With awards season in full swing, a batch 2013 films continued to provide the 2014 specialty box office with a healthy flow of filmgoers.
The Weinstein Company's "August: Osage County" was the most impressive of the lot, expanding from 5 to 905 theaters and grossing $7,315,000 for an impressive per-theater-average of $8,083. The Tracy Letts adaptation features an ensemble that includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney and Ewan McGregor (Streep and Roberts have both received Golden Globe and SAG nominations for their parts). The film's total stands at $7,860,385.
Charles Dickens adaptation "The Invisible Woman," meanwhile, went from 4 to 9 theaters in weekend three. The Sony Pictures Classics-released film -- which stars Ralph Fiennes (who also directed), Felicity Jones and Kristin Scott Thomas -- took in $48,160 for a $5,351 average and a new total $174,284.
Sony Classics also expanded Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" from 5 to 17 theaters and saw the film's weekend gross jump to $86,613. The film -- snubbed from the Oscars in the foreign film category - averaged $5,095 as a result, totaling $257,065 so far.
In its seventh weekend, Justin Chadwick's Golden Globe nominated biopic of the late Nelson Mandela "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom" dropped from 1,010 theaters to 363 and the result was a $265,000 gross, averaging $730. That's down significantly from last weekend (75%), though The Weinstein Company release has now taken in a very respectable $7,750,023.
The Weinsteins' eight week old "Philomena" held steady in 607 theaters and dropped just 6%. The film -- which stars Golden Globe nominees Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in the real life story of a woman searching for the son that was taken from her decades earlier -- grossed $1,360,000, averaging $2,241. That made for a very impressive new total of $21,916,000. The film could easily approach $30 million with a boost from Oscar nominations.
Joel & Ethan Coen's Oscar contender "Inside Llewyn Davis" expanded significantly this weekend, going from 156 to 729 theaters in its sixth weekend. That made for a $1,876,000 gross and a $2,573 average. The CBS Films release has now grossed $9,309,126.
Eight week old "Nebraska," which similarly follows intergenerational lead characters on a road trip of discovery, also jumped despite losing screenings. The film -- starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte -- rose from 240 to 521 theaters, taking in $820,000 for a $1,574 average. The $12 million-budgeted, Alexander Payne-directed film has now grossed $8,149,654..
Finally, Italy's Oscar contender for best foreign language film hit $1 million Stateside. "The Great Beauty" -- released in the US via Janus Films -- grossed $71,950 from 38 theaters to average $1,893 and take its total to $1,080,196. If the film ends up getting an Oscar nod, its in a nice position to take that further.