While Hollywood keeps groaning about its box office woes (though they at least just got a nice shot in the arm thanks to Scarlett Johansson and "Lucy"), their indie counterparts continued to heat things up this weekend with a duo of high profile new releases entering an already potent marketplace to impressive grosses: Woody Allen's "Magic In The Moonlight" and Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted Man." Add that to strong holdover numbers from "Boyhood," "Begin Again," "Chef" and others (though not so much "Wish I Was Here"), and Indiewood closed off July in style. A full report:
Debut Winner of the Weekend (tie): "A Most Wanted Man" and "Magic In The Moonlight."
Sony Pictures Classics and Roadside Attractions went against the grain of the 4-6 theater debut that typically meets major indies and set "A Most Wanted Man" and "Magic In The Moonlight" in 361 and 17 theaters, respectively. Obviously there's a big difference between those theater counts, but both strategies paid off either way.
Coming off an acclaimed debut at the Sundance Film Festival, Anton Corbijn's John le Carré adaptation "A Most Wanted Man" was definitely among the most wanted options of filmgoers this weekend. With an impressive cast including Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final performances, the film grossed $2,717,425 from its 361 theaters to hit the overall top 10, averaging $7,527 (the highest average in the top 10 after "Lucy" and "Hercules").
"With a 91% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the film had fantastic reviews, and was the story of the weekend at the specialty box office," Roadside said today. "'A Most Wanted Man' opened 20% higher than the Roadside/Lionsgate 2013 release 'Mud,' which released on the same number of screens (and opened to $2.2M) and went on to a $21M total North American box office."
Notably, "A Most Wanted Man" went up a very strong 59% from Friday to Saturday, which bodes well for its next few weeks.
Also in a nice position for the future is Woody Allen's "Magic In The Moonlight." Sony Pictures Classics and Allen have clearly been on a roll lately, with their annual summer releases translating to $33.4 million ("Blue Jasmine"), $16.7 million ("To Rome With Love") and $56.8 million ("Midnight in Paris") over the past three years. That's a lot to live up to, but "Magic in the Moonlight" -- which stars Emma Stone and Colin Firth -- is off to a very good start in terms of continuing the streak. SPC upped the ante this time around by releasing it in 17 theaters as opposed to the 5 or 6 that met that aforementioned trio, which makes the opening difficult to compare (those three all managed massive $70,000-$100,000 averages). But its $426,000 gross and $25,059 average are definitely worth celebrating, and shows that Allen's fanbase is still a specialty box office force to be reckoned with. How it fares next weekend will be much more suggestive as to whether it can at least hit "Rome"-sized final numbers.
This Weekend's Debuts: (ranked in order of per-theater-average)
4. The Fluffy Movie (Open Road)
Weekend Gross: $1,314,000
Total Gross: $1,314,000
Criticwire Average: N/A
Continue to the next page for holdover grosses, including "Boyhood," "Wish I Was Here," "Begin Again" and "Snowpiercer".