Ana Lily Amirpour’s “Persian vampire western,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” is definitely the most prominent among them. Kino Lorber released the film — a hit on the festival circuit since debuting at Sundance earlier this year — at NYC’s IFC Center and LA’s Nuart Theatre for a total weekend gross of $26,000. That made for a $13,000 average, the second best of any specialty film after “Foxcatcher.” The film will add runs in these markets as well as expanding to San Francisco, Seattle and many other cities in the coming weeks.
Kino Lorber also found success with the very different “Monk with a Camera,” Tina Mascara and Guido Santi’s documentary about Nicholas Vreeland’s journey from a life of worldly privilege to that of a Tibetan Buddhist monk. The film grossed $10,000 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York, including numerous sold out shows. The film will continue its NY run and open in Los Angeles on December 12th.
Less successful were debuts from Oscilloscope’s “Pulp” and Music Box Films’ “Happy Valley.” The former averaged $611 from 36 theaters, while the latter took in an average of $2,375 from 4 theaters.
Meanwhile, the Oscar contenders kept it coming: “Foxcatcher” jumped from 6 to 24 theaters and saw it easily find the best per-theater-average of any film in limited release. Starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, the Bennett Miller-directed, Sony Pictures Classics-released film grossed $474,339 this weekend, averaging a potent $19,764. That puts it ahead of Miller’s “Capote,” which was also released by Sony Classics and had a similar release trajectory. In its second weekend it averaged $16,480 from 24 theaters. Of course, that film went on to win a Best Actor Oscar and gross $28.8 million. Certainly both things “Foxcatcher” would be happy to achieve as well.
Standing in “Foxcatcher”‘s way — at least in terms of that Best Actor Oscar — are two films also in release: “The Theory of Everything” and “Birdman,” which feature performances from Eddie Redmayne and Michael Keaton both all but certain to net Oscar noms. Focus Features’ sent James Marsh’s “Theory” from 41 to 140 theaters in its sthird weekend, seeing a 104% jump in grosses as it took in $1,500,000, averaging an impressive $10,714 per theater.
stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife
Jane, and is based on Jane’s memoirs of her marriage to Stephen. It
debuted to strong reviews at the Toronto Film Festival, and clearly
Focus has golden dreams for the film in its near future.
Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight took Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Oscar hopeful “Birdman” from 857 to 852 theaters on Friday. Dropping just 25% despite the tiny jump in screens, the film managed $1,855,000 for a $2,152 average — putting it in the overall top 10 for the second weekend in a row. The film has now totaled $14,407,107 — outgrossing both “Biutiful” and “Amores Perros” to fall in the middle as far as Iñárritu’s top grossers go. “21 Grams” took in $16.3 million, while “Babel” grossed $34.3 million. It seems all but certain “Birdman” will at least fall somewhere in the middle of those films when all is said and done.
“Birdman” stars Michael Keaton as a washed-up Hollywood actor who once played a superhero. Aiming to reinvent his career, he tries adapting Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” as a play.
The film has received glowing reviews, and Keaton is likely to be facing off with “Theory” star Redmayne and “Foxcatcher” star Carell in this year’s best actor Oscar race. All three have ever been nominated before.
Other notably holdover performers this weekend included
RADiUS-TWC and Participant Media’s “CITIZENFOUR.” In its fifth weekend, Laura Poitras’
critically lauded documentary went from 75 to 86 theaters. Offering remarkable insight Edward Snowden and the NSA
the film grossed $183,592 to average a very healthy $2,135 as it
continues its expansion. The film has now grossed $1,221,133 — making it the seventh documentary this year to hit the $1 million mark. “America,” “Meet The Mormons,” “Tim’s Vermeer,” “Fed Up,” “Finding Vivian Maier,” and “Bears” are the eclectic other six.
Head over to the next page for a chart of the weekend’s 15 best per-theater-averages.
The Weekend’s Specialty Top 15 (ranked in order of
per-theater-average, and only including films that both submitted
estimates and initially opened in under 500 theaters):
6. The Homesman (Roadside Attractions/Saban Films)
Weekend Gross: $140,035
Theaters: 33 (up from 4)
Total Gross: $202,150
Criticwire Average: B-
Read more about “The Homesman”
10. Birdman (Fox Searchlight)
Weekend Gross: $1,855,000
Theaters: 862 (up from 857)
Total Gross: $14,407,107
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “Birdman”
11. CITIZENFOUR (RADiUS-TWC/Participant)
Weekend Gross: $183,592
Theaters: 86 (up from 75)
Total Gross: $1,221,133
Criticwire Average: A-
Read more about “CITIZENFOUR”
12. Awake: The Life of Yogananda (Counterpoint Films & Self-Realization Fellowship)
Weekend Gross: $27,818
Theaters: 14 (down from 15)
Total Gross: $633,855
Criticwire Average: N/A
13. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (Samuel Goldwyn)
Weekend Gross: $643,500
Theaters: 390 (down from 410)
Total Gross: $1,904,487
Criticwire Average: N/A
Peter Knegt is a contributing editor at Indiewire and our box office columnist. Follow him on Twitter.