Todd Haynes’ Carol conquered the specialty box office this weekend, boasting the third-biggest opening of 2015 in terms of theater average. The Weinstein Company release grossed more than $248K in four New York and L.A. theaters. The title clearly dominated the weekend’s new releases. Universal opened director Brian Helgeland’s Legend with Tom Hardy in the dual role of the infamous London gang brothers Ronald and Reggie Kray. Legend collected a modest $82,884 from four theaters for a respectable average of $20,721. Other debuts were comparatively softer. Magnolia opened Entertainment in two locations grossing $5,132, while Sundance Selects bowed immigration drama Mediterranea also in a pair of locations, grossing $5K. China Lion rolled out A Journey Through Time With Anthony in 17 locations, grossing over $58K. And Film Title: LegendMusic Box Films launched doc Censored Voices with two runs, grossing $7K. Awards contenders Spotlight and Brooklyn, meanwhile, continued to show their luster amid expansion in their third frame. Both titles grossed seven figures this weekend.

The period drama Carol starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara joins the ranks of awards hopefuls Spotlight and Brooklyn in scoring a big opening weekend. Carol’s performance in 4 theaters gives Haynes’ movie about two women who fall in love a robust $62,037 per theater average, a big number that suggests the film could have enduring appeal.

“We’re very happy with Carol. It is the third biggest [opening weekend] screen average of the year behind Steve Jobs [$130,381 PTA in four cinemas] and Sicario [$66,881 in six] and those were advertising a lot ahead of their wide breaks,” TWC’ president of theatrical distribution Erik Lomis said Sunday. Carol was the top earner at both the Paris and Angelika theaters in New York as well as the Landmark in LA, Lomis added It placed second at the Arclight Hollywood behind Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

Carol also gave Haynes his best-ever opening weekend. His previous 1950s gay drama, Far From Heaven, took in more than $211K in six theaters ($35K+ PTA) when Focus Features released it back in November 2002. It went on to cume $15.9 million. His previous big screen title, I’m Not There, opened in 130 theaters in November 2007 grossing nearly $731K for a $5,621 average. That TWC title went on to cume just over $4 million.

For now, Carol is staying put in four cinemas. Lomis said TWC will add “just a few markets in less than 20 theaters by mid-December.” Carol will reach about 100 theaters for Christmas and expand further after Christmas and New Year’s Day.

After Legend‘s debut in four cinemas in New York and Los Angeles, Universal is hoping the film will gain momentum as it expands to additional U.S. markets on Wednesday before going out wide Dec. 11. Legend is a co-production with Studiocanal, Working Title Films and Cross Creek Pictures. Legend has done decent business in the UK and set some records along the way toward a $24M gross there.

EntertainmentThe weekend’s other reporting limited release titles found themselves in the shadow of Carol. Magnolia opened Entertainment in two theaters grossing $5,132 for a $2,566 average; Music Box’s doc Censored Voices was a bit higher with a $7K gross in two theaters, while Sundance Selects’ Mediterranea grossed $5K also in a pair of locations for a $2,500 PTA. China Lion opened A Journey Through Time With Anthony in 17 cinemas, grossing $58,164 for a $1,500 PTA.

The Film Arcade added a run for its drama James White starring Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon. The film directed by Josh Mond grossed $15K Friday to Sunday, averaging $7,500, somewhat better than most newcomers. James White opened last weekend exclusively at the Sunshine Theater in New York grossing $12,120. It’s two week cume is $31,437. China Lion shed 5 playdates for the second weekend of The Last Women Standing. It grossed $16K, averaging $1,333, while Bollywood title Prem Ratan Dhan Payo lost three cinemas in its second frame. The feature grossed $640K, averaging $2,261 in 283 theaters. It has cumed $3.97M.

SpotlightSpotlight and Brooklyn continue to impress in their third weekend. Open Road Films boosted Spotlight with 538 additional theaters. It grossed more than $3.6 million in 598 cinemas, averaging $6,026. Its cume is now over $5.87 million.

Fox Searchlight added 88 runs for Brooklyn. The film grossed $1.15 million in 111 theaters, averaging a sizzling $10,360, the weekend’s fourth best overall behind Carol, The Hunger Games and Legend. Searchlight’s Frank Rodriguez noted Sunday morning that “The reviews have been great, polling results have been very positive — an ‘A’ from Cinemascore this weekend — and the response at the box office continues to be impressive.”

Now in its sixth weekend, A24’s Room continues to hold well. The title grossed $379,200 in 160 theaters, averaging $2,370. Room has cumed over $2.89 million.

NEW RELEASES

censored voicesA Journey Through Time With Anthony (China Lion) NEW [17 Theaters] Weekend $58,164, Average $1,500, Cume $84,577 (Wed. Open)

Carol (The Weinstein Company) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $248,149, Average $62,037

Censored Voices (Music Box Films) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $7K, Average $3,500

Entertainment (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $5,132, Average $2,566, Cume $7,800 (Wed. Open)

Legend (Universal) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $82,884, Average $20,721

Mediterranea (Sundance Selects) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $5K, Average $2,500

james-whiteRETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

James White (The Film Arcade) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $15K, Average $7,500, Cume $31,437

The Last Women Standing (China Lion) Week 2 [12 Theaters] Weekend $16K, Average $1,333, Cume $154,933

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (FIP) Week 2 [283 Theaters] Weekend $640K, Average $2,261, Cume $3,972,506

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [111 Theaters] Weekend $1,150,000, Average $10,360, Cume $2,159,225

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Submarine Deluxe) Week 3 [20 Theaters] Weekend $51,305, Average $2,565, Cume $121,083

Spotlight (Open Road Films) Week 3 [598 Theaters] Weekend $3,603,466, Average $6,026, Cume $5,879,577

TrumboTrumbo (Bleecker Street) Week 3 [47 Theaters] Weekend $252,043, Average $5,362, Cume $580,245

Experimenter (Magnolia Pictures) Week 5 [23 Theaters] Weekend $7,767, Average $338, Cume $145,849

Heart Of A Dog (Abramorama) Week 5 [10 Theater] Weekend $20,834, Average $2,083, Cume $153,184

Suffragette (Focus Features) Week 5 [517 Theaters] Weekend $500K, Average $967, Cume $3,548,019

All Things Must Pass (Gravitas Ventures) Week 6 [8 Theaters] Weekend $3,600, Average $450, Cume $154,507

Room (A24) Week 6 [160 Theaters] Weekend $379,200, Average $2,370, Cume $2,896,210

Truth (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [63 Theaters] Weekend $45,802, Average $727, Cume $2,389,805

Goodbye Mr. Loser (China Lion) Week 7 [2 Theaters] Weekend $3,000, Average $1,500, Cume $1,292,195

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story Of The National Lampoon (Magnolia Pictures) Week 8, [5 Theaters] Weekend $241, Average $48, Cume $62,190

Labyrinth Of Lies (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8 [38 Theaters] Weekend $23,630, Average $622, Cume $679,028