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Specialty Box Office: Woody Allen’s ‘Rome’ Scores Huge Limited Debut

Specialty Box Office: Woody Allen's 'Rome' Scores Huge Limited Debut

Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” managed a massive limited debut this weekend. It scored both the second best per-theater-average so far this year (after “Moonrise Kingdom”) and the second best of Allen’s career (after “Midnight in Paris”).

The film led a weekend full of impressive grosses, most notably from holdover releases like “Moonrise Kingdom” (which topped the $10 million mark), “Safety Not Guaranteed” (which hit $1 million) and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (which inched toward $40 million).

Check out the full rundown below.

The Debuts:

“To Rome With Love” (Sony Pictures Classics)
On 5 screens, Sony Classics released Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love” to very impressive numbers. The film — which features a typical-for-Allen all-star cast including Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg — grossed a huge $379,371, averaging $75,874. That’s among the 30 best per-theater-averages of all time, and the second best for both 2012 (after “Moonrise Kingdom”) and Allen himself (after “Midnight in Paris”).

It suggests Sony Classics’ strategy of releasing Allen’s work in the summer is continuing to pay off. Last year, “Midnight in Paris” grossed over $56 million after a late May debut, becoming the highest grossing film of Allen’s career. Whether “Rome” — which received much weaker reviews than “Paris” — can gross even half that (which alone would make it a considerable success) remains to be seen.

Kumare (Kino Lorber)
2011 SXSW Audience Award winner “Kumare” had a strong start on its sole screen at New York’s IFC Center.  The doc —  about a man who impersonates an Indian guru and builds a following in Arizona — grossed $12,000 over the weekend, adding to an impressive $10,371 the film grossed from its two mid-week opening days. The film’s total stands at $22,371, with expansions to LA,  Seattle, Denver and Tucson in the coming weeks.

“Our truth-telling false prophet Kumare led hordes of believers to IFC this weekend,” Kino Lorber’s president Richard Lorber noted. “We expect these enlightening results to continue based on great reviews, viral digital interest and the infectiousness of Kumare’s success.”

The Invisible War (Cinedigm)
Kirby Dick’s acclaimed documentary “The Invisible War” hit 4 theaters this weekend to modest results. The film — which details the horrifying state of rape in the military — grossed $19,600 for a $4,900 per-theater average. It will expand next weekend.

For a rundown of holdover releases, including “Your Sister’s Sister,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Bernie,” continue to the next page.

The Holdovers:

“Your Sister’s Sister” (IFC Films)
Lynn Shelton’s “Your Sister’s Sister,” expanded from 13 to 47 screens in its second weekend care of IFC Films. Starring Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass, the film grossed $216,200, averaging a very respectable $4,600. That gave the film a new total of $378,800 — just a stone’s throw from surpassing the $407,377 that Shelton’s last feature, “Humpday,” grossed in its entire run. IFC will expand the film to the top 50 markets next weekend.

“Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” (Music Box Films)
Before it airs on HBO this summer, Matthew Akers’ doc “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present” continuned its theatrical run, dropping from 2 screens to one in its second weekend weekend. Distributed theatrically by Music Box Films, the film — which follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York — held on decently after an unimpressive start. It took in $7,500 from its sole screen (a higher average than last weekend), bringing its total to $23,787.

“Moonrise Kingdom” (Focus Features)
After four straight weekends of having the best per-theater-average of any film in release, Focus Features’ “Moonrise Kingdom” finally lost the crown to “Rome.”  But it still held on exceptionally strong, expanding from 178 to 395 screens and jumping 52% in grosses. The Wes Anderson-directed film grossed $3,410,900, averaging a potent $8,635.

”‘Moonrise’ continues its box office momentum with big grosses in the new opening markets/theaters, and in many holdover houses where the Friday and Saturday numbers increased from last weekend (or experienced very modest drops),” Focus said in a statement. “Many houses had sellouts on Friday and Saturday.”

The film’s new total is $11,630,298. It is having another expansion this upcoming Friday, and if it can continue the momentum, Focus Features could be looking at a major indie breakout. At the very least, it will easily top $11.9 million Anderson’s last live action film, “The Darjeeling Limited,” grossed in 2007 any day now.

“Safety Not Guaranteed” (Film District)
Film District’s Sundance Film Festival pickup “Safety Not Guaranteed” expanded from 47 to 129 screens in its third weekend to strong results. It took in $482,000– up 63% from last weekend. That made for a $3,736 average and a new total of $1,083,000.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the “Safety” stars Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass (who had roles in two of the three films with the best per-theater-averages this weekend). It follows three magazine employees as they investigate an ad that reads: Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. Safety not guaranteed.”

“Lola Versus” (Fox Searchlight)
Not faring so well in its third weekend was Fox Searchlight’s release of Daryl Wein’s romantic comedy “Lola Versus.” Starring Greta Gerwig as a woman dealing with life after the end of a long-term relationship, the film dropped from 52 to 50 screens and took in just $46,500. That made for a weak $928 per-theater-average and a new total of $203,192.

“Dark Horse” (Brainstorm Media)
 Todd Solondz’s sixth feature film, “Dark Horse” expanded from 2 to 6 screens in its third frame. Starring Selma Blair, Christopher Walken, Mia Farrow and Jordan Gelber, the film — which debuted at the Venice Film Festival last year — jumped a mild 14% as it grossed $11,600, averaging a weak $1,933. The film is the first theatrical release for Brainstorm Media and its total now stands at $49,200.

“Peace, Love and Misunderstanding” (IFC Films)
Despite the presence of Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener, IFC Films didn’t get particulalry good numbers out of the third weekend of “Peace, Love and Misunderstanding” (though its likely to be enjoying better results from its VOD release). The film dropped from 77 to 64 screens and managed a so-so $89,600 gross, averaging $1,400.  Its total now stands at $450,340.

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (Fox Searchlight)
John Madden’s older-audience skewing “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” had a great eighth weekend. The film continued to also prove itself one of 2012’s true indie breakouts this weekend care of Fox Searchlight, nearing the $40 million mark.

On 741 screens (down from 1,184 last weekend), the film — which stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson as a group of seniors retiring in India — dropped just 29% despite its screen loss to gross a fantastic $1,615,000 over the weekend. That gave it a $2,179 per-theater-average was up from last weekend and the film’s total now stands at $38,370,339.

The film is by far the highest-grossing indie of 2012 and a final gross close to $50 million looking likely. It’s already grossed well over $125 million worldwide (more on that here).

“The Intouchables” (The Weinstein Company)
Also doing well this weekend was Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano’s “The Intouchables,” which dropped from 77 to 74 theaters for its fifth frame. It lost an impressive 0% of its grosses as a result and took in an estimated $356,000, averaging $4,811. That helped it cross the $2 million mark, giving it a new total of $2,102,808 .

The film is already a massive hit overseas, taking in over $343 million, with $166 million in its native France alone.

“Bernie” (Millennium Entertainment)
Finally, Millennium Entertainment continued to find legs via Richard Linklater’s dark comedy “Bernie.” Starring Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, the film managed strong numbers in its ninth weekend. Dropping 80 theaters to 220, the film dropped lost only 21% of its grosses as it took in another $485,000 averaging $2,205. That’s notably a higher per-theater-average than last weekend, a notable feat for a film this late in its release. That gave it an impressive new total of $6,698,000. The film has nearly tripled the combined gross of Linklater’s previous two films, “Me and Orson Welles” and “Fast Food Nation.”

Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Senior Editor. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Indiewire tracks independent/specialty releases compiled from Rentrak Theatrical, which collects studio reported data as well as box-office figures from North American theatre locations. To be included in the Indiewire Box Office Chart, distributors must submit information about their films to Rentrak at studiogrosses@rentrak.com by the end of the day each Monday.

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