The late Amy Winehouse drew big crowds to cinemas over the holiday weekend with one of the biggest debuts of any specialty release this year and certainly in the top tier for any documentary. In just six theaters, A24’s simply titled Amy grossed just over $222K for a robust $37,002 per-theater average, by far the biggest of any movie reporting grosses today. Sundance Film Festival award-winner Cartel Land also launched with a solid start in a pair of locations, while Sony Pictures Classics debuted Ken Loach’s Cannes ’14 feature Jimmy’s Hall in a trio of theaters, and Pureflix had the most sizable release among specialty pictures with Faith Of Our Fathers in 344 theaters. The Orchard added 262 theaters for The Overnight with Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche and Taylor Schilling. The Orchard also provided digital on-demand figures for Dior And I, totaling $115K in its first week.

Director Asif Kapadia’s Amy, featuring never before seen footage and tracks of the late Amy Winehouse ruled 4th of July weekend, opening in six theaters grossing $222,015 for a sensational $37,002 average. The film is one of the year’s best debuts and now the biggest documentary opener of 2015. Another doc about an artist who died at 27, HBO Documentary’s Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck opened with a $35,685 average in early June, but that film had about a week-long limited run in theaters before debuting on HBO. Amy will have a longer run in theaters.

“The film has been rapturously received by critics and audiences alike with an incredible 97% positive rank on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience approval rating to match. Sell-outs and added shows have been reported across the board with both crossover commercial and art house theaters doing record-breaking business,” A24 noted this morning in a statement.

Amy will expand nationwide this coming weekend, tying into a global campaign that launched with a nationwide debut in Winehouse’s home country Great Britain.

Sundance’s US Documentary Competition best director and best cinematography winner Cartel Land by Matthew Heineman, had a more challenging sell going up against Amy. The film is an on-the-ground look at the journeys of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels. Still, the film showed legs, grossing $17,161 for the weekend’s second-best average at $8,580. The Orchard said the title was the weekend’s top grosser at New York’s IFC Center.

Cartel Land‘s New York opening represents an exciting start for this emotional, affecting film,” said The Orchard’s SVP of Film & TV, Paul Davidson in a statement. “Not only is Matthew’s honest look at the stark events south of the Border resonating with audiences, but as is the hope with documentaries such as this — sparking real discussion and potential change in Mexico.” The Orchard will expand Cartel Land to the top 20 markets including the ArcLight Hollywood, featuring filmmaker Q&As with executive producer Kathryn Bigelow and actor Josh Brolin.

Sony Classics opened Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall in three theaters with a so-so start. The feature grossed $21,626, averaging $7,209. IFC Films opened Loach’s 2013 title The Angels’ Share in three theaters in April, 2013, grossing $18,837 ($6,279 PSA; $346,669 cume), while his Cannes Palme d’Or winner, The Wind That Shakes The Barley opened in 15 theaters in March, 2007, grossing $135,554 ($9,036 average). It went on to come $1,836,089 stateside. SPC co-president Michael Barker said they plan a slow “rollout throughout the summer.”

Pureflix opened Faith Of Our Fathers, starring Stephen Baldwin, hoping to tap 4th of July sentiment and the faith audience. The feature, by the studio that delivered the wildly successful God’s Not Dead ($60,755,732 come), grossed a sluggish $432,505 in 344 theaters Friday to Sunday, averaging $1,257. Its five-day cume is $621,296.

Focus World added 4 locations for A Little Chaos in its second frame, still struggling with a $126K three-day gross, averaging $1,448. The title, directed by Alan Rickman and starring Kate Winslet in a period feature, opened last weekend grossing $186K, averaging $2,241. Its two-week come is now just under $396K.

The Overnight, starring Adam Scott, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche and Taylor Schilling, had quite the theater boost over 4th of July weekend, adding 262 theaters in its third frame. The feature grossed $360,855, averaging $1,175. “Despite the overall hit the holiday weekend had on the box office, we’re encouraged by The Overnight’s small 15% drop week over week in core holdover theaters — less than 5% on Friday,” The Orchard’s Davidson said today.

Meanwhile, the company’s doc Dior And I became available via digital purchase at an average $13.99 price point, grossing an estimated $115K in its first week. The title has also remained the No. 1 doc on iTunes since its launch and is still in theaters in its 13th weekend. Dior And I grossed $2,230, bringing its theatrical come to $1,017,135.

Fox Searchlight’s Me And Earl And The Dying Girl crossed $4M over the weekend, grossing $1.32M in 870 theaters ($1,517 average), placing it 9th in the overall box office.

Also passing a milestone this weekend was Roadside/Lionsgate’s Love & Mercy, which easily crossed $10M in its 5th frame. The title grossed $725,500 in 444 theaters, averaging $1,634 ($10,513,315 cume).

NEW

Amy (A24) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $222,015, Average $37,002
Cartel Land (The Orchard) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $17,161, Average $8,580
Faith Of Our Fathers (Pureflix) NEW [344 Theaters] Weekend $432,505 (5-day Estimate $621,296), 3-day Average $1,257, 3-day Cume $432,505 (5-day Cume $621,296)
Jimmy’s Hall (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $21,626, Average $7,209

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Batkid Begins (Warner Bros.) Week 2 [4 Theaters] Weekend $4K, Average $1K, Cume $29K
A Little Chaos (Focus World) Week 2 [87 Theaters] Weekend $126K, Average $1,448, Cume $395,753

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Eden (Broad Green Pictures) Week 3 [15 Theaters] Weekend $6,662, Average $444, Cume $55,433
Infinitely Polar Bear (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [63 Theaters] Weekend $201,629, Average $3,200, Cume $363,056
Manglehorn (IFC Films) Week 3 [22 Theaters] Weekend $23,320, Average $1,060, Cume $72,321
The Overnight (The Orchard) Week 3 [307 Theaters] Weekend $360,855, Average $1,175, Cume $664,193
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [870 Theaters] Weekend $1.32M, Average $1,517, Cume $4,004,245
The Yes Men Are Revolting (The Orchard) Week 4 [3 Theaters] Weekend $1,123, Average $375, Cume $42,328; VOD estimate: $70K
Love & Mercy (Roadside/Lionsgate) Week 5 [444 Theaters] Weekend $725,500, Average $1,634, Cume $10,513,315
Testament Of Youth (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [68 Theaters] Weekend $174,439, Average $2,565, Cume $929,227
Heaven Knows What (RADiUS) Week 6 [2 Theaters] Weekend $239, Average $119, Cume $72,240
I’ll See You In My Dreams (Bleecker Street) Week 8 [240 Theaters] Weekend $470,255, Average $1,959, Cume $5,817,499
Far From The Madding Crowd (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 [105 Theaters] Weekend $130K, Average $1,238, Cume $11,849,821
Dior And I (The Orchard) Week 13 [5 Theaters] Weekend $2,230, Average $446, Cume $1,017,135; VOD Est. Week 1: $115K (purchase only)
Woman In Gold (The Weinstein Company) Week 14 [131 Theaters] Weekend $109K, Average $832, Cume $33,012,035