Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Killer Joe manned up to its NC-17 and made a solid showing in three theaters with the top per-theater average among newcomers, $12,621 average. A number of distributors noted the Olympics opening served as a spoiler, but most newbies managed fairly solid results. Nipping at Killer Joe‘s heels, Ruby Sparks bowed at 13 locations, averaging $11,683. Searching For Sugar Man opened in three with an average of $9,511, and Danish comedy Klown also debuted in three theaters, averaging $9,333.

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With a hefty dose of violence and people leaving theaters saying they’ll never look at chicken the same way, William Friedkin’s Killer Joe opened in Manhattan exclusively over the weekend taking in just under $38K. Although distributor LD Entertainment had some limitations in advertising due to its rating, stars Matthew McConaughey, Gina Gershon and Emile Hirsch embraced latenight talk show duty, and Friedkin worked festivals including the Los Angeles Film Festival and Seattle in the lead-up to the film’s release. The slow roll-out served the title well at least when comparing to the filmmaker’s 2007 release of Bug, which opened in a whopping 1,661 theaters, averaging just under $2K. The bigger test will come as Killer Joe heads beyond NYC. “There’s nothing wrong with saying this is a film for adult audiences and we hope to grow it,” said LD Entertainment’s David Dinerstein. “It’s going to make them laugh and make them hold onto their seats.” Joe will open LA, Austin, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington DC next weekend.

Ruby Sparks took in just under $152K for its debut weekend. It was written by Zoe Kazan who also starred along with Paul Dano, the movie was directed Little Miss Sunshine‘s Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Fox Searchlight noted that Ruby out-performed its competitors in New York and L.A., apart from The Dark Knight Rises. Little Miss Sunshine was a sweeping success story and that film averaged a nearly $53K its opening weekend. Sparks will head to 20 additional markets, expanding to 65 to 70 theaters next weekend.

Drafthouse Films opened its Klown in three locations, grossing $28K. The film is the feature version of a popular television show in Denmark and packed full of humor that the distributor said will translate well. Klown debuted in New York, Austin and Los Angeles and will head to San Francisco, Portland, OR and Seattle and is available via VOD. “We also think it can cross over and we have our fingers crossed for that,” said Drafthouse’s James Shapiro. “We think it’s really one of the funniest things you’ll see this year.”

Documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry bowed in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. this weekend grossing $45K with a decent $9K average. Certainly not at the level of the year’s other specialty doc high-flyers Bully (which averaged over $23K its debut weekend) or Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (over $21K in its open), but the film had good word of mouth at during its fest run and distributor Sundance Selects expects that will continue in release. “I thought the film got off to a good start which included a very strong opening number at the IFC Center,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects exec Mark Boxer. “The film was up against plenty of strong competition including the beginning of the Olympics, but we feel vey good about the word of mouth as we roll out to new markets.” The film about Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei (who topped ArtReview’s list of the world’s most powerful artists last year) will head to L.A. next week.

Among holdovers, Magnolia’s The Queen Of Versailles added 20 theaters for its second turn, the Sundance ’12 doc took in $138K, averaging $6K. In its debut weekend the film averaged $18K at three locations. Kino Lorber’s The Well Digger’s Daughter added 8 theaters, averaging $3,090. In its rollout last week, the film averaged $4,333 in a pair of locations.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild held steady following another expansion. The Fox Searchlight multiple-festival-winning, no-stars, Louisiana Bayou feature averaged $4,394 after adding 79 theaters over the weekend. Searchlight did not release figures last weekend in the wake of the Aurora tragedy, but Deadline reported the film averaged $5,905 at 129 theaters. “We have now passed such notable films as Shame, Vera Drake, Requiem For A Dream, Melinda And Melinda and Like Crazy” said Frank Rodriguez, Fox Searchlight’s SVP Domestic Distribution. “Next week we will be in our national release, adding 12-14 new markets while playing this unique and inspiring film in between 250 and 300 theatrers.”

The IntouchablesAnd several months along in its release, The Weinstein Company’s The Intouchables averaged $2,639 in 194 theaters. TWC added 103 locations to the French-language release which has been a burning success worldwide with global grosses well over $356 million.


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (Sundance Selects) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $45K, Average $9K

Killer Joe (LD Entertainment) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $37,864, Average $12,621

Klown (Drafthouse Films) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $28K, Average $9,333

Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight) NEW [13 Theaters] Weekend $151,881, Average $11,683, Cume $191,717

Sacrifice (Samuel Goldwyn Films) NEW [11 Theaters] Weekend $14,175, Average $1,289

Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $28,533, Average $9,511

Returning / 2nd Weekend

The Queen Of Versailles (Magnolia Pictures) Week 2 [23 Theaters] Weekend $138K, Average $6K, Cume $223K

The Well Digger’s Daughter (Kino Lorber Films) Week 2 [11 Theaters] Weekend $34K Average, $3,090, Cume $51,630

Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends

Easy Money (The Weinstein Company) Week 3 [5 Theaters] Weekend $22,508, Average $4,502, Cume $84,112

Farewell My Queen (Cohen Media Group) Week 3 [33 Theaters] Weekend $133K, Average $4,030, Cume $370K

The Imposter (Indomina) Week 3 [2 Theaters] Weekend $13,526, Average $6,763, Cume $61,017

2016 Obama’s America (Rocky Mountain Pictures) Week 3 [6 Theaters] Weekend $36K, Average $6,095, Cume $132K

Red Lights (Millennium Entertainment) Week 3 [1 Theater] Weekend $1,203

Trishna (Sundance Selects) Week 3 [37 Theaters] Weekend $51,800, Average $1,400, Cume $160K

Beasts Of The Southern Wild (Fox Searchlight) Week 4 [208 Theaters] Weekend $914K, Average $4,394, Cume $4.194M

Runaway Slave (Rocky Mountain Pictures) Week 4 [4 Theaters] Weekend $13,058, Average $3,264, Cume $25,159

Neil Young Journeys (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [16 Theaters] Weekend $18,378 , Average $1,149, Cume $112K

Take This Waltz (Magnolia Pictures) Week 5 [64 Theaters] Weekend $81K Average $1,266, Cume $978K

To Rome With Love (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [492 Theaters] Weekend $1.015M, Average $2,064, Cume $12.925M

Your Sister’s Sister (IFC Films) Week 6 [75 Theaters] Weekend $60K, Average $800, Cume $1.46M

Safety Not Guaranteed (FilmDistrict) Week 8 [149 Theaters] Weekend $164K, Average $1,101, Cume $3.194M

Moonrise Kingdom (Focus Features) Week 10 [853 Theaters] Weekend $1.387M, Average $1,417, Cume $38.173M

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight) Week 13 [276 Theaters] Weekend $328K, Average $1,188, Cume $44.464M

Bernie (Millennium Entertainment) Week 14 [99 Theaters] Weekend $134,357, Average $1,357, Cume $8.592M

The Intouchables (The Weinstein Company) Week 16 [194 Theaters] Weekend $512K, Average $2,639, Cume $7.68M