Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie FilmsThis weekend’s specialty newcomers performed blasé at best and that’s despite the debut of a new film by a director who is all but a patron saint to the cineaste crowd. Topping the report Sunday morning is LD Entertainment’s Disconnect. Starring Jason Bateman and Hope Davis, the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival opener averaged $8,240 from 15 runs, pulling ahead of Terrence Malick and Ben Affleck’s debut, To The Wonder, which averaged $7,647 in 17 theaters. Sundance Selects opened Ken Loach’s Cannes 2012 title The Angels’ Share in 3 theaters, averaging $7K, while Oscilloscope’s It’s A Disaster also opened in a trio of locations, averaging $5,667. But the real good news came from Focus Features’ The Place Beyond The Pines. The Derek Cianfrance-directed feature showed off its box office prowess, averaging a solid $8K in over 500 theaters.

Word on the street was that To The Wonder was Malick’s “most accessible” film, but the film failed to measure up to his comparatively less user friendly previous film Tree Of Life. That film, which opened in 2011 in 4 theaters, averaged a cool $93,230 though it went on to cume $13.3 million. Hopefully the film will show some legs going forward. “I think it’s better outside a festival context and works better on its own,” said Magnolia’s Matt Cowal. “It’s sparking an incredible dialog. You can’t expect it to be liked by everyone. Some hate it, some adore it. And that’s expected in a work of art – it’s fascinating.” iTunes had some good news for To The Wonder this weekend. It topped its Independent charts all weekend. Magnolia will open the film in nearly every major market over the next two weeks.

Henry Alex Rubin scored an Oscar nomination for his doc Murderball back in 2005. His filmmaking follow-up, Disconnect, centers on a group of people searching for human connections in today’s wired world. The film topped the weekend’s limited release titles, though its numbers were hardly spectacular. It will head to the top 20 markets next weekend.

Last weekend’s Specialty topper Trance added several hundred theaters in its second frame, grossing $925K. The Danny Boyle-directed thriller starring James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson opened last weekend in 4 locations, averaging $34K.

Chris Makepeace
2 years
I would like to see 'The Place beyond the Pines'. The trailer looked good, the reviews are...
hh
2 years
Can we stop saying films that are made from $10-50 million with stars like Ryan Gosling, Jason...
Wonder-ful
2 years
I bought To the Wonder on PPV and absolutely loved it. Totally gorgeous.

But Focus Features’ The Place Beyond The Pines topped absolute numbers among the Specialties this weekend and easily showed itself as the box office star. The feature, starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper grossed just under $4.1 million in its third weekend. Last weekend, it averaged $23,168 in 30 theaters.

Clearly pleased with the numbers, Focus Features noted Sunday: “The film sustained its BO momentum by performing in new commercial theaters, and also showed legs in theaters in their 2nd and 3rd weeks. There are notable box office dynamics driving the film’s success: sell outs occurred in many houses particularly in the prime late matinee/early evening shows which is when older adult (35+) patronage is usually strong; late show business was also robust in smart/commercial houses—indicating the film’s appeal to younger ticket buyers around the country. The geographic range of successful new markets is broad and diverse (ie, San Jose, Anchorage, Austin, Miami, Indianapolis, Nashville San Antonio, Milwaukee, Memphis, Wichita and Santa Cruz). Of note, college markets (large and small) also performed very well (i.e., Austin, Columbus, Syracuse, Madison)”.

The distributor also compared Pines‘ performance with Trance: “The film had modest drops in theaters in their 2nd and 3rd weeks (and in some cases, box office actually increased over their respective results of last Friday and Saturday – indicating that positive word-of-mouth is at play). Of particular note was the entry into the market of a direct competitor with an almost identical release strategy as Pines - Trance. Pines‘ estimated weekend gross will be well over three times that for Trance.” The pic will be in 1000-plus theaters next weekend.

NEW
The Angels’ Share (Sundance Selects) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $21K, Average $7K
Disconnect (LD Entertainment) NEW [15 Theaters] Weekend $123,597, Average $8,240
It’s A Disaster (Oscilloscope) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $17K, Average $5,667
To The Wonder (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [17 Theaters] Weekend $130K, Average $7,647

Returning / 2nd Weekend
The Company You Keep (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [41 Theaters] Weekend $310,763, Average $7,580, Cume $483,373
Simon Killer (IFC Films) Week 2 [2 Theater] Weekend $6,400, Average $3,200, Cume $13,400
Trance (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [438 Theaters] Weekend $925K, Average $2,112, Cume $1,099,608
Upstream Color (erbp Film – Self Distributed) Week 2 [11 Theater] Weekend $74,140, Average $6,740, Cume $112,871

Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends
Blancanieves (Cohen Media Group) Week 3 [17 Theaters] Weekend $29,621, Average $1,742, Cume $118,188
The Place Beyond The Pines (Focus Features) Week 3 [514 Theaters] Weekend $4,079,576, Cume $5,454,861
Renoir (IDP/Samuel Goldwyn Films) Week 3 [49 Theaters] Weekend $166,600, Average $3,400, Cume $407,588
Room 237 (IFC Midnight) Week 3 [17 Theaters] Weekend $34K, Average $2K, Cume $151,200
Gimme The Loot (Sundance Selects) Week 4 [6 Theater] Weekend $6,600, Average $1,100, Cume $80K
On The Road (IFC Films) Week 4 [50 Theaters] Weekend $40K, Average $800, Cume $640,200
The Sapphires (The Weinstein Company) Week 4 [93 Theaters] Weekend $245K, Average $2,634, Cume $780,401
Emperor (Roadside Attractions) Week 6 [96 Theaters] Weekend $51,500, Average $536, Cume $3,182,242
NO (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 9 [99 Theaters] Weekend $179,079, Average $1,809, Cume $1,868,913
The Gatekeepers (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 11 [90 Theaters] Weekend $70,812, Average $787, Cume $2,257,379
Quartet (The Weinstein Company) Week 14 [224 Theaters] Weekend $229K, Average $1,022, Cume $17,579,915
The Impossible (Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate) Week 17 [77 Theaters] Weekend $48K, Average $623, Cume $18,984,919