It was a very good weekend for upstart distributor A24 Films. After a disappointing box office performance from their debut release "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III," A24 released their second and third films this Friday and the numbers ranged from extraordinary ("Spring Breakers") to promising ("Ginger and Rosa"). Both films have notably already outgrossed "Charles Swan III" -- with clearly plenty more where that came from.
Let's start with the juggernaut: Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers." A24 very smartly waited until many folks were on actual Spring Break to release the film, which debuted to a lot of buzz at Venice and Toronto last fall, and then got another buzz boost at SXSW last week. It paid off.
"A cultural phenomenon was officially launched this weekend," A24's Nicolette Aizenberg said. "The film sold-out shows throughout the weekend in both NY and LA where screens continued to be added to help satiate the overwhelming demand."
Starring Disney Channel alums Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens in a not-so-Disney tale of a group of college-aged girls who decide to rob a fast food restaurant to pay for Spring Break, the film grossed a massive $270,000 from just 3 theaters in New York and Los Angeles. That made for a $90,000 per-theater-average, which is by far the best of 2013 so far and one of the 10 best per-theater averages ever for a live action film. Only "The Master," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Dreamgirls," "Brokeback Mountain," "Precious," "Midnight in Paris," "Evita," "There Will Be Blood" and "The Tree of Life" have performed better. That's pretty high-end company.
It's also a remarkable number compared to the other four films Korine directed. In just three days in three theaters, "Spring Breakers" has already outgrossed all of them: "Mister Lonely," "Trash Humpers," "Julien Donkey Boy" and "Gummo." In fact, it will have very likely outgrossed the combined final gross of all four of those films by next weekend.
It clearly helped that it's by far Korine's most marketable film to date, not to mention the presence of Gomez and Hudgens, and James Franco -- who earned raves for his supporting role in the film and has has essentially become the box office king of March 2013 with two films that couldn't be more different. His lead role in Disney's "Oz: The Great and Powerful" was atop the studio charts for the second weekend in a row and is all set to pass $200 million soon.
"Breakers" will expand nationwide on March 22nd -- which is the film's true test of crossover appeal. But so far, "Spring Breakers" is looking like it could be huge.
Meanwhile, A24 had less spectacular but certainly promising numbers from Sally Potter's period drama "Ginger and Rosa." Starring Elle Fanning, the film -- also an alum of last fall's Toronto Film Fest -- grossed $45,000 from 3 theaters for a $15,000 average.
Continue to the next page for a full list of numbers for reporting openers and holdovers, ranked by per-theater-average.