Indie FilmsThe Weinstein Company’s Philomena and holdovers The Great Beauty, 12 Years A Slave, and Dallas Buyers Club lent some zest to the Specialty Box Office this weekend, with Philomena platforming in New York and L.A. in four theaters and grossing $133,716 for a strong $33,429 average. Ahead of the Stephen Frears-directed feature’s roll out Friday, TWC said they expected the film would pique audience attention, especially among the sometimes lucrative mature movie-going set. TWC’s president of theatrical distribution Erik Lomis said the title had very positive word of mouth screenings in various parts of the country including the Midwest, which has motivated the distributor to open the film fairly wide after this weekend.

“It’s right in the range where we were hoping it would be,” said Lomis Sunday morning.”It plays to an older audience, and we knew it would. We think we’re positioned well as it expands nationally next weekend.” Lomis said the film’s exit polls were “through the roof” with 94% giving it an “excellent” or “very good” reaction. Philomena lead Judi Dench starred in 2012 hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, scoring heavily with mature audiences. Fox Searchlight released Marigold to box office acclaim, grossing over $46.4 million domestically last year. On a straight screen average comparison, Philomena‘s opening weekend is actually higher, coming in at $33,429 vs Marigold‘s initial $27K PSA, though that film opened in 27 theaters. TWC, naturally, is hoping to follow some of that film’s success. Philomena will expand to about 700 theaters next Wednesday heading into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Lomis said they’re looking to roughly replicate Marigold‘s release, albeit at a different time of the year (Marigold opened in May of 2012). Like Marigold, Philomena is attracting an older crowd with 83% of this weekend’s audience over 45. Lomis said the film is offering something for an underserved audience as holiday season gears up, but also added he hopes younger crowds will also check out the film.

This weekend, The Netherlands is playing host to its annual non-fiction festival, The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), one of the world’s largest. Perhaps coincidentally, the weekend’s newcomers in the Specialty B.O. were mostly docs, including IFC Films’ Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? which closed out another documentary festival, DOC NYC last Thursday. Directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry, the feature grossed under $32K in a trio of runs, averaging $10,620. Perhaps not bad for an animated doc that centers on a conversation with philosopher and activist Noam Chomsky. It will next head to the Roxie in San Francisco for the holiday weekend, followed by several additional markets December 6 and it is slated for the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Said IFC Films Sunday: “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy sold out several shows at the IFC Center in NYC this weekend. The…film received rave reviews in NY and LA. [and] will continue its platform release with San Francisco opening Friday and the top fifteen markets throughout December.”

Cinedigm opened Sundance debut Narco Cultura at a single location Friday. The title which spotlights the growing popularity of music that celebrates narco traffickers, bowed with $7,713 with a single location reporting. “On the one hand this is an extremely powerful and effective indictment of the war on drugs, but it’s also the most intense horror film you’ll ever see,” said Cinedigm’s Vincent Scordino last week. “When you add in the music and unparalleled access, you start to understand how commercially minded audiences will connect with the film as well.” Cinedigm will open more “key markets” including Los Angeles December 6 with further expansion based on performance. Submarine Deluxe, the distribution label of sales company Submarine opened the re-release of Frank Simon and Roman Polanski’s 1971 doc Weekend Of A Champion in two New York locations. The film spotlighting Formula One personality Sir Jackie Stewart grossed just over $4K , averaging slightly over $2K.

Second weekend holdover The Great Beauty held brilliantly as it expanded to the NuArt in L.A. and holding theaters in NYC. Italy’s Best Foreign Language Oscar contender grossed a dazzling $54,755 from 3 runs, averaging $18,252, giving the Janus Film release the second biggest PSA among the films reporting Sunday. It will head to the top 10 markets next weekend and add additional runs in NYC and L.A. Paramount Vantage expanded Alexander Payne’s Oscar hopeful Nebraska into 24 additional locations, grossing $350K. The film averaged a cool $12,500. It will expand to the top 30 markets November 27.

Focus Features gave Dallas Buyers Club a big jump in theaters in the film’s fourth weekend and the film starring Matthew McConaughey held solid, grossing just under $2.8 million ($4,159 average). Dallas, which is the final release under the tenure of James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, continued to draw audiences and the company noted its healthy expansion Sunday when reporting its numbers: “Dallas sustained its Friday to Saturday box office growth trend with a hefty 57% increase. The film successfully expanded into additional markets this weekend and continues to draw new audiences around the country; Dallas also sustained box office momentum in a very competitive marketplace with audiences in the holdover houses where it continues to play well.” Dallas placed 10th in the overall box office for the weekend.

And Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave continued to be a Specialty draw, adding another 63 runs in its sixth weekend. The film placed ninth in the overall box office, grossing $2.8 million, averaging $1,900. Last week the film grossed $4.7 million, averaging $3,331 in 1,411 theaters.

NEW

Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? (IFC Films) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $31,760, Average $10,620
Narco Cultura (Cinedigm) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,713
Philomena (The Weinstein Company) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $133,716, Average $33,429
Weekend Of A Champion (Submarine Deluxe) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $4,082, Average $2,041

Returning / 2nd Weekend

The Great Beauty (Janus Films) Week 2 (3 Theaters) Weekend $54,755, Average $18,252, Cume $93,454
Nebraska (Paramount Vantage) Week 2 (28 Theaters) Weekend $350K, Average $12,500, Cume $540K

Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends

The Armstrong Lie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [37 Theaters] Weekend $44,746, Average $1,209, Cume $147,278
The Book Thief (20th Century Fox) Week 3 [70 Theaters] Weekend $605K, Average $8,643, Cume $1,302,860
Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features) Week 4 [666 Theaters] Weekend $2,769,989, Average $4,159, Cume $6,449,603
Blue Is The Warmest Color (Sundance Selects) Week 5 [138 Theaters] Weekend $193,200, Average $1,400, Cume $1,457,890
Spinning Plates (The Film Arcade) Week 5 [5 Theaters] Weekend $5,919, Average $1,184, Cume $86,985
All Is Lost (Roadside/Lionsgate) Week 6 [338 Theaters] Weekend $379,700, Average $1,182, Cume $4,970,538
12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [1,474 Theaters] Weekend $2.8M, Average $1,900, Cume $29,393,312
Kill Your Darlings (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [78 Theaters] Weekend $105,819, Average $1,357, Cume $648,952
Inequality For All (RADiUS-TWC) Week 9 [12 Theaters] Weekend $5,556, Average $463, Cume $1,158,829
Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) Week 10 [233 Theaters] Weekend $240K, Average $1,030, Cume $16,985,161
Generation Iron (Vladar) Week 10 [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,200, Average $5,100, Cume $814,121
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 18 [43 Theaters] Weekend $51,096, Average $1,188, Cume $32,695,108
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC) Week 24 [7 Theaters] Weekend $6,212, Average $887, Cume $4,771,321