Each Tuesday, Indiewire publishes a box office chart that sorts the final weekend numbers of all specialty releases by per-theater-average. Check out the full chart here, but here’s some highlights:
Top Per-Theater Average and “Best” Debut: “Being Flynn” (Focus Features)
The story at the specialty box office this weekend continued to be about 2011 holdovers enjoying Oscar-fueled grosses, and none of the many new films really managed to stand out. The top debut and best per-theater-average belonged to what seemed like the most likely to do so, Paul Weitz’s “Being Flynn” — which stars a fairly marketable trio in Robert DeNiro, Julianne Moore and Paul Dano. The Focus Features release failed to post more than modest numbers, though, taking $45,600 for an average of $11,400. It narrowly beat out the averages of fellow newcomers “Boy” ($10,622) and “The Salt of Life” ($9,588), neither of which had name-actors to help their causes.
Most Impressive Oscar-Winning Holdover: “A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics)
The Foreign Language Film Oscar winner soared in its first post-win (and 10th overall) weekend as it aggressively added 160 screens this weekend to bring its total to a new high of 243. The result was a 160% surge in grosses and a remarkable $952,051 gross — placing the film in the overall top 20. That made for a potent $3,918 average, down just slightly from last weekend’s $4,414 despite more than doubling its screens. It also gave the Sony Pictures Classics release a new total of $3,677,464.
The uptick is the highest for any foreign language film winner in recent memory, and suggests “A Separation” could be headed for a final gross well beyond any sort of expectation. It should easily become the highest grossing foreign winner since 2007’s “The Lives of Others” (also a Sony Classics release), which ended up with $11,286,112.
Least Impressive Oscar-Winning Holdovers: “The Artist” and “The Iron Lady” (both The Weinstein Company)
With 7 Oscars between them (including best picture, best director and both lead acting prizes), one would think this weekend would belong to The Weinstein Company’s big duo of “The Artist” and “The Iron Lady.” And to be fair, neither of them — But considering how much money, time, blood, sweat and tears the folks at the Weinstein Company clearly poured into both Oscar campaigns, are these results worth it?
“The Iron Lady” took in $850,909 from 511 screens, which was impressively up 22% despite a smaller screen count than last weekend. But that still brought the film’s total to a modest $27,006,913 — the lowest gross of any Oscar-nominated Streep film since 2002’s “Adaptation.”
Meanwhile Michel Hazanavicius’s best picture winner “The Artist” went all out by expanding from 966 screens to 1,756. While it’s hard to call anything a disappointment with this film (or any silent, black and white French film that can hit 1,756 screens across North America), the results were not overwhelming.
Taking in $3,625,571, “The Artist” averaged $2,065 and still couldn’t reach the top 10, placing #11. More over, its average was actually less than most other films in top 10, including “The Means War” and “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.” The Weinstein Company has now taken in $36,813,989 from this film, and should end falling short of the $50 million mark when all is said and done, making it the second lowest grossing best picture winner of the past 20 years.
Most Impressive Oscar-Snubbed Holdover: “We Need To Talk About Kevin” (Oscilloscope)
Lynne Ramsay’s “We Need To Talk About Kevin” jumped from 16 to 40 screens in its eighth weekend of its official theatrical run. The result was a 253% jump, grossing a very respectable $132,595 and averaging $3,315. Despite missing out on a seemingly likely best actress nod, the Tilda Swinton starrer actually improved on last weekend’s $2,346 average despite nearly doubling its screens. The film has now earned $818,315 ahead of further expansion continues in the next few weeks. It will easily become Oscilloscope’s second $1 million grosser, if not the distributor’s highest grossing film ever.
Milestone: 2012 Oscar Nominated Short Films (Shorts International)
The 2012 edition of the annual theatrical release of Oscar’s nominated short films grossed another $274,264 this weekend — taking its total to $1,548,137. Though its unlikely there’s much more where that came from, the release has now topped 2011’s edition (which grossed $1,352,152) to become the highest grossing of them all. Shorts International (in partnership with Magnolia Pictures) has been releasing the short films theatrically since 2009. The first edition took in $644,635 — less than half of what this year’s already has.
Check out the full box office chart.