distributor: Magnolia
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross:  $250,000
Theaters: 83 (up from 51)
Average: $3,012
Cumulative Total: $667,957

5. The Canyons
Distributor: IFC Films
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross:  $9,600
Theaters: 4 (up from 1)
Average: $2,400
Cumulative Total: $30,100

6. The Attack
Distributor: Cohen Media Group
Weeks in Release: 8
Gross:  $87,849
Theaters: 43 (down from 44)
Average: $2,043
Cumulative Total: $1,363,840

7. The Way Way Back
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Weeks in Release: 6
Gross:  $1,500,000
Theaters: 780 (down from 1,001)
Average: $1,923
Cumulative Total: $16,320,188

8. Fruitvale Station
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Weeks in Release: 5
Gross:  $1,443,000
Theaters: 828 (down from 1,086)
Average: $1,743
Cumulative Total: $13,490,660

9. 20 Feet From Stardom
Distributor: RADiUS-TWC
Weeks in Release: 9
Gross:  $194,000
Theaters: 112 (down from 135)
Average: $1,732
Cumulative Total: $3,851,284

10. Unfinished Song
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Weeks in Release: 8
Gross:  $56,500
Theaters: 53 (down from 68)
Average: $1,066
Cumulative Total: $1,512,523

11. Only God Forgives
Distributor: RADiUS/TWC
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross:  $16,4000
Theaters: 17 (down from 45)
Average: $965
Cumulative Total: $743,728

12. I'm So Excited
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 7
Gross:  $47,386
Theaters: 52 (down from 99)
Average: $911
Cumulative Total: $1,212,690

13. Before Midnight
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 12
Gross:  $50,112
Theaters: 56 (down from 226)
Average: $895
Cumulative Total: $7,944,439

14. Mud
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Weeks in Release: 16
Gross: $35,200
Theaters: 43 (down from 62)
Average: $819
Cumulative Total: $21,541,223

15. Much Ado About Nothing
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Weeks in Release: 10
Gross:  $41,500
Theaters: 52 (down from 58)
Average: $798
Cumulative Total: $4,170,353

This article is related to: Box Office, In A World, Bollywood , Blue Jasmine, Sundance Film Festival, Lovelace, Prince Avalanche