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by Peter Knegt
July 14, 2013 2:11 PM
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Specialty Box Office: 'Fruitvale Station' Huge In Limited Debut; 'Way, Way Back' Expands Strong

"Fruitvale Station"

Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" had a huge first weekend of limited release, taking in $377,285 from just 7 theaters for a $53,898 per-theater-average. The winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and the audience award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the film is based on the true story of a young black man (played by Michael B. Jordan) who was wrongfully killed by a police officer at a transit station in Oakland, California (it in many ways mirrors the case of Trayvon Martin, whose killer was controversially acquitted this weekend).

"Fruitvale Station" -- released by The Weinstein Company -- managed one of the 5 best per-theater-averages of 2013 thus far, and topped the debut of last summer's "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which also won Sundance's top honor.  "Beasts" averaged $42,426 from 4 theaters in its first frame before going on to take in $12,795,746 and receive Oscar nominations for best picture and best director. Clearly The Weinstein Company would love to see the same outcome for "Fruitvale."

"We are thrilled with how 'Fruitvale Station performed this weekend," Erik Lomis, Head of Distribution at The Weinstein Company, told Indiewire. "We have had a tremendous team in front of the camera and behind the scenes that made this film a must see.  The exit polls were outstanding and we look forward to a long, successful run."

Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight continued to see great numbers from "The Way, Way Back," which also debuted at Sundance 2012. Expanding the film from 19 to 79 theaters, it saw a 101% jump in grosses as "The Way, Way Back" took in $1,110,000 for a strong $14,051 average. The film -- which stars  Steve Carell, Toni Colette, Allison Janney, and Sam Rockwell -- has now taken in $1,854,485. Fox Searchlight will add 34 new markets next weekend, bringing the total theater count to between 250-300 total locations.

Complete list of grosses for debuts below, with holdovers on the next page.

The Debuts:

1. Fruitvale Station
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $377,285
Theaters: 7
Average: $53,898
Cumulative Total: $377,285

2. Crystal Fairy
Distributor: IFC Films
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $24,000
Theaters: 2
Average: $12,000
Cumulative Total: $24,000

3. Dealin' With Idiots
Distributor: IFC Films
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $12,000
Theaters: 1
Average: $12,000
Cumulative Total: $12,000

4. The Hunt
Distributor: Magnolia
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:   $44,000
Theaters: 4
Average: $11,000
Cumulative Total: $44,00

5. Viola
Distributor: Cinema Guild
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $6,275
Theaters: 1
Average: $6,275
Cumulative Total: $6,275

6. Still Mine
Distributor: IDP/Samuel Goldwyn
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $21,000
Theaters: 4
Average: $5,250
Cumulative Total: $21,000