By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 30, 2014 at 2:3PM
Gareth Evans's "The Raid 2" led a quartet of newcomers at the specialty box office this weekend. A sequel to 2012's "The Raid: Redemption," the Sony Pictures Classics-released action-thriller grossed $176,907 from 7 theaters, averaging a potent $25,272 ahead of expansion. Notably, the first "Raid" averaged $15,270 from 14 theaters in its first weekend, and went on to gross $4,105,187.
Also fairing quite well in its first weekend out was "Finding Vivian Maier" -- documentary about the mysterious nanny who photographed Chicago scenes in the 1950s and '60s. Sundance Selects opened the film in 3 theaters and saw a promising $63,600 gross and a $21,200 per-theater-average.
Another doc, "Mistaken For Strangers," opened in 9 theaters care of Abramorama. Directed by Tom Berninger, the documentary chronicles his time spent on the road as a member of the tour crew for The National. It grossed a respectable $81,800 for a $9,089.
Lionsgate/Pantelion were much more aggressive with "Cesar Chavez," director Diego Luna's bopic of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer. In 664 theaters, the film took in a so-so $3,000,000, averaging $4,518.
As for holdovers, Freestyle and Pure Flix Entertainment's release of Christian drama "God's Not Dead" continued to strom the box office and remind us of the underserved faith-based market. Directed by Harold Cronk and starring Shane Harper, Kevin Sorbo, Jim Gleason and Dean Cain, "God's Not Dead" -- about a college student whose faith is challenged by his philosophy professor -- grossed $9,075,421 from 1,178 theaters for a heavenly (sorry) per-theater-average of $7,704. Its total now stands at $22,028,439.
Also in its second weekend was Frank Pavich's doc "Jodorowsky's Dune," released by Sony Pictures Classics. The film looks at director Alejandro Jodorowsky's attempt to adapt and film Frank Herbert's science fiction novel "Dune" in the mid-1970s, and went from 3 to 7 theaters to find a $36,655 gross, averaging $5,236. The film's total now stands at $91,309.
Millennium Entertainment took crime drama "Rob The Mob" from 1 to 5 theaters. Directed by Raymond De Felitta and starring Michael Pitt, Andy García, Ray Romano and Aida Turturro, the film took in $25,625, averaging $5,125 and finding a cume of $43,586.
Continuing to break out beyond a limited release, Fox Searchlight expanded Wes Anderson's "The Grand
Budapest Hotel" from 66 to 304 theaters this weekend and saw no signs of
"Budapest" -- which stars Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Adrien Brody and Jude Law, among many others -- grossed an estimated $8,825,000 over its fourth weekend, which made for a very grand $9,033 per-theater-average. That put the film in the top 10 of the overall box office chart for the third weekend in a row, alongside films playing in literally thousands more theaters. The film's total now stands at a very impressive $24,456,815, with clearly much more where that came from.
"'The Grand Budapest Hotel' is still attracting huge numbers in Art and Specialty theatres, and is now crossing over to Mainstream multiplexes in large numbers as well," Frank Rodriguez, SVP Fox Searchlight, said. "Many moviegoers are finding out about Wes Anderson for the first time, and the film is attracting both the younger and older audiences as well as everyone in between. Word of mouth has been great and people are talking about this well-written comedy with the tremendous cast."
Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's second English language film starring Jake Gyllenhaal to find release in the past six months, "Enemy," expanded significantly in weekend two. Distributed by A24, the film expanded from 96 to 120 theaters in its third weekend. The result was a $132,206 gross and a weak $1,102 average. The film -- which stars Gyllenhaal as a man seeks out his exact look-alike (also played by Gyllenhaal) after spotting him in a movie -- has totaled $777,517.
Also in its third weekend was Jason Bateman's raunchy directorial debut "Bad Words." Released by Focus Features after picking the film up at the Toronto Film Festival (where "Enemy" also debuted), the film grossed $2,645,000 from 842 theaters (up from 86) for a per-theater-average of $3,141. The film -- which stars Bateman as a spelling bee loser sets out to exact revenge by finding a loophole and attempting to win as an adult -- has now totaled an underwhelming $3,563,690.
Yet another Toronto premiere, Roger Michell's British import "Le Week-end," expanded from 25 to 50 theaters care of Music Box Films in weekend three. The result was a strong $225,000 gross for a $4,500 average. The film's cume is now at $482,514 with further expansion planned for next weekend.
As for films further along in release, Sony Pictures Classics expanded Indian import "The Lunchbox" from 36 to 73 theaters in its fifth frame. The result was a $312,650 gross -- averaging an impressive $4,283 per theater. Directed by Ritesh Batra, the acclaimed film stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and has now totaled a strong $910,671 heading into further expansion. Crossing the $1 million mark seems like a given in the next week.
Another SPC title held on nicely in its 9th weekend as Penn & Teller's doc "Tim's Vermeer" dropped from 129 to 94 theaters care of Sony Pictures Classics and took in $96,821 -- averaging $1,030. The film's total now stands at $1,430,359 -- the first and only 2014 doc to hit the $1 million mark -- with more to come.
And finally, a big Oscar winner kept on keeping on months into its release.
Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" -- which won 3 Oscars including best picture -- held onto 228 theaters in its whopping 24th weekend (despite already being out on DVD, Blu-ray and iTunes). It managed a $137,000 gross as a result, averaging $501 and taking its total to $56,381,327. More good news for distributor Fox Searchlight, which between this and "Budapest Hotel" sure is kicking off its 20th anniversary in style.