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Specialty Box Office: Jon Favreau and James Franco Lead a Strong Indie Weekend With 'Chef' and 'Palo Alto'

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 11, 2014 at 1:04PM

Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this Mother's Day weekend, which saw Jon Favreau and James Franco bring their star power to art houses to the tune of two very strong debuts...
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Jon Favreau (right) and John Leguizamo in "Chef"
Jon Favreau (right) and John Leguizamo in "Chef"

Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this Mother's Day weekend, which saw Jon Favreau and James Franco bring their star power to art houses to the tune of two very strong debuts...

The Debuts:

Debut Winner of the Weekend: "Chef." While not the kind of numbers Jon Favreau might be used to with his studio blockbusters, his first foray into small scale indie territory in some time was off to an excellent start. In six theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the film took in $204,201. That amounted to a $34,034 average, only the fourth specialty film of 2014 (after "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Fading Gigolo" and "Under The Skin") to average north of $30,000. What's more, exit polls were very strong (93% in the top two boxes), suggesting more tasty numbers in store for the film in the coming weekends.

Runner-Up: "Palo Alto." Not quite "Chef"-sized numbers, but Gia Coppola's adaptation of James Franco's short stories had a very impressive opening weekend (aided by Franco himself showing up for a Q&A in New York). Multiple sellout shows were reported as the film averaged $20,160 from 4 New York and LA locations. Next weekend, it will add 15-20 select runs and round out to the top 25 the weekend after.

Debut Loser of the Weekend:  "In The House of the Flies." We know, we hadn't heard of this movie either (FYI: It's a Canadian thriller set in the summer of 1988). And clearly expectations were extremely low at best, but that still doesn't make up for the film's sad $875 average.

This Weekend's Debuts:

1. Chef (Open Road Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $204,201
Theaters: 6
Per-Theater-Average: $34,034
Total Gross: $204,201
Criticwire Average:

B

2. Palo Alto (Tribeca Film)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $80,640
Theaters: 4
Per-Theater-Average: $20,160
Total Gross: $80,640
Criticwire Average: B

3. God's Pocket (IFC Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $23,400
Theaters: 3
Per-Theater-Average: $7,800
Total Gross: $23,400
Criticwire Average: C+4. Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $130,000
Theaters: 18
Per-Theater-Average: $7,222
Total Gross: $130,000
Criticwire Average: B+

5. Queen Margot (Cohen Media Group)*
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $5,500
Theaters: 1
Per-Theater-Average: $5,500
Total Gross: $5,500


* re-release

6. In The House of The Flies (Parade Deck Films)
Week: 1
Weekend Gross: $3,500
Theaters: 4.
Per-Theater-Average: $875
Total Gross: $3,500

Head over to the next page for a rundown of holdover grosses...

Ida

The Holdovers:

Holdover Winner of the Weekend (tie): "Belle" and "Ida." Both Amma Asante and Pawel Pawlikowski's films held on extremely well in weekend two. The  well-reviewed, female-centered films expanded to 45 and 7 theaters, respectively, and each held onto averages over $10,000. Neither are particularly easy sells  ("Belle" is 1700s-set period piece while "Ida" is a Polish import set in the 1960s), so kudos to Fox Searchlight and Music Box Films for continuing to push these films out there.

Notable Milestones:

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel" surprassed 'The Royal Tenenbaums' to become Wes Anderson's highest grossing film ever.
  • "The Railway Man," "Under The Skin" and "Fading Gigolo" all crossed the $2 million mark -- only the 8th, 9th and 10th indies to do so this year.
  • Both "Only Lovers Left Alive" and "Finding Vivian Maier" hit the $1 million mark. "Maier" is only the second documentary of 2014 to do so, after "Tim's Vermeer"

The Holdover Top 10:

1. Ida (Music Box)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $104,000
Theaters: 7 (uo from 3)
Per-Theater-Average: $14,857
Total Gross: $193,924
Criticwire Average: A

2. Belle (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 2
Weekend Gross: $473,000
Theaters: 45 (up from 4)
Per-Theater-Average: $10,511
Total Gross: $62,101
Criticwire Average: B

3. Locke (A24)
Week: 3
Weekend Gross: $239,440
Theaters: 73 (up from 25)
Per-Theater-Average: $3,280
Total Gross: $539,689
Criticwire Average: B+

4. The Railway Man (The Weinstein Company)
Week: 5
Weekend Gross: $508,000
Theaters: 181 (up from 164)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,503
Total Gross: $2,275,796
Criticwire Average: B

5. Fading Gigolo (Millennium Entertainment)
Week: 4
Weekend Gross: $768,003
Theaters: 340 (up from 110)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,259
Total Gross: $2,062,446
Criticwire Average: B-

Fading Gigolo 3

6. Only Lovers Left Alive (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 5
Weekend Gross: $196,734
Theaters: 92 (up from 67)
Per-Theater-Average: $2,138
Total Gross: $1,081,365
Criticwire Average: A-

7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Fox Searchlight)
Week: 10
Weekend Gross: $1,465,000
Theaters: 770 (down from 884)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,903
Total Gross: $53,746,128
Criticwire Average: A-

8. The Lunchbox (Sony Pictures Classics)
Week: 11
Weekend Gross: $249,067
Theaters: 153 (up from 149)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,628
Total Gross: $3,433,432
Criticwire Average: B+

9. Under The Skin (A24)
Week: 6
Weekend Gross: $146,475
Theaters: 93 (down from 125)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,575
Total Gross: $2,085,898
Criticwire Average: A-

10. Finding Vivian Maier (Sundance Selects)
Week: 7
Weekend Gross: $101,000
Theaters: 82 (down from 90)
Per-Theater-Average: $1,232
Total Gross: $1,101,000
Criticwire Average: A-

Peter Knegt is a regular contributor to Indiewire and their box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.


This article is related to: Box Office, News, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Under the Skin, Only Lovers Left Alive , The Railway Man, Fading Gigolo, Locke, Belle, Ida, Chef, Palo Alto