By Peter Knegt | Indiewire July 28, 2013 at 10:31AM
Aided by strong reviews and even stronger early Oscar buzz for Cate
Blanchett's performance, Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" soared on its
opening weekend, taking in $612,767 from just 6 theaters.
Distributor Sony Pictures Classics reported a $102,128 average as a result, which is remarkably ahead of Allen's 2011 hit "Midnight in Paris" (his highest grossing film ever). That film opened to a $99,834 average (also from 6 theaters), one of the 10 best limited debuts for a live action ever and at the time Allen's best debut. "Jasmine" edged out that number, beating the $87,667 average of "Spring Breakers" in the process to give it the best per-theater-average of 2013 so far.
Only five live action films have ever opened to a per-theater-average over $100,000 so far, and if "Jasmine"'s estimate holds, it will join "The Master," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Dreamgirls," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Precious" as the sixth. Not bad company, especially considering each and every one of those films received major Oscar nominations (and all of them but "The Master" went on to gross over $40 million).
Sony Classics will expand "Jasmine" in the coming weeks, which will be a more clear indication of how far it can go. But for now, it's definitely looking more green than "blue."
If all goes well, "Jasmine" will become the third breakout indie hit of the second half of summer 2013, joining The Weinstein Company's "Fruitvale Station" and Fox Searchlight's "The Way, Way Back." Both those films made major expansions this weekend, and both saw strong returns as a result.
The Weinsteins aggressively sent "Fruitvale" to 1,064 theaters in this its third weekend, up from just 34 last weekend. A risky move that paid off, the Ryan Coogler-directed Sundance winner grossed $4,657,000 as it averaged $4,377 and found a place in the overall top 10. With a total now standing at $6,339,316, "Fruitvale" will easily pass $10 million, and is likely to outgross the $12.7 million that last year's Sundance winner, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," grossed during its theatrical run.
In its fourth weekend, "The Way, Way Back," added 582 theaters to bring its total to 886. The coming of age comedy -- which Fox Searchlight nabbed for a pricy $10 million -- grossed $3,300,000, averaging a very respectable $3,725. The film's total now stands at $8,931,441, and it should pass its price by next weekend. It needs to probably approach the $20 million mark for it to be worth its cost to Searchlight, which is definitely not out of the question at this point.
Check back this afternoon for more on this weekend's specialty box office.