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by Peter Knegt
December 9, 2012 1:10 PM
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Specialty Box Office: 'Hyde Park' Leads Debuts; 'Bone,' 'Baker' Hold Strong

"Hyde Park on Hudson"

Focus Features' "Hyde Park on Hudson" led a generally slow weekend at the indie box office. The film -- directed by Roger Michell and starring Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt -- debuted on 4 screens to a $83,280 gross, giving it by far the best per-theater-average of any film in release ($20,820).

Those are decent numbers and to be expected considering the lukewarm reviews that met the film. Though the presence of Murray and co-star Laura Linney, along with the fact that there's very little new competition in the specialty market right now, perhaps should have made for somewhat higher numbers. Either way, Focus appeared pleased with the performance thus far.

"'Hyde' played well to older art house audiences this weekend," Focus Features said in a statement. "The top grossing theaters (Lincoln Square/NY, Landmark/LA) traditionally attract adult audiences - particularly at matinee and  early prime time shows - which is when 'Hyde' really popped."

Five other films debuted this weekend as well, each with vastly lower expectations than "Hyde Park": Cinedigm's "In Our Nature," Tribeca Film's "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas," Samuel Goldwyn's "Waiting For Lightning," and a pair of highly acclaimed documentaries released by Oscilloscope: "Tchoupitoulas" and "Only The Young."

All five films debuted on just a handful of screens ("Lightning" being the widest at 11), and all five failed to find per-theater-averages above $5,000. Though there were notable silver linings amidst what on the surface seemed like dismal numbers. "Lightning" was released day and date on VOD and is the #1 documentary on iTunes right now. "Fitzgerald" did the same, and is currently one of the top 5 most popular Independent films on iTunes.  "Only The Young" and "Tchoupitoulas" both opened at the IFC Center in New York, and each played only 9 shows in a 60 seat house over the weekend. That made their numbers much more impressive than they look initially.

Perhaps the weekend's most notable specialty box office news came from the holdovers. In its third weekend, Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone" expanded from 2 to 4 screens and jumped a huge 122%, seeing its per-theater-average actually increase from last weekend (from $12,369 to $13,709).  After a somewhat disappointing start, the film is clearly showing stamina leading into awards season, where its star Marion Cotillard could very well end up an Oscar nominee. After 17 days, the film's total stands at $131,319 -- an impressive number for a film that spent 14 of those days only on 2 screens.

Also holding up very well was Jay Bulger's Ginger Baker doc "Beware of Mr. Baker." Holding steady on a single screen, the film dropped just 16% to gross $10,282 -- giving it the third highest average overall behind "Hyde Park" and "Rust and Bone." The film's total now stands at $36,281.

And in its third weekend, The Weinstein Company also held "Silver Linings Playbook" steady (though on a much more wide 371 screens). It too showed staying power, dropping only 28% to gross another $2,238,000. Its total now stands at just over $14 million (it should eclipse the gross of another Weinstein release -- "The Master" -- by next weekend).

Head to the next page for full rundown of all specialty films reporting estimates, ranked by per-theater-average. More will be added as they come in.

TAGS: Box Office

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