Roadside/Lionsgate opened its Sundance prize-winner The Skeleton Twins to robust numbers in a five-city platform debut across 15 theaters, taking one of the highest theater averages of the year among limited releases. In a much broader release, Fox Searchlight edged The Drop to a near-wide release over the weekend, landing sixth in overall box office.
The DropAmerican Experience/PBS Films‘ doc Last Days In Vietnam, meanwhile held over solidly, adding one theater in its second week, while China Lion maintained some momentum with the Stateside release of Chinese-language entry But Always, also adding a single location. Sony Pictures Classics expanded Love Is Strange with momentum.
Comedy-drama Skeleton Twins starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig grossed nearly $411K in 15 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington D.C., for a very solid $27,383 PTA. The film, directed by Craig Johnson about long-estranged and troubled twins reuniting was No. 1 in a dozen locations, said Roadside, including at indie meccas the Arclight Hollywood, The Landmark in L.A., as well as New York’s Lincoln Square and the Angelika.
 The film’s prospects were no doubt helped by what Roadside called “a wide array of PR appearances” by the stars and co-stars Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell.
Image (17) grandbudapesthotel__140130202444.jpg for post 706444Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel easily remains the year’s biggest rollout (and one of the biggest generally). It started with a $202,792 average in four theaters in March.
Other big bows in 2014 include:
IFC FilmsBoyhood with a $77,524 average in five theaters in July;
* Open Road’s Chef with a PTA over $34K in six theaters in June;
* A24’s Under The Skin with a $33,289 PTA in several locations in April;
* TWC’s Begin Again with a $26,813 PTA in its initial five runs in July.
Begin Again has cumed just over $16 million to date. Skeleton Twins had a slightly higher average in more than a dozen initial runs, so the film, which won Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award, may have a long life theatrically through the fall, even as awards-season contenders start to crowd theaters. Roadside/Lionsgate said that the film’s four leads will help maintain momentum. They all have TV appearances scheduled the next two weeks as Skeletons expands. The film will open in the rest of the top ten markets Sept. 19 ahead of a nationwide release Sept. 26.
Fox Searchlight’s The Drop bowed this weekend in more than 800 theaters nationwide, bringing a decent $5,191 PTA from a $4.2 million gross.That take landed the title sixth in the overall box office.
As my colleague Anita Busch noted in her Sunday box office report, Searchlight opened the feature in a combination of “art houses, suburban multiplexes, urban theaters” and elsewhere. Her story has much more background on “The Drop.”
Image (14) The-Disappearance-of-Eleanor-Rigby__131123071042-275x183.jpg for post 737329Back among the limited releases, TWC had a decent initial run with The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them. Them, one of three cuts of the romantic drama planned for eventual release, grossed $77,181 in four locations for a $19,295 per-theater average.
“I thought it got off to a pretty solid start [and] it played like we expected with a two-thirds female/one-third male audience,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “It was also 47 percent under (age) 35, which is a pretty solid number for a film like this. It speaks to the drawing power of [its stars] Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.”
The film had a 49-percent increase from Friday to Saturday. The Weinstein Company said it will roll out Eleanor Rigby to about 175 theaters in the top 50 markets this coming week and is hoping for some crossover appeal to a broader group of viewers. “I’m hoping the commercial audience will embrace it,” added Lomis. “The upscale audience has.”
In other weekend openers, Cohen Media Group had some spring in its step with My Old Lady, opening in 11 theaters with $133,601, averaging $12,145.
“We’re thrilled that the film is already reaching its core audience and excited for this coming weekend’s expansion,” Cohen said.
Music Box opened The Green Prince in several locations grossing $38K for a $9,500 PTA. It will head to the top 10 markets next week and the top 25 by Oct. 10.
IFC Films opened Bird People in an exclusive run, grossing $8,140. It will head to the top ten markets throughout September. And Abramorama opened Take Me To The River with 12 runs, growing $25,329, averaging a comparatively slow $2,111.
Film Set - 'Love Is Strange'Doc filmmaker Rory Kennedy’s Sundance doc Last Days In Vietnam held solid with one additional location in its second weekend. It grossed $25,150 for an $8,383 PTA. Last week, it averaged $15,225 in its initial two runs. It will open L.A., Philadelphia and Boston next weekend before heading to the top 15 markets throughout September and early October. It will broadcast on PBS next spring, timed the 40th anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam.
Sony Classics added 58 theaters for the 4th weekend of Ira Sachs’ Love Is Strange. It grossed over $380K from 102 runs, averaging $3,728. Last weekend it grossed over $284K in 44 theaters ($6,468 PTA). Its four-week cume is now over $1.27 million.
Pantelion/Lionsgate shed 5 runs for the third weekend of biopic Cantinflas, grossing $540K for a $1,274 average. It grossed over $1 million last weekend in 429 theaters for a $2,401 PTA. Its three-week cume is now over $5.6 million.
BoyhoodAnd IFC Films added 71 runs for The Trip To Italy, grossing over $480K in 155 theaters ($3,100 PTA). Last weekend it averaged $4,159 in 84 locations. Its five-week cume is now over $1.68 million. The distributor played its awards hopeful Boyhood in 659 theaters in the film’s 10th weekend, 116 less than last week. It is still holding solid numbers, grossing over $975K for a $1,480 PTA. Its cume is nearly $22 million.

NEW RELEASES

Bird People (IFC Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $8,140

The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Them (The Weinstein Company) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $77,181, Average $19,295

The Drop (Fox Searchlight) NEW [809 Theaters] Weekend $4.2 million, Average $5,190

The Green Prince (Music Box Films) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $38K, Average $9,500

My Old Lady (Cohen Media Group) NEW [11 Theaters] Weekend $133,601, Average $12,145, Cume $156,255 (Wed. open)

The Skeleton Twins (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) NEW [15 Theaters] Weekend $410,756, Average $27,383

Take Me To The River (Abramorama) NEW [12 Theaters] Weekend $25,329, Average $2,111

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND 

But Always (China Lion) Week 2 [20 Theaters] Weekend $95K, Average $4,750, Cume $311,750

Innocence (JSC Entertainment) Week 2 [27 Theaters] Weekend $3,691, Average $137, Cume $293,304

Last Days In Vietnam (American Experience/PBS Films) Week 2 [3 Theaters] Weekend $25,150, Average $8,383, Cume $63,388

No No: A Dockumentary (The Orchard) Week 2 [10 Theaters] Weekend $6,846, Average $684, Cume $31,655

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Cantinflas (Pantelion/Lionsgate) Week 3 [424 Theaters] Weekend $540K, Average $1,274, Cume $5,612,366

Love Is Strange (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [102 Theaters] Weekend $380,248, Average $3,728, Cume $1,275,987

The One I Love (RADiUS-TWC) Week 4 [82 Theaters] Weekend $84,475, Average $1,030, Cume $429,286

The Trip To Italy (IFC Films) Week 5 [155 Theaters] Weekend $480,500, Average $3,100, Cume $1,680,500

Calvary (Fox Searchlight) Week 7 [206 Theaters] Weekend $190K, Average $922, Cume $3,349,040

Rich Hill (The Orchard) Week 7 [8 Theaters] Weekend $4,665, Average $583, Cume $108,854

Magic In The Moonlight (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8 [399 Theaters] Weekend $463,183, Average $1,161, Cume $9,915,903

A Most Wanted Man (Roadside Attractions) Week 8 [395 Theaters] Weekend $470,275, Average $1,191, Cume $16,637,127

Boyhood (IFC Films) Week 10 [659 Theaters] Weekend $975,320, Average $1,480, Cume $21,918,320

Snowpiercer (RADiUS-TWC) Week 12 [20 Theaters] Weekend $13,508, Average $675, Cume $4,525,452