Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" had a respectable limited debut this weekend, taking in $140,000 from just 4 theaters. That made for a $35,000 average, impressive for a black and white film with no marketable stars. It follows a father (Bruce Dern) and son (Will Forte) who trek from Montana to Nebraska to claim allaged prize money. The film -- released via Paramount Vantage -- has been garnering Oscar buzz for Dern's performance since Cannes, where he won the best actor prize.
"Nebraska" found a per-theater-average that was close to the debut of Payne's 2011 film "The Descendants," which averaged $41,038 in its first frame. Notably "The Descendants" was in 29 theaters, making its average considerably more impressive. Though it also had the significant benefit of a marketable star in George Clooney. Payne himself is essentially the most marketable feature of "Nebraska," which makes its strong numbers all the more impressive.
Likely among Bruce Dern's main competition for the best actor Oscar, both Matthew McConaughey, Chiwetel Ejiofer and Robert Redford all continued to see strong numbers for their expanding films.
In its third weekend, McConaughey's "Dallas Buyers Club" went from 35 to 184 theaters and jumped 179%, taking in $1,784,924. That made for a strong $9,700 average as the Focus Features-released film's total grew to to just over $3 million.
"'Dallas Buyers Club' sustained its strong box office this weekend with an impressive jump on Saturday which was 59% over Friday's results -- well above the norm for roll-outs," Focus Features said. "Word-of-mouth continues to stimulate the marketplace with strong showings in the new openings in urban and suburban houses. Many of the holdover theaters held or increased their box office from last weekend -- a great sign that 'Dallas' remains in demand."
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 pushed Ejiofer's "12 Years a Slave" from 1,144 to 1,411 theaters. The result was a #8 finish in the overall top 10, taking in $4,700,000 for an $3,331 average. After five weekends, "12 Years" has grossed an excellent $24,948,785.
Also in its fifth weekend, Robert
Redford's "All Is Lost" went from 401 to 483 theaters and took in another $978,805, averaging $2,207. The Roadside Attractions-released man-lost-at-sea opus has now totaled $4,281,409.