By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 2, 2012 at 12:31PM
After two weekends of momentous studio box office that seemed to hinder anticipated limited debuts from the likes of The Weinstein Company's "Silver Linings Playbook," Sony Pictures Classics' "Rust and Bone," Focus Features' "Anna Karenina" and Fox Searchlight's "Hitchcock," the studio numbers cooled and the resulting breathing room provided a nice boost to the noted indies, "Silver Linings" and "Rust and Bone" in particular.
The studio box office saw weak debuts from "Killing Me Softly" and "The Collection" (neither of which even cracked the top 5), and 40-60% drop-offs from Thanksgiving mammoths like "Breaking Dawn, Part 2," "Skyfall" and "Lincoln." Compare that to the slight 24% that "Silver Linings" dropped off this weekend (despite barely adding any new screens) or, more over, the tiny 5% "Rust and Bone" lost (despite not adding any screens at all).
The former -- directed by David O. Russell and coming off five Spirit Award nominations -- grossed $3,341,000 in 371 theaters (up 4 from last weekend), managing a very strong $9,005 per-theater-average and suggesting it is overcoming a somewhat disappointing box office beginning.
"'Silver Linings' held in great down only 24% from the best Thanksgiving weekend ever," The Weinstein Company's Erik Lomis told Indiewire. "This kind of hold clearly demonstrates the spectacular word of mouth that we are getting from audiences everywhere."
Its total now stands at $10,990,981 and as the Weinsteins continue their careful expansion amidst more awards notices for the film, it could pay off nicely in the end.
Sony Pictures Classics didn't expand "Rust and Bone" at all, but the Marion Cotillard-starring French import decided to show its legs anyway and drop just 5% to a $25,823 gross, averaging $12,912 (the highest average of any film in release). Its total now stands at $66,144. Awards notices are much less confirmed than with regard to "Silver Linings," but Cotillard has a definite shot at an Oscar nom, which could work wonders in getting this challenging film a significant audience. Though its off to a nice start, its real test does indeed still lie ahead as Sony Classics expands it out of the most major markets.
The other two noted films -- "Hitchcock" and "Anna Karenina" -- managed decent second and third weekends themselves. "Hitchcock" went from 17 to 50 screens and jumped 41%, taking in $405,537 for a $8,111 average. Not incredible numbers, but more hopeful than its debut last weekend. "Anna," meanwhile, made a major expansion in going from 66 to 384 screens. The result was a 149% boost and a $2,229,678 gross, enough to place it just outside the overall top 10. It averaged $5,806 for a new total of $4,901,029. For a film that has struggled to get a lot of buzz despite good reviews, these are promising numbers.
The films were likely aided not just by weaker studio competition, but by a lack of new specialty titles as well. Four new indies -- "Beware of Mr. Baker," "Hecho en Mexico," "Back To 1492" and "Love, Marilyn" -- reported estimates. Jay Bulger's doc "Beware of Mr. Baker" found the highest per-theater-average of the lot, scoring an impressive $12,505 from a single screen (just behind "Rust and Bone" as the weekend's second best PTA), suggesting a lot of potential as the film expands.
Next weekend is slightly more competitive on the specialty side, with "Hyde Park on Hudson" and "Lay The Favorite" both having limited debuts. Though it should still leave room for holdovers to continue finding their legs before the major storm of anticipated mid-to-late December releases ("The Hobbit," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," "On The Road," "Amour," "Zero Dark Thirty," "The Impossible," "Promised Land," etc, etc, etc) hit theaters in both wide and limited ways.
Head to the next page for full rundown of all specialty films reporting estimates, ranked by per-theater-average. More will be added as they come in.