Sony Pictures Classics’ Grandma rode into four cinemas over the weekend, giving the Specialty Box Office some much needed pep. The title with Lily Tomlin as the title character was easily the weekend’s per-theater-average champ and one of the summer’s highest limited release PTA debuts. Broad Green Pictures bowed Learning To Drive starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley on Friday, receiving a strong lift as it headed into Saturday, while The Orchard lit Digging For Fire in three locations. Fox Searchlight expanded Noah Baumbach’s second 2015 release, Mistress America, into more than two-dozen additional theaters with decent results, while Music Box’s Meru climbed solidly into its second weekend. And A24 added a couple hundred-plus theaters for the fourth week of The End Of The Tour, holding solidly. Meanwhile, Lionsgate Premiere didn’t report numbers for Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way, which debuted via VOD and limited theatrical release. The comedy stars Owen Wilson, Imogen Poots, Jennifer Aniston and Kathryn Hahn.

Grandma, the Sundance 2015 feature directed by Paul Weitz, grossed nearly $121K, averaging a very tidy $30,214. That places the film, which also stars Marcia Gay Harden and Julia Garner, in the upper echelon of limited release films in 2015, ahead of SPC’s July debut of Irrational Man by Woody Allen ($25K average in 7 theaters). Among the year’s highest PTA debuts are A24’s Ex Machina ($59,316 average in 4 theaters), While We’re Young ($56,922 in 4 theaters), A Most Violent Year ($43,197 in four theaters) and RADiUS’ It Follows ($40K in 4 theaters).

Tomlin co-starred in Weitz’s 2013 feature Admission (starring Tina Fey, Paul Rudd and Michael Sheen), which Focus Features opened in March of that year in 2,160 theaters, grossing over $6.1M its opening weekend and totaling just over $18M. Weitz noted this week that while working on Admission, he had Tomlin in mind for Grandma and approached her soon after wrapping work on the project. Grandma is unlikely to reach the final number of that wide release, but momentum is on its side for now. SPC will add theaters in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix next weekend.

Learning To Drive PosterBroad Green Pictures opened its first English-language title, Learning To Drive, in four NYC and LA theaters Friday. Directed by Isabel Coixet, the film starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley grossed $67,417 in four theaters for a decent $16,854 PTA. Women were the major drivers of the title, which Broad Green said saw a 49% lift from Friday to Saturday. Its Lincoln Square showings increased 67% Friday to Saturday and placed third at the New York venue behind Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation IMAX and Straight Outta Compton. A Broad Green spokesperson said this morning “We are proud of the way that Learning to Drive opened this weekend and of the female driven filmmaking crew [including] the writer, author, director, camera-op plus the wonderful Patricia Clarkson.”

Broad Green will add locations in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Phoenix next weekend. The distributor will add more theaters in those markets in addition to another 15 markets soon after, going on to the top 50 markets and around 100 locations by September 11.

The Orchard opened Joe Swanberg’s latest, Digging For Fire, in three theaters, grossing $24,544 over the weekend, averaging $8,181 in a narrow exclusive theatrical run, which continues until next Tuesday. The Orchard noted that the title grossed $12,593 at the Music Box Theater in Swanberg’s hometown of Chicago, over half of the weekend’s total. Swanberg’s 2013 title Drinking Buddies, starring Anna Kendrick and Olivia Wilde, opened in two theaters following an ultra-VOD rollout, grossing $19,505 in two theaters, averaging $9,753.

“We love Joe’s film and we’re encouraged by its opening weekend performance, which landed Digging for Fire the number one spot in each of its three theaters,” said The Orchard’s SVP of Film and TV, Paul Davidson. “While we expect solid theatrical performance going into our second frame, it’s no question that VOD is the sweet spot for this compelling ensemble comedy, and The Orchard will share those initial results next weekend.”

Digging For Fire expands next week to the Top 20 North American markets, and will be available on VOD nationwide starting Tuesday.

Stephen and Timothy Quay’s STREET OF CROCODILES (1986). CourteAmong other openers, Zeitgeist Films bowed The Quay Brothers, grossing $9,831 Friday to Sunday. The title was buoyed by two Wednesday special event screenings with Christopher Nolan in attendance. The title grossed over $6K that evening and its 5-day cume is $18,423.

And Submarine Deluxe opened Doug Aitken’s Station To Station exclusively at LA’s Nuart, grossing a decent $9,494.

Fox Searchlight added two dozen locations for Mistress America‘s second frame. It grossed $237K in 32 theaters, averaging $7,406. This is Baumbach’s second film of the year, coming on the heels of A24’s While We’re Young last March. In its second weekend, that film grossed over $483K in 34 theaters, averaging $14,226, although that title was certainly more star-packed.

Noted Searchlight’s Frank Rodriguez when reporting numbers this morning: “The film has opened strong in new markets this weekend as well as continuing to hold well in New York and Los Angeles, playing best to Noah Baumbach’s core audience but also capturing the Art and Specialty moviegoer.” Searchlight will take Mistress America to an additional 28 markets next week, going to 130-150 screens. The feature will be in 400+ runs across North America by September 4.

Music Box Films added 25 runs for its doc Meru. In its second frame, the film by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (also one of the film’s subjects) grossed a healthy $172K in 32 theaters, averaging $5,375. Music Box noted that the title had strong results in the Bay Area and its first weekend drops were “comparable to Mistress America in its second weekend.”

The company said this weekend’s added locations that were not “carefully curated to maximize PTA. Obviously place like Port Townsend, WA outside of Seattle with a population of 26,000 could have waited but they’re a good customer and asked to start when they did.” Music Box will add Boston, Chicago, Portland, Salt Lake City and rest of the top 50 markets along with Western/Mountain zone markets in the next two weeks.

In its 4th weekend, A24 added 222 runs for The End Of The Tour. The feature starring Jesse Eisenberg grossed over $523K in 355 theaters, averaging $1,475. Last weekend the title grossed $399K in 133 theaters, averaging $3K. Its one month cume is now $1,689,540.

And Roadside Attractions/Miramax’s Mr. Holmes easily crossed $15M over the weekend. The feature grossed $606,500, averaging $1,410 in 430 theaters, bringing its total to $15,390,163.

NEW
Digging For Fire PosterDigging For Fire (The Orchard) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $24,544, Average $8,181
Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $120,856, Average $30,214
Learning To Drive (Broad Green Pictures) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $67,417, Average $16,854
The Love Affair (ABS) NEW [80 Theaters] Weekend $617K, Average $7,711
The Quay Brothers (Zeitgeist Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,831, Cume $18,423 (opened Wednesday with special event)
Station To Station (Submarine Deluxe) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,494
RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND
Meru (Music Box Films) Week 2 [32 Theaters] Weekend $172K, Average $5,375, Cume $318,298
Mistress America (Fox Searchlight) Week 2 [32 Theaters] Weekend $237K, Average $7,406, Cume $378,048
Paulette (Cohen Media Group) Week 2 [1 Theater] Weekend $8,542, Cume $22,092
People Places Things (The Film Arcade) Week 2 [12 Theaters] Weekend $8,813, Average $734, Cume $50,019
HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS
The Diary Of A Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3 [69 Theaters] Weekend $180,359, Average $2,614, Cume $425,030
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet (GKIDS) Week 3 [24 Theaters] Weekend $47,294, Average $1,971, Cume $143,093
Listen To Me Marlon (Showtime Documentary Films) Week 4 [26 Theaters] Weekend $43,538, Average $1,675, Cume $240,345
The End of the TourThe End Of The Tour (A24) Week 4 [355 Theaters] Weekend $523,625, Average $1,475, Cume $1,689,540
A LEGO Brickumentary (RADiUS) Week 4 [5 Theaters] Weekend $2,447, Average $489, Cume $100,017; Week 4 VOD Cume: 501,462
Phoenix (Sundance Selects) Week 5 [108 Theaters] Weekend $342,144, Average $3,168, Cume $962,692
Samba (Broad Green Pictures) Week 5 [4 Theaters] Weekend $1,911, Average $478, Cume $149,841
Irrational Man (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [185 Theaters] Weekend $225,324, Average $1,218, Cume $3,525,465
Mr. Holmes (Roadside Attractions/Miramax) Week 6 [430 Theaters] Weekend $606,500, Average $1,410, Cume $15,390,163
The Stanford Prison Experiment (IFC Films) Week 6 [25 Theaters] Weekend $25K, Average $1K, Cume $558,302
Amy (A24) Week 8 [100 Theaters] Weekend $139,500, Average $1,395, Cume $7,638,055
Cartel Land (The Orchard) Week 8 [18 Theaters] Weekend $11,618, Average $645, Cume $645,613
The Overnight (The Orchard) Week 10 [5 Theaters] Weekend $1,996, Average $399, Cume $1,107,897
Love & Mercy (Roadside/Lionsgate) Week 12 [41 Theaters] Weekend $28,250, Average $689, Cume $12,422,700
The Hunting Ground (RADiUS) Week 25 [2 Theaters] Weekend $1,100, Average $550, Cume $405,992