Indie FilmsAlexander Payne‘s black and white drama Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern in the role that nabbed him the Cannes Best Actor Award in May, bowed with solid numbers. The film platformed in 4 theaters, grossing $140K and averaging a healthy $35K. Pic stars Dern as a senior bent on collecting a million bucks in sweepstakes money and Will Forte as the son who reluctantly road trips across state lines to satisfy the old man. The numbers show momentum. Compare to Payne’s previous openings: His last film, The Descendants, opened in 29 theaters in November 2011 with a $41K average, though that film was in color, starred George Clooney, and was set in the sunnier climes of Hawaii. His last road trip movie, Sideways (with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church), was set in California’s Santa Barbara County and bowed in 4 runs in October 2004 averaging a spectacular $51,769 for a $207K opening weekend gross. Paramount Vantage will expand awards contender Nebraska to 10 markets on November 22.

“We had a strategy of screening early and often,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s head of domestic marketing and distribution this week. “Word of mouth is going to be the key here. There’s a strong through line of relatability. Some people will think a movie with octogenarians will think it’s for old people, but their children will relate to connecting with their parents and that has strong emotional pull people will connect to. The comedy community and comics in general love the humor of this movie.”

On the other end of the newcomer news, Charlie Countryman starring Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood, opened in 15 theaters, grossing $8,579 and crashing with a $572 PSA. International Film Circuit’s Faust, meanwhile opened in a pair of showings, grossing $10,881 for a so-so $5,440 average, while Submarine Deluxe’s Dear Mr. Watterson bowed in 4 locations, grossing $6,820 ($1,705 average). TWC did not release numbers for its concert doc 12-12-12 Sunday.

Janus Film opened its only new title of the year, The Great Beauty, in a single New York location. Italy’s entry for Best Foreign Language Oscar consideration, the film opened to a strong $23K this weekend. It will head to an additional 9 cities November 29 and add markets through December. “This film is outlandishly entertaining, vivid and pulsing on the one hand, but at the same time it’s relevant politically… think audiences are going to respond to that,” said Peter Becker, co-founder of Janus Films and president of Criterion Collection ahead of the film’s roll out. “There’s also incredible fashion in the story, so we’ll work with them as well.”

Oscar-bait titles 12 Years A Slave, Dallas Buyers Club and All Is Lost continued to expand in their theatrical runs. Fox Searchlight ushered in the the season by hosting its holiday party in L.A. on Friday (NYC is next week) celebrating its titles, including 12 Years, which added 267 theaters in its fifth week. It grossed $4.7 million, averaging $3,300. Noted Fox Searchlight Sunday: “We will finish in the top ten for the 3rd straight weekend and our cumulative total so far is now just a hair under $25 million ($24.950 million) and places us 2nd behind Blue Jasmine for best Specialty film performance for 2013. We are in 3rd place behind Instructions Not Included when all platform releases are considered.”

Focus Features added 149 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club, grossing over $1.78 million, averaging a solid $9,700 and placing it at number 12 in the weekend’s overall box office hierarchy. Last week, the Matthew McConaughey starrer averaged just under $18K in 35 locations. Focus reported the numbers Sunday noting: “Dallas Buyers Club sustained its strong box office this weekend with an impressive jump on Saturday which was 59% over Friday’s results – well above the norm for roll-outs. Word-of-mouth continues to stimulate the marketplace with strong showings in the new openings in urban and suburban houses. Many of the holdover theaters held or increased their box office from last weekend – a great sign that Dallas remains in demand…” And Roadside/Lionsgate added 82 runs for All Is Lost‘s 5th frame. It grossed almost $979K, averaging $2,027.

In its second weekend, SPC’s doc The Armstrong Lie played 18 theaters taking in $37,615 for a so-so $2,089 average. The film, directed by Alex Gibney, opened last week with a $6,181 PSA. And Variance kept its John Sayles-directed title Go For Sisters in a pair of runs. It grossed $7,750, averaging $3,875.

Sundance Selects added 37 theaters for the fourth weekend of its Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color. It grossed over $274K, averaging $2,540. Last week in 71 locations, it averaged $3,580.


Charlie Countryman (Millennium Entertainment) NEW [15 Theaters] Weekend $8,579, Average $572
Dear Mr. Watterson (Submarine Deluxe) (4 Theaters) Weekend $6,820, Average $1,705
Faust (International Film Circuit) NEW (2 Theaters) Weekend $10,881, Average $5,440
The Great Beauty (Janus Films) NEW (1 Theater) Weekend $23K
Nebraska (Paramount Vantage) NEW (4 Theaters) Weekend $140K, Average $35K

Returning / 2nd Weekend

The Armstrong Lie (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [18 Theaters] Weekend $37,615, Average $2,089, Cume $77,745
The Book Thief (20th Century Fox) Week 2 [29 Theaters] Weekend $425K, Average $14,655, Cume $568,518
Go For Sisters (Variance Films) Week 2 [2 Theaters] Weekend $7,750, Average $3,875, Cume $16,425

Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends

The Broken Circle Breakdown (Tribeca Film) Week 3 [6 Theaters] Weekend $12,840, Average $2,140, Cume $30,651
Casting By (Submarine Deluxe) Week 3 [1 Theater] Weekend $6,110, Cume $17,860
Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features) Week 3 [184 Theaters] Weekend $1,784,924, Average $9,700, Cume $3,044,006
Diana (Entertainment One) Week 3 [82 Theaters] Weekend $52,777, Average $644, Cume $295,919
Blue Is The Warmest Color (Sundance Selects) Week 4 [108 Theaters] Weekend $274,320, Average $2,540, Cume $1.151,390
Spinning Plates (The Film Arcade) Week 4 [6 Theaters] Weekend $11,315, Average $1,886, Cume $76,135
All Is Lost (Roadside/Lionsgate) Week 5 [483 Theaters] Weekend $978,805, Average $2,027, Cume $4,281,409
12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 5 [1,411 Theaters] Weekend $4.7M, Average $3,331, Cume $24,948,785
I’m In Love With A Church Girl (High Top Releasing) Week 5 [55 Theaters] Weekend $21K, Average $382, Cume $2,206,852
Kill Your Darlings (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5 [71 Theaters] Weekend $128,962, Average $1,816, Cume $499,055
American Promise (Rada Film Group) Week 6 [6 Theaters] Weekend $12,950, Average $2,158, Cume $94,010
Enough Said (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 [393 Theaters] Weekend $510K, Average $1,298, Cume $16,592,714
Generation Iron (Vladar) Week 9 [3 Theaters] Weekend $14,556, Average $4,852, Cume $800,166
Wadjda (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 10 [40 Theaters] Weekend $29,973, Average $749, Cume $1,284,295
Blue Jasmine (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17 [52 Theaters] Weekend $66,610, Average $1,281, Cume $32,619,790