Here's a rundown of the specialty box office this first weekend of May. It's a new format for Indiewire's weekly box office column -- with debuts and holdovers both ranked separately in order of per-theater-average. This isn't always necessarily the best variable for ranking (though no one thing is with limited releases), but we'll try and explain whenever something did better or worse than its ranking suggests in the "winner" and "loser" of the weekend designations for each chart. Happy Sundays!
Debut Winner of the Weekend: "Belle." Amma Asante's well-reviewed film is off to a very promising start. It's been a slow year, with only 3 other films -- "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Under The Skin" and "Fading Gigolo" -- managing to average over $25,000 in their first weekends. "Belle" -- a 1800s set costume drama without the star power of those four films -- is definitely the least marketable film to join them in that club, so props to Fox Searchlight for their efforts. How it holds up in the coming weeks will be more telling (it will be in 50-60 theaters next weekend), but in this regard "Belle" is by far the big winner among this weekend's debuts. Solid runner-up status definitely goes to "Ida," which ranked behind only "The Raid 2" and "Gloria" in terms of foreign language limited debuts this year.
Debut Loser of the Weekend: "Walk of Shame." Passed over to Focus from FilmDistrict, extremely negative reviews definitely didn't help the comedy, and apparently neither did the usually enjoyable presence of Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden. Its $745 average was shameful even with the low expectations, and doesn't bode well for whatever expansion it can manage in the coming weeks.
This Weekend's Debuts:1. Belle (Fox Searchlight)
8. Walk of Shame (Focus World)
Weekend Gross: $38,000
Total Gross: $38,000
Head over to the next page for a rundown of holdover grosses...