Thanksgiving weekend was bountiful for Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite. The period drama, starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and set against the whimsical court of Queen Anne in 18th century England, ascended atop the year’s list of best opening weekend per theater averages.

Opening Friday, the Yorgos Lanthimos-directed film grossed $420,000 in four New York and Los Angeles theaters, averaging $105K. The Favourite is one of the top two or three openers for Searchlight (depending on how the box office settles after the weekend), and tops the previous 2018 best PTA opener, Suspiria, with a $92K average when it bowed in late October. 

Alfonso Cuarón’s anticipated Roma began its limited theatrical runs ahead of its Netflix bow. The company is not reporting numbers, as usual, but anecdotally it looks like it is a hit with audiences, with crowds packing theaters where the film is playing. One non-Netflix exec noted over the weekend having seen what looks like sold-out showings of the title, which is getting its theatrical awards-play in order. 

Magnolia Pictures

2018 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters rolled out to five theaters in New York, L.A. and San Francisco to a good start, taking in $88K in the three-day weekend estimate, averaging $17,600.

Among other openers, Greenwich Entertainment bowed doc The World Before Your Feet on Wednesday in New York and Friday in Los Angeles to a solid start. Executive produced by Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Jeremy Workman, the title grossed $22,000 in the three-day, averaging $11K, with a cume of $27,626 through the holiday weekend. And Music Box Films opened bio-drama Becoming Astrid at Film Forum in New York and the Laemmle Royal in L.A. for $5,121 ($1,707 average).

The Favourite was just that for specialty audiences looking to catch a clear awards contender, opening with a three-day $420K gross from four theaters, averaging a year’s best $105K, the first film of 2018 to cross a six figure-PTA. Searchlight said Sunday that its three-day estimates are “conservative,” so it could either end up being the second or third-best opening frame per-theater average in the company’s history. 

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman took in just over $474K in its opening in October, 2014, averaging $106,099. The title went on to cume $42.34M. Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel quite comfortably remains the company’s highest PTA debut at $202,792 from an $811,166 opening weekend gross also in 2014. That title cumed $59.3M

“We obviously had a more than satisfying weekend, and it was more than expected,” said Fox Searchlight exec Frank Rodriguez Sunday. “We thought the film would open well. It is the highest [opening] PTA in two years if [final numbers] are an average of $105K. Last year, Call Me By Your Name [which also opened Thanksgiving weekend last year] was $103K. We can end up a bit above or below that.” 

Lionsgate/Summit’s La La Land had a $176,221 opening PTA in five theaters in December, 2016.

“It’s very crowded these days at Thanksgiving, it’s hard to get seats now,” said Rodriguez. “We were expecting good numbers [on par] with last year’s The Shape of Water ($166,564 opening gross, $83,282 PTA) or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ($322,168 opening gross, $80,542 PTA).” Rodriguez added that director Yorgos Lanthimos took part in Q&As at the Landmark in L.A. as well as the Arclight, selling out the Dome which pushed the title’s numbers.

“There was a good range of [demos] in the audiences at the Q&As,” added Rodriguez. “The two highest grossers were the Arclight and Union Square in New York, which tend to have younger [crowds]. It also did very well at The Landmark in L.A. We could see the passion and interest from the [pre-release] screenings at Telluride and New York Film Festival. I think we’re poised to do very well next week.”

Searchlight will add seven more markets, including San Francisco, Dallas, Austin, Washington, D.C, Boston, Chicago, and Phoenix next weekend, jumping its location count to between 25 and 30 runs.

Magnolia Pictures rolled out Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters in five theaters this weekend, grossing $88K for a solid $17,600 PTA. The feature is the second Palme d’Or winner in a row for Magnolia Pictures, which also opened the 2017 winner of the top Cannes Film Festival prize, The Square by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund. That film, which featured Elisabeth Moss, came in just a bit higher in its opening frame in late October, 2017, grossing $74,233 in four locations, averaging $18,558.

“We’ve been fans of Kore-eda’s for many years and have wanted to work on another film of his since 2012 when we released I Wish,” commented Magnolia’s Neal Block earlier this week. “It was evident after the first screening in Cannes that this was the one – it’s a pinnacle in a career of pinnacles. Our intrepid acquisitions team closed on it hours before it won the Palme d’Or.”

Universal

Universal’s Green Book appears to have found better footing in fairly wide release. The feature, starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, took in over $5.44M from 1,063 theaters in the three-day, averaging $5,120. Universal opened the title in just 25 locations last weekend, taking in $320K for a $12,817 average. Green Book’s cume is estimated at $7.8M. Also directed by Edgerton, the title has a three-day estimate of $1,158,000 from 672 theaters, averaging $1,723.

Boy Erased jumped to 409 locations last weekend, grossing over $1.32M ($3,237 average). The Telluride/Toronto film has cumed $4.54M.

Sony Pictures Classics added 26 theaters for doc Maria By Callas also hitting its one month threshold. The film took in an estimated $158,893 Friday to Sunday, averaging $2,889, only a 13% drop from last weekend’s $3,333 average in 29 theaters ($96,651 gross). It has cumed $682,291.

Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate played an additional 27 runs over its opening frame. In the three-day, the title – starring Willem Dafoe as Vincent Van Gogh – grossed $211,728, averaging $6,830. At Eternity’s Gate opened in four locations the prior weekend, taking in nearly $93K for a $23,214 average. Distributor CBS Films reported five-day numbers which can be found below. The film has cumed $398,549.

Focus Features’ Boy Erased starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Joel Edgerton played an additional 263 theaters marking its first full month in

Searchlight’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? crossed $6M in its sixth frame. Starring Melissa McCarthy and directed by Marielle Heller, the title grossed $593K in 441 theaters in the three-day, averaging $1,392 bringing its cume as of Sunday to $6,026,746.

Amazon Studios’ Beautiful Boy, meanwhile, went over $7M in its seventh outing. Starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, the title took in $350,520 Friday to Sunday from 254 runs, averaging $1,380 putting its theatrical total at $7,019,669.

And doc Free Solo from National Geographic Documentary Film and Greenwich Entertainment is climbing ever closer to the eight-figure mark. The title grossed just over $496K in the three-day estimate, averaging $3,397 putting it at $9,693,201 as of Sunday.

NEW RELEASES

Becoming Astrid (Music Box Films) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $5,121, Average $1,707

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $420,000, Average $105,000

Shoplifters (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $88,000, Average $17,600

The World Before Your Feet (Greenwich Entertainment) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $22,000, Average $11,000, Cume $27,626

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

A Cool Fish (China Lion) Week 2 [18 Theaters] Weekend $80,000, Average $4,444, Cume $221,872

Green Book (Universal) Week 2 [1,063 Theaters] Weekend $5,443,000, Average $5,120, Cume $7,801,401

At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) Week 2 [31 Theaters] Weekend $211,728; 5-day: $286,000, Average $6,830 ;5-day: $9,225, Cume $398,549

Shoah: Four Sisters (Cohen Media Group) Week 2 [3 Theater] Weekend $1,683, Average $561, Cume $6,613

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

El Angel (The Orchard) Week 3 [8 Theaters] Weekend $8,384, Average $762, Cume $74,163

Last Letter (China Lion) Week 3 [4 Theaters] Weekend $4,150, Average $1,038, Cume $176,040

Boy Erased (Focus Features) Week 4 [672 Theaters] Weekend $1,158,000; 5-day: $1,509,000, Average $1,723; 5-day: $2,258, Cume $4,540,000

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4 [55 Theaters] Weekend $158,893, Average $2,889, Cume $682,291

A Private War (Aviron Pictures) Week 4 [226 Theaters] Weekend $135,000, Average $597, Cume $1,402,868

Border (Neon) Week 5 [37Theaters] Weekend $76,984; 5-day: $92,349, Average $2,081; 5-day: $2,496, Cume $456,037

Suspiria (Amazon Studios) Week 5 [34 Theaters] Weekend $49,300, Average $1,450, Cume $2,341,420

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 6 [441 Theaters] Weekend $593,000; 5-day: $760,000, Average $1,392; 5-day: $1,723, Cume $6,026,746

Mid90s (A24) Week 6 [38 Theaters] Weekend $60,000, Average $1,579, Cume $7,269,810

Wildlife (IFC Films) Week 6 [73 Theaters] Weekend $67,864, Average $930, Cume $839,058

Beautiful Boy (Amazon Studios) Week 7 [254 Theaters] Weekend $350,520, Average $1,380, Cume $7,019,669

The Great Buster: A Celebration (Cohen Media Group) Week 8 [5 Theaters] Weekend $3,115, Average $623, Cume $87,146

Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 9 [146 Theaters] Weekend $496,066, Average $3,397, Cume $9,693,201

The Old Man & The Gun (Fox Searchlight) Week 9 [110 Theaters] Weekend $95,000; 5-day: $126,000, Average $1,044; 5-day: $1,145, Cume $10,783,328

Colette (Bleecker Street) Week 10 [34 Theaters] Weekend $16,074; 4-day: $20,431, Average $473; 4-day: $601, Cume $5,121,722

Tea With The Dames (Sundance Selects) Week 10 [21 Theaters] Weekend $13,772, Average $656, Cume $832,142

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 15 [16 Theaters] Weekend $8,964, Average $560, Cume $7,784,170