By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 11, 2014 at 1:4PM
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...
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)
Weekend Gross: $204,201
Total Gross: $204,201
Criticwire Average: Palo Alto (Tribeca Film)
Weekend Gross: $80,640
Total Gross: $80,640
Criticwire Average: B
3. God's Pocket (IFC Films)
Weekend Gross: $23,400
Total Gross: $23,400
Criticwire Average: C+4. Fed Up (RADiUS-TWC)
Weekend Gross: $130,000
Total Gross: $130,000
Criticwire Average: B+
5. Queen Margot (Cohen Media Group)*
Weekend Gross: $5,500
Total Gross: $5,500
6. In The House of The Flies (Parade Deck Films)
Weekend Gross: $3,500
Total Gross: $3,500
Head over to the next page for a rundown of holdover grosses...
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.
- "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: