The specialty box office was heated this Memorial Day weekend, with Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" breaking the record for the best limited indie debut of all time.
That news overshadowed another strong debut -- Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano's "The Intouchables" -- as well as potent expansion numbers from John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and Richard Linklater's "Bernie."
Check out the full rundown below.
"Moonrise Kingdom" (Focus Features)
Focus Features-released "Moonrise Kingdom" grossed a stunning $508,870 from just four theaters over the three-day frame, averaging $127,218. That allowed the film to top the $126,317 that "Dreamgirls" averaged in 2006 (the record for a live-action film), as well as the $109,485 "Brokeback Mountain" averaged back in 2005 (the record for an indie film), giving it the best per-theater-average of either designation (a number of animated Disney films had higher averages).
As far as the four-day holiday weekend went, "Kingdom" ended up with a whopping $669,486 -- averaging $167,371. That gross is more than Anderson's "Bottle Rocket" made in its entire run.
The numbers give "Kingdom" a slight head start over last summer's biggest hit, "Midnight in Paris" (which, like "Kingdom," opened the Cannes Film Festival a week prior). That film averaged a whopping $99,834 from six screens in its first frame, heading toward a massive $56.8 million final gross, a number to which "Kingdom" clearly aspires.
"Kingdom" also nearly doubled Wes Anderson's previous best per-theater-average, which was the $66,475 "Fantastic Mr. Fox" pulled in back in 2009. Anderson's overall top grosser is still 2001's "The Royal Tenenbaums," which grossed $52,364,010 -- or $71,494,200 if adjusted for inflation. "Kingdom" has a long way to go to match those numbers, but it will make some of its first steps next weekend when Focus expands it significantly.
“Moonrise is a story of love’s improbable triumph, and for Wes Anderson and his team a labor of love from start to finish," Focus head James Schamus said. "How wonderful it is to congratulate him, on behalf of everyone at Focus, for this remarkable, record-breaking opening."
"The Intouchables" (The Weinstein Company)
Also doing very well was Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano's "The Intouchables," which opened in four theaters and grossed an estimated $101,053 over the three-day weekend and $137,438 through Monday, averaging $25,263 and $34,360, respectively. That gave the film -- distributed by The Weinstein Company -- the best debut of 2012 for a foreign-language film (narrowly topping Joseph Cedar's "Footnote").
The film is already a massive hit overseas, taking in over $343 million -- including $166 million in its native France alone. The Weinstein Company will expand the film next Friday.
"OC87" (Fisher-Klingenstein Films)
Opening in the shadow of what could be two of the summer's biggest indie juggarnauts was Bud Clayman, Glenn Holsten and Scott Johnston's doc "OC87" (or "OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie"), which debuted on a single New York screen to reasonable numbers. The film grossed $5,733 over the three-day weekend, and an estimated $7,500 through the holiday.
"I am very pleased with the opening of 'OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie,'” said Danny Fisher, CEO, Fisher Klingenstein Films. "Critics have really embraced the film, and together with strong viral and word-of-mouth, the film opened as the number one exclusive engagement this Memorial Day weekend. We look forward to our future theatrical engagements as more and more exhibitors express interest in bringing 'OC87' to their theaters."
For a report on over a dozen holdover releases, including "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Girl in Progress," "Bernie" and "First Position," continue to the next page.