Ang Lee’s “Taking Woodstock” opened last night for the first of its two nights of limited release before expanding to 1,300 screens Friday. The Focus Features release – based on Elliot Tiber’s account of facilitating the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969 – grossed $11,676 from its dual locations. Considering its mid-week arrival, that’s not a bad number for “Woodstock.” It’s $5,828 average – $6,685 from New York’s Lincoln Plaza and $4,991 from Los Angeles’ Arclight – ranked it well above any other reporting limited release. While non-holiday Wednesday openings for limited releases are somewhat rare, a recent example is Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” which averaged $3,298 from 10 screens on a mid-November Wednesday last year.
However, taking into context Lee’s previous films’ opening nights – perhaps even while considering “Woodstock”‘s Wednesday debut – the numbers might seem disappointing. “Lust, Caution” took in $18,925 from one screen on its opening night, “Brokeback Mountain” averaged $38,309 from 5 screens, and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” did $11,850 from 16. But judgement on the film’s performance should really be reserved for this Sunday, when estimates for its questionably ambitious first weekend come in. Check back with indieWIRE then for a full report.