Two movies with very different audiences top this weekend's box office chart, according to studio estimates released on Sunday morning, but the really eye-popping numbers are to be found lower down the rankings. 300: Rise of an Empire leads the charge with a very solid $45 million or so from 3,470 theaters. While that's a long way behind the $70.9 million earned by 300 on its opening weekend, it's an impressive showing for a film that hasn't been earning particularly strong reviews and doesn't share much of the cast, nor the director, from the original movie. In second place, Mr. Peabody & Sherman will land at around $32.5 million for Fox. Playing in 3,934 theaters, the family animated adventure will have a decent $8,361 theater average, and its legs over the next few weeks will be closely watched -- it'll need them for any chance of a sequel.
The main story for the weekend, however, lies lower in the chart.
That story is the massive launch in limited release by The Grand Budapest Hotel. It is projected to earn $800,000 from just four theaters, for an extraordinary theater average of $200,000. That's the best theater average ever for a film not distributed by Disney (see complete list of top theater averages). It also handily beats the $522,996 earned by Moonrise Kingdom in its first weekend, also in four theaters, back in 2012. Such record-breaking is always something of a matter of circumstance, such as the theaters playing the film, ticket prices, number of screens used and so on, but however one slices it, this is a fantastic start for a movie with a lot of buzz.
The story among returning films revolves around the aftermath of last weekend's Oscars. 12 Years a Slave returns to the top 10 and doubles its take from last weekend, but still stands at a relatively modest $53 million in total. Great as the film undoubtedly is, it's a tough sell for general audiences. Gravity and Dallas Buyers Club are the other films to see an uptick from last weekend's totals, albeit of more modest proportions.
One other notable new entry in limited release is Particle Fever, which is expected to earn about $34,804 in three theaters, for an average comfortably over $11,000.
- Weekend Estimates
Bruce Nash email@example.com
Date posted: 2014-03-09