While most of the US film industry was busy north of the border at the Toronto Film Festival, the first post-summer season weekend came and went at the specialty box office. It was a very crowded house of indie newcomers, with really only one film -- The Weinstein Company doc "Salinger" -- finding respectable numbers.
"Salinger" -- directed by Shane Salerno and offering unparalleled access to the world of reclusive author J.D. Salinger -- grossed $90,969 from just 4 theaters for a very promising $22,742 average, among the year's best per-theater-averages for docs. The Weinsteins wasted no time after premiering it in Telluride on Labor Day weekend, and so far that tactic is working out for them. We'll see how things go when the film expands to 60 markets next week.
A whopping 7 other films reported debut weekend numbers, including "Adore" (Exclusive Media), "Fire In The Blood" (International Film Circuit), "Good Ol' Freda" (Magnolia), "He'll Baby" (Millennium), "Populaire" (The Weinstein Company), "Touchy Feely" (Magnolia) and "Winnie Mandela" (RLJ Entertainment). None of them managed averages over $6,000 per theater, with "Populaire" faring best ($5,554 per 3 theaters) and "Baby" going worst (just $531 per its 10 theaters).
Meanwhile, the second weekend of Pantelion Films and Lionsgate's Spanish-language "Instructions Not Included" continued to post mind-blowing numbers. Adding 369 theaters to its now 717 theater count, the film grossed $8.1 million for a $11,297 average and the #3 slot at the overall box office. Its now grossed $20.3 million, making it the fifth specialty release of 2013 to cross the $20 million mark, after "Blue Jasmine," "The Place Beyond The Pines," "Mud" and "The Way, Way Back." It seems quite likely at this point that "Instructions" could end up the year's top grossing indie (a title currently held by "Blue Jasmine," which hit $25,449,196 this weekend and is still going strong itself).
Check back for a full list of grosses later today.