Sean Baker’s The Florida Project debuted with one of the year’s best opening per-theater averages. Just out of its U.S. premiere at the New York Film Festival, the A24 release grossed $152,622 in four theaters, averaging $1,536 over a busy weekend for new Specialty releases. The Florida Project pretty much took all the luster among the newcomers reporting numbers as of Sunday morning. Grabbing some notice was The Orchard’s Sundance fest doc jury prize winner Dina, which took in $8,035 from an exclusive run Friday to Sunday, while Swen Releasing’s Una with Rooney Mara grossed $7,300 from an exclusive run. Sony Pictures Classics expanded its Watergate drama Mark Felt to over a dozen locations, grossing over $56K.

A24’s The Florida Project starred Willem Dafoe and a posse of newcomers to keep an eye on. Sean Baker made headlines two years ago with his film Tangerine, about working girls tearing up Santa Monica Blvd., which grossed over $60K in four theaters its opening weekend in July 2015. It made headlines doing solid business at the box office and it was shot on the iPhone. Baker and team did a 180 with The Florida Project, opting for celluloid.

sean baker florida project
REX/Shutterstock

“We shot Tangerine on the iPhone but we were doing it as cinematically as possible,” said Baker earlier this week in New York. “Shooting on the iPhone got a lot of positive attention. Filmmakers around the world said the movie democratized filmmaking, which is something I had felt about the Dogme 95 movement. So when I hear about Tangerine, I feel great. But we’re also living in an age where the death of film is a real thing. To say goodbye to film, to me, would be the death of cinema. I believe all mediums are good, so it’s a project by project basis. I chose here film because I believe in preservation and I wanted its rich organic quality.”

The Orchard opened Sundance documentary prize-winner Dina in a single showing, grossing $8,035. Last year’s doc winner Weiner from IFC opened in five locations, grossing $84,173, going on to cume $1.67M in theaters. Dina will expand to more cities in the coming weeks.

Among other openers, Seen Releasing’s Una with Rooney Mara opened in New York grossing $7,300, while IFC Films’ Walking Out did $5,236 in two locations ($2,618 average).

SPC added a dozen runs for Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House with Liam Neeson in its second weekend. The title grossed $56,382, averaging $3,317 in 17 theaters. In its opener, Mark Felt grossed $35,138 in five locations, averaging $7,028. It has cumed $105,477.

Swen Releasing

NEW RELEASES

Chavela (Music Box Films) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $20,500, Average $5,125

Dina (The Orchard) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $8,035

The Florida Project (A24) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $152,622, Average $38,156

Una (Swen Releasing) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $7,300

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Judwaa 2 (FIP) Week 2 [192 Theaters] Weekend $295,000, Average $1,536, Cume $1,166,989

Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [17 Theaters] Weekend $56,382, Average $3,317, Cume $105,477

Super Dark Times (The Orchard) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $2,220, Average $444, Cume $29,826

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Battle Of the Sexes (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [1,822 Theaters] Weekend $2,400,000, Average $1,317, Cume $7,677,575

Loving Vincent (Good Deed Entertainment) Week 3 [28 Theaters] Weekend $156,925, Average $5,604, Cume $277,247

Victoria And Abdul (Focus Features) Week 3 [732 Theaters] Weekend $4,142,000, Average $5,659, Cume $5,958,000

Amazon/Annapurna

Brad’s Status (Amazon Studios/Annapurna Pictures) Week 4 [247 Theaters] Weekend $104,400, Average $423, Cume $2,021,809

Trophy (The Orchard) Week 5 [15 Theaters] Weekend $1,130, Average $75, Cume $19,442

Dolores (PBS Distribution) Week 6 [27 Theaters] Weekend $41,635, Average $1,542, Cume $417,491

Beach Rats (Neon) Week 7 [14 Theaters] Weekend $7,474, Average $534, Cume $456,832

California Typewriter (Gravitas Ventures) Week 8 [11 Theaters] Weekend $4,760, Average $433, Cume $200,379

Ingrid Goes West (Neon) Week 9 [10 Theaters] Weekend $3,648, Average $365, Cume $3,016,139

Columbus (Superlative Films/Depth of Field) Week 10 [36 Theaters] Weekend $26,431, Average $731, Cume $892,778

The Big Sick (Amazon Studios/Lionsgate) Week 16 [34 Theaters] Weekend $20,000, Average $588, Cume $42,823,713

The Hero (The Orchard) Week 18 [2 Theaters] Weekend $1,288, Average $644, Cume $4,077,654