Finally some mojo in the specialty arena. After a string of dull weekends, the specialty box office summoned some enthusiasm with Spotlight, Brooklyn and the documentary In Jackson Heights. All high up among Awards possibilities, the features were the weekend’s 1st, 2nd and 4th best averages, respectively, of the overall specialty box office as of early afternoon Sunday. The B.O. certainly needed some kick, and finally got it. Also showing gusto out of the gate was Submarine Deluxe’s documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, which opened two locations. Bleecker Street’s Trumbo bowed in 5 locations, grossing over $77K.

Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight took center stage in a crowded fall weekend, grossing one of the season’s best debuts. In 5 L.A., New York and Boston theaters, the film, produced by Participant Media with Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust, grossed over $302K, giving it a $60,455 per theater average. Open Road Films said Sunday morning the Awards contender had “multiple sellouts,” and theaters added showings. “The exit polls are phenomenal,” said Open Roads CMO Jason Cassidy. The movie “has a 98 percent recommend, which bodes well for the long run and the critic reviews are phenomenal. We’re planning a smart, steady expansion.” The film will head to about 60 theaters in 17 markets on November 13 and will expand again November 20 heading into Thanksgiving.

“It’s incredibly gratifying,” said Participant’s EVP of Narrative Film, Jonathan King. “It has a larger relevance because we can look around and say, What is our collective responsibility?” The film tells true story of the scandal regarding the Catholic Church’s complicity in covering up child molestation.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn boroughed itself well in its launch. The immigrant drama starring Saoirse Ronan opened in 5 theaters, grossing $181K, giving it a $36,200 average. “With all of the strong competition out there, including Spotlight, Spectre, and Peanuts, we have been able to more than hold our own, and are already seeing the effects of the tremendous word of mouth that the picture is earning,” noted Searchlight Sunday morning. “Next weekend, we will add 5 new markets, including Washington D.C., Phoenix, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago) and will be in 23 total locations.”

Trumbo took to 5 theaters with an OK bow. The feature starring Bryan Cranston grossed over $77K in 3 theaters, for a $15,445 average. Bleecker Street, which is releasing the film, says it’s looking for the long haul as it slowly takes the title wider in primary markets in the coming weeks. “We were in the midst of stirring energy with the successful openings of Spotlight and Brooklyn. The outlook for the film has always been for the long run and we’re delivering an entertaining film,” said Bleecker Street’s Jack Foley Sunday. “Granted, we weren’t at the same [level] as those releases, but there’s momentum. It will be a grade-A word of mouth release, and our sell-outs at prime times showed that.” Foley said Trumbo had its expected adult audience out at the Village East and Century City showings.

Frederick Wiseman returned to these shores with his latest documentary, In Jackson Heights. The feature opened in New York, grossing over $15K at a single location. “At a length of over three hours, the film was limited to just three shows per day on a single screen, playing in a 180 seat theater after earlier demand saw the film bumped from a 150 seater to the 180, the theater’s largest screen,” New York’s Film Forum noted Sunday. “It had all of its evening shows sell out as well as its 2nd matinee on Saturday and all but 20 tickets to its early matinee. Saturday’s gross was double that of Friday, indicating very strong word of mouth.” In Jackson Heights will roll out to top cities across the country this fall including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, Seattle, Chicago, Portland, Denver and others in the weeks to come.

PEGGY_GUGGENHEIM_ART_ADDICT posterSubmarine Deluxe opened the weekend’s second highest- grossing doc, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict in a pair of locations. It grossed $22,258, giving it an $11,129 average. The distribution wing of sales company Submarine said that the title gave it momentum as it looks to expand in the coming weeks. “We are very pleased with these numbers especially considering the competition,” said Submarine Sunday. “Judging by the even mix of young-old, male-female audience turnout, we believe our extensive grass roots outreach campaign was very successful. We added markets over the weekend solely based on Friday’s numbers.” Guggenheim is headed to L.A. next weekend.

Abramorama added 39 more runs for Heneral Luna‘s second frame. The title held its own, grossing over $88K in 42 theaters, averaging just over $2K. China Lion’s The Witness edged a bit higher PTA in 35 theaters, also in its second weekend. The feature grossed $90K in 35 theaters, five fewer than its opening weekend, giving it a $360K cume.

NEW

TrumboBrooklyn (Fox Searchlight) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $181K, Average $36,200, Cume $237,389
In Jackson Heights (Zipporah Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $15,150
Miss You Already (Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) NEW [384 Theaters] Weekend $572,160, Average $1,490
Theeb (Film Movement) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,250
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Submarine Deluxe) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $22,258, Average $11,129
Sembene (Kino Lorber Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $5K
Spotlight (Open Road Films) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $302,276, Average $60,455
Trumbo (Bleecker Street) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $77,229, Average $15,445
What Our Fathers Did: A Nazi Legacy (Oscilloscope) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $8,500, Average $4,250

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Heneral Luna (Abramorama) Week 2 [42 Theaters] Weekend $88,068, Average $2,097, Cume $111,216
Love (Alchemy) Week 2 [25 Theaters] Weekend $51,829, Average $2,073, Cume $122,075
The Witness (China Lion) Week 2 [35 Theaters] Weekend $90K, Average $2,571, Cume $360,381
The Wonders (Oscilloscope) Week 2 [4 Theaters] Weekend $8,500, Average $2,125, Cume $18,257

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Heart of a DogHeart Of A Dog (Abramorama) Week 3 [5 Theater] Weekend $29,100, Average $5,820, Cume $73,166
Nasty Baby (The Orchard) Week 3 [15 Theaters] Weekend $4,281 Average $285, Cume $77,608; VOD Estimate: $42K
Suffragette (Focus Features) Week 3 [222 Theaters] Weekend $779K, Average $3,509, Cume $1,135,568
I Smile Back (Broad Green Pictures) Week 3 [18 Theaters] Weekend $11,793, Average $655, Cume $50,443
All Things Must Pass (Gravitas Ventures) Week 4 [12 Theaters] Weekend $28K, Average $2,333, Cume $120,095
Room (A24) Week 4 [87 Theaters] Weekend $518,259, Average $5,957, Cume $1,450,406
Truth (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [554 Theaters] Weekend $401,445, Average $725, Cume $1,975,450
Ladrones (Lionsgate/Pantelion) Week 5 [39 Theaters] Weekend $28,500, Average $731, Cume $3,035,605
Freeheld (Lionsgate) Week 6 [60 Theaters] Weekend $11K, Average $183, Cume $526,524
Labyrinth Of Lies (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [44 Theaters] Weekend $55,367, Average $1,153, Cume $531,048
Goodnight Mommy (RADiUS) Week 9 [33 Theaters] Weekend $26,040, Average $789, Cume $1,139,000
Meet The Patels (Alchemy) Week 9 [62 Theaters] Weekend $69,850 Average $1,127, Cume $1,554,781
Cartel Land (The Orchard) [1 Theater] Weekend $569, Theatrical Cume $703,682; VOD Week 7 Estimate: $1,170,000