A competitive weekend on Specialty screens saw The Fab Four land the top spot, as Ron Howard’s doc The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years bowed with a mix of one-nighters and traditional engagements, grossing over $615K in its slated week-long engagements via Abramorama. Robert Kenner’s nuke doc Command and Control from The American Experience/PBS Films opened in an exclusive engagement in New York, capturing the highest per theater average from Friday to Sunday, but overall it was a so-so Specialty weekend at best. Rialto opened a restored version of 1961 French-Italian pic La Notte in two theaters, grossing $11K. TWC opened Wild Oats in a hundred locations with a slow $18,700 gross, while Freestyle Releasing bowed Mr. Church in 354 theaters, grossing over $407K. Second weekend holdovers were also blasé. Focus World added dozens of locations for Kicks, grossing $62K, while Cohen Media Group’s Come What May and The Orchard’s Demon had somewhat better averages with smaller expansions in their second frames. Lionsgate/Pantelion’s No Manches Frida held steady in its third week, grossing $1.25 million in slightly fewer theaters from last week.

Ron Howard isn’t typically associated with limited release titles, but the director opened his latest with distributor Abramorama. Eight Days a Week, with a mix of one-night event screenings and week-long engagements, debuted in theaters Friday and began its Hulu window Saturday. There were 80 one-nighters, grossing $156,844 ($1,961 average), while other engagements grossed $615,632 ($7,243 average), giving it a $772,467 weekend cume.

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Abramorama

“We were limited by capacity,” said Abramorama’s Richard Abramowitz Sunday. “It was the number one [movie] in almost all theaters that played a full schedule. Clearly people want to come out to the theater and experience it in a concert-like environment. Fifty years later, they still translate. I’ve been inundated with calls from other theaters to show the film.”

Because it’s available on-demand, the feature has been booked in theaters that mostly do not adhere to strict rules on the traditional 90-day window, though Abramowitz said that restored concert footage of The Beatles from their legendary show at Shea Stadium have lured some theaters to consider bending the rules. “I did get some emails this morning from theaters that don’t normally do this. The concert that’s only showing in theaters is allowing for some leniency for this,” he said. “Some who [usually] have a hard and fast policy are asking.” Giving an added plug, Abramowitz added: “The Beatles never played to empty seats, and The Beatles movie is not playing to empty seats.”

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American Experience/PBS Films

Food, Inc. director Robert Kenner returned to theaters this weekend with his latest, Command and Control in an exclusive engagement. Focusing on an under-reported near-catastrophe involving a Titan-II nuclear missile accident in Arkansas, the tell-all grossed $7,430 at Film Forum in New York. Kenner’s 2015 doc Merchants of Doubt grossed over $308K, while his 2009 Oscar-nominated feature Food, Inc. grossed over $4.4 million. Command and Control will head to the top 15 markets over the next month including Washington, D.C. (September 23) and Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia (September 30). It will air on PBS the first quarter of 2017.

Freestyle’s Mr. Church and The Weinstein Company’s Wild Oats had comparatively wider releases among the weekend’s crowded newcomers. Wild Oats had a rough time of it in theaters, though it did hit the big screen after playing on Lifetime last month. In 100 locations, it grossed $18,700, averaging $187. Tribeca title Mr. Church, with Britt Robertson and Eddie Murphy opened with 354 runs grossing $407,151, faring better with a $1,150 average.

Other Specialty debuts split limited pickings. Area 23a’s comedy Is That a Gun In Your Pocket?, which managed to arouse the ire of the NRA, grossed $9,600 in two theaters ($4,800 average). Rialto opened a restoration of 1961 French-Italian feature La Notte with Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni in two locations, grossing $11K ($5,500 average); China Lion bowed Cock and Bull in a dozen locations grossing $35K ($2,916 average); The Orchard opened SXSW’s Miss Stevens in two locations grossing just over $3K and FilmRise launched doc Silicon Cowboys, also a SXSW debut, grossing just $5,250 ($437 average).

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The Orchard

Last weekend also had a sizable number of newcomers, though only a few reported numbers for week 2. Cohen Media Group added two runs for French feature Come What May in its second frame, grossing $7,527, averaging $1,882 in four theaters. It bowed in two locations last week, grossing $10,656 ($5,328 average). The Orchard added a dozen runs for thriller Demon for its second weekend, grossing $17,580, averaging $1,172. In its debut, the pic grossed $13,560 in three theaters, averaging $4,520. Focus World’s Kicks had the biggest expansion, playing 65 locations in week 2. The title grossed a slow $62K, averaging $954. Kicks opened in three theaters last week, grossing $32K, averaging $10,667.

Lionsgate/Pantelion’s No Manches Frida had the weekend’s highest grosser among the Specialties, taking in $1.25 million ($2,741 average) in 456 theaters in its third frame. That is nine fewer locations than last weekend when the title took in $2.15 million, averaging $4,624. its three-week cume is now over $9.15 million.

FilmRise added 8 locations for White Girl in its third weekend. The feature grossed $27,750, averaging $1,734 from 16 theaters. It grossed $28,500 last weekend, averaging $3,562.

Sony Classics added 65 runs for The Hollars in its fourth weekend, grossing $120,364 from a total of 97 runs, averaging $1,241. Its one-month cume is over $407K.

And in its fifth weekend, Cohen Media Group’s The People vs. Fritz Bauer grossed $44,726 in 34 theaters, averaging $1,315. It played a dozen runs last week, grossing $40,239 ($1,829 average). From its five week run, its cumulative comes to $237,368.

NEW RELEASES

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (Abramorama) NEW [80 One Night Engagements; 85 Traditional Engagements] Weekend (One Night): $156,844, Average $1,961; (Traditional): $615,632, Average $7,243; Cume $772,467

Cock and Bull (China Lion) NEW [12 Theaters] Weekend $35K, Average $2,916

Command and Control (The American Experience/PBS Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,430

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Area A23a

Is That A Gun In Your Pocket? (Area 23a) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $9,600, Average $4,800

La Notte (Rialto) NEW (restoration release) [2 Theaters] Weekend $11K, Average $5,500

Miss Stevens (The Orchard) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $3,005, Average $1,502

Mr. Church (Freestyle Releasing) NEW [354 Theaters] Weekend $407,151, Average $1,150

Silicon Cowboys (FilmRise) NEW [12 Theaters] Weekend $5,250, Average $437

Wild Oats (The Weinstein Company) NEW [100 Theaters] Weekend $18,700, Average $187

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Come What May (Cohen Media Group) Week 2 [4 Theaters] Weekend $7,527, Average $1,882, Cume $22,619

Demon (The Orchard) Week 2 [15 Theaters] Weekend $17,580, Average $1,172, Cume $37,101

Kicks (Focus World) Week 2 [65 Theaters] Weekend $62K, Average $954, Cume $103,408

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Max Rose (Paladin) Week 3 [16 Theaters] Weekend $8,150, Average $509, Cume $34,895

No Manches Frida (Lionsgate/Pantelion) Week 3 [456 Theaters] Weekend $1,250,000, Average $2,741, Cume $9,154,109

White Girl (FilmRise) Week 3 [16 Theaters] Weekend $27,750, Average $1,734, Cume $118,039

The Hollars (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [97 Theaters] Weekend $120,364, Average $1,241, Cume $407,332

Howards End (Cohen Media Group) Week 4 (re-release) [4 Theaters] Weekend $2,764, Average $691, Cume $151,360

Southside With You (Roadside Attractions/Miramax) Week 4 [114 Theaters] Weekend $83,350, Average $731, Cume $6,190,192

A Tale of Love and Darkness (Focus World) Week 5 [33 Theaters] Weekend $27K, Average $818, Cume $529,936

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Cohen Media Group

The People vs. Fritz Bauer (Cohen Media Group) Week 5 [34 Theaters] Weekend $44,726, Average $1,315, Cume $237,368

Hell Or High Water (CBS Films/Lionsgate) Week 6 [1,505 Theaters] Weekend $1,925,000, Average $1,279, Cume $22,725,000

Indignation (Roadside Attractions) Week 8 [36 Theaters] Weekend $29,050, Average $06, Cume $3,271,105

Don’t Think Twice (The Film Arcade) Week 9 [140 Theaters] Weekend $196,451, Average $1,403, Cume $3,803,307

Café Society (Amazon/Lionsgate) Week 10 [89 Theaters] Weekend $87K, Average $978, Cume $10,896,567

Life, Animated (The Orchard) Week 12 [10 Theaters] Weekend $4,388, Average $439, Cume $242,222

Hunt For The Wilderpeople (The Orchard) Week 13 [76 Theaters] Weekend $85,855, Average $1,130, Cume $4,900,163

The Music Of Strangers (The Orchard) Week 15 [13 Theaters] Weekend $3,938, Average $303, Cume $1,154,729