Mike Mills’ “Beginners” was off to a good start in its first night of limited release Friday night. The Focus Features-released romantic drama – starring Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent – is estimated to have taken in $38,100 from 5 screens, averaging $7,700. That should result in a weekend gross in the $115,000-$140,000 range, which would mean a per-theater-average of $23,000-$28,000. Those aren’t overwhelmingly strong numbers (last summer, Focus’s “The Kids Are All Right” averaged $70,282 from 7 theaters in its first frame), but its still a nice start for a warmly reviewed film that could have some strong legs in expansion.
Meanwhile, two major stories of the specialty market continued with the second and third weekends of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” and Woody Allen’s “Midnight In Paris.” Both alums of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, the very different films expanded this weekend to generally promising results. After a massive debut in 4 theaters last weekend (distributor Fox Searchlight’s best limited debut ever), “Life” expanded to 20 theaters this weekend. The result was $180,000 gross and a $9,000 average, taking its 8 day total to $812,000. The weekend could see “Tree” find numbers in the $500,000-$600,000 range, and an average in the mid $20,000s. Not bad for a highly divisive film that is 2 ½ hours long, giving it significantly fewer shows than its average competitor (“Midnight in Paris” is only 94 minutes, for example). Expansion beyond the major markets will still be the film’s most major roadblock, but for now “Tree” is full of box office life.
Sony Classics’ release of “Midnight in Paris,” meanwhile, went from 58 to 147 theaters and suggested its having little trouble expanding into smaller markets. The film grossed $705,000, coming in 8th in the overall box office. It should see a final weekend gross in the $2.5-3 million range, averaging $16-20,000. It should also take its total to nearly $7 million, nearly doubling last year’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”‘s entire gross. The film will hit 750-1,000 on June 10th – more than any other Woody Allen film – and is well on its way to being one of Allen’s top grossing films ever.
Check back with indieWIRE tomorrow for a full report on the weekend box office Sunday afternoon, including numbers for “Submarine,” “Beautiful Boy” and “Film Socialisme.”