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by Peter Knegt
September 23, 2012 12:48 PM
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Specialty Box Office: 'Perks' Pops With Huge Debut; 'The Master' Strong In Expansion

While the overall box office continued a slump thanks to underwhelming debuts from "Trouble With The Curve" and "Dredd 3D," the specialty box office had a very hopeful debut care of teen drama "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which had the fifth best limited debut of the year. It led a slew of debuts this weekend, which also included very strong numbers care of doc "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel."

Of course, the year's best debut remains Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," which expanded from 5 to 788 screens in its second weekend to very strong numbers. But the question remains whether its early release date will hinder the possibility of taking in "There Will Be Blood"-style numbers in the end.

Full rundown below.

The Debuts:

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Summit)
Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" -- adapted from Chboksy's own 1999 novel -- got off to an excellent start this weekend.

Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller as a trio of teenage misfits in 1990s Pittsburgh, Summit Entertainment released the film on 4 screens. The result was a stellar $244,000 gross, which made for a $61,000 per-theater-average. That's the fifth best limited debut of 2012 (behind "The Master," "Moonrise Kingdom," "To Rome With Love" and "Sleepwalk With Me"), and one of the 50 best limited debuts of all time. It's also the highest per-theater-average for any film released by Summit.

Summit's exit data notably suggested 60% of the film's audience was under the age of 25, and 70% were female. Summit plans to expand the film significantly next weekend.

READ MORE: Ezra Miller On His New Role, Queer Representation in Cinema and the 'Perks' of Being Honest About Your Sexuality

"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel" (Samuel Goldwyn/EPIX)
Also opening very strongly was Lisa Immordino Vreeland's doc "Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel," which looks at the life and work of the influential fashion editor of Harpers Bazaar, Diana Vreeland.

The film opened in New York and Los Angeles in 3 theaters and earned a very strong $64,238, or $21,413 per location. The film will expand into theaters in Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC and Boston on September 28th.

"How To Survive a Plague" (Sundance Selects)
Another doc opening this weekend David France's intensely acclaimed look at AIDS activism on New York, "How To Survive a Plague." On four screens in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco, the film took in $28,000 for a $7,000 average. The film will expand to the top 10 markets next weekend.

"My Uncle Rafael" (Rocky Mountain Pictures)
Rocky Mountain Pictures released Marc Fusco's "My Uncle Rafael" -- about a desperate TV producer who convinces an old Armenian Uncle to star in a new reality show -- on 14 screens this weekend. The film managed a very respectable $100,210 gross as a result, averaging $7,158.

"Occupy Unmasked" (Magnolia/Magnet)
Stephen K. Bannon's "Occupy Unmasked" -- which looks at the anarchist roots of the Occupy movement -- was released on 4 screens this weekend in the generally conservative markets of Phoenix, Dallas, Denver and Orange County CA. It took in $44,000, averaging $11,000.

"The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best" (Oscilloscope)
Oscilloscope Laboratories released Ryan O'Nan's "The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best" -- about a ainger-songwriter who hits the road with a self-appointed music revolutionary -- on 2 screens this weekend. The result was a $6,537 gross and a weak $3,269 per-theater-average.

For news on holdover releases, including "The Master," "Arbitrage," "Detropia," "For a Good Time, Call..." "Sleepwalk With Me," "Samsara," and "Moonrise Kingdom," continue to the next page.

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