Each Tuesday, Indiewire publishes a box office chart that sorts the final weekend numbers of all specialty releases by per-theater average. You can check out the full chart here, but here are some highlights:
Top Per-Theater Average: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (Fox Searchlight)
After a hugely successful opening last weekend (it managed the third best limited debut of the year), Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild” expanded from 4 to 19 theaters in its second frame. That included screens in New Orleans, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, and Dallas, as well as New York and LA, where it opened last weekend.
The result? A fantastic 120% surge in grosses. “Beasts” took in a $374,057 gross and a $19,687 average, the best average of any film in release, including “The Amazing Spiderman.” Added to some very strong mid-week grosses thanks to the holiday, the film has now totalled $743,846 heading into further expansion next weekend (it hits 12 new markets). For a largely experimental film with no name actors whatsoever, this could turn into a very special box office hit for Fox Searchlight.
Most Disappointing Debut: “The Magic of Belle Isle” (Magnolia)
No debuting film did well this weekend, but Rob Reiner (yes, that Rob Reiner) had his “The Magic of Belle Isle” manage the unfortunate distinction of worst in show. Starring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen, the film hit 4 screens thanks to Magnolia Pictures. The result was far from “Bucket List” numbers as the film grossed a less than magical, grossing just $10,367 for an average of $2,592.
Most Impressive Expansion (Besides “Beasts”): “To Rome With Love” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sony Classics went for it this weekend with Woody Allen’s “To Rome With Love.” In its third frame, they expanded from 29 screens to a whopping 806, clearly sensing a need to cash in on momentum. The plan worked out well, with the film soaring 349% in grosses to take in $3,104,328 and find a place in the overall top 10. The film’s total now stands at $4,863,530.
The film is now tracking behind last year’s megahit “Midnight in Paris,” but that’s quite reasonable considering it found much less glowing reviews. Sony Classics should still be more than happy with these numbers, and has already seen “Rome” outgross their 2010 collaboration with Woody, “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” (which took in $3.3 million). It should outgross 2009’s “Whatever Works” in the next day or so (that film managed $5.3 million).
Milestones: “Moonrise Kingdom” (Focus Features )
In its seventh weekend, Focus Features’ “Moonrise Kingdom” expanded slightly from 854 to 884 screens after a massive expansion last weekend. lt held on exceptionally strong, dropping just 8% in grosses. The Wes Anderson film took in $4,519,195 placing in the overall top 10 yet again and averaging a very healthy $5,112.
“‘Moonrise’ maintained its momentum for the second weekend holiday play period and the film had a modest (-4%) drop compared to last Saturday,” Focus said in a statement. “Many theaters actually experienced increases in box office results over last Saturday. The core ‘Moonrise’ houses continue to generate very sizeable grosses and the film is still holding onto the top ranking position in many of these theaters.”
The film’s new total is $26,780,989. It is now the second highest grossing Anderson film, after 2001’s “The Royal Tenenbaums.” At this rate, it should be set to pass the $40 million mark — rivalling “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” as the highest grossing indie of 2012 so far.
Check out the full box office chart.