By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 8, 2013 at 1:13PM
Joel & Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" was off to an incredible start this weekend, taking in $402,000 from just 4 theaters. That made for a $100,500 daily per-theater-average, giving the CBS Films-released film the second best limited debut of the year (after "Blue Jasmine") and the Coens their highest per-theater average ever (topping "No Country For Old Men"). That certainly bodes well for the film as it starts expanding on December 20th and can't hurt the film's awards season hopes.
In its second weekend Justin Chadwick's biopic of the late Nelson Mandela "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" dropped just 8% as it remained static in 4 theaters. Taking in $77,652, The
Weinstein Company release averaged $19,413 and took its total to $183,369 after 10 days.
The Weinsteins also got good numbers from their three week old "Philomena." Holding steady in 835 theaters, the film -- which stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in the real life story of a woman (Dench) searching for the son that was taken from her decades earlier -- grossed $2,282,000, dropping a reasonable 38%. The film has now totalled $8,254,635.
Four week old "Nebraska," which
similarly follows intergenerational
lead characters on a road trip of discovery, expanded from 102 to 113 theaters. The film release -- starring
Bruce Dern and Will Forte -- dropped 25% as a result, taking in $545,000 for a $4,823 average. The $12
Payne-directed film has now grossed $2,262,478.
The film -- released via Paramount Vantage -- has been garnering Oscar buzz for Dern's performance since Cannes, where he won the best actor prize. Likely among Bruce Dern's main competition for the best actor Oscar, Matthew McConaughey and Chiwetel Ejiofer all saw their films compete in a crowded specialty market this weekend as well.
In its sixth weekend, McConaughey's "Dallas Buyers Club" went from 696 to 734 theaters and fell 42%, taking in $1,458,662. That made for a $1,987 average as the Focus Features-released film's total grew to $12,406,986.
The film stars McConaughey as Ron Woodroof, a homophobic drug addict who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986 Dallas, Texas and is given 30 days to live. To save his life and the lives of others, he smuggles anti-viral medications into Dallas from all over the world, selling them through the "Dallas Buyers Club" to work around legalities (with the help of a trans woman played by Jared Leto, also an Oscar contender here).
Fox Searchlight dropped Ejiofer's "12 Years a Slave" slightly from 1,165 to 1,072 theaters. The result was a $1,140,000 gross and an $1,054 average. After eight weekends, "12 Years" has grossed $35,012,120, surpassing "Blue Jasmine" as the highest grossing English language platform release of 2013.
A film that is competing in the foreign language race
had a very strong fourth weekend. Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great
Beauty" -- submitted care of Italy (and a big winner at this weekend's European Film Awards -- stayed static on 23 screens, and took in $88,478. Considering the
running time of the film is 142 minutes, these numbers were notably
achieved with a limited schedule of showtimes each day. They resulted in a $3,874 average and a new total of $395,440.
Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Writer and box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.