UPDATED AT BOTTOM: The Queens have it again. Focus Features opened Mary Queen of Scots in four New York and L.A. locations Friday to a robust start, taking in over $200K for a weekend, topping $50,045 per-heater average, placing it as the 11th highest PTA of the year as of Sunday morning.

Specialty moviegoers are clearly satiating their zest for period films centering on monarchs from the British Isles. Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite had the year’s highest opening weekend PTA at $105K. Now in its third weekend, the feature, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, as well as Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as her aristocratic suitors, expanded over the weekend, grossing $1.43M in 91 theaters, averaging $15,714. 

Though Mary Queen of Scots reigned among limited-release openers, Neon’s Vox Lux by Brady Corbet and Peter Hedges’ Ben Is Back, released via LD Entertainment, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate, had solid showings. Vox Lux, starring Natalie Portman, bowed in six theaters Friday, taking in a three-day estimate of $162,252, averaging a lackluster $27,042. Ben Is Back, starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, grossed just under $81K in four locations, averaging a somewhat narrower $20,243. 

China Lion, meanwhile, opened Taiwanese horror, Tag Along: The Devil Fish with eight runs, grossing $10K, averaging $1,250.

Orion Pictures expanded comedy-horror Anna And the Apocalypse to 35 locations in its second frame. The company is estimating a weekend gross of between $132K and $134K ($3,777 – $3,834 average).

And also in its second outing was GKIDS’ Golden Globe-nominated Mirai, which screened in 15 theaters with regular runs over the weekend in addition to 742 event screenings of the animated feature on Saturday in 742 locations. Mirai took in nearly $193K, primarily from the Saturday event showings, while also grossing $3,360 on Friday in 15 theaters and an estimated Sunday take of $2,957 from the same number of locations.

NEW RELEASES

Ben Is Back (LD Entertainment/Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $80,972, Average $20,243

Mary Queen of Scots (Focus Features) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $200,180, Average $50,045

Tag Along: The Devil Fish (China Lion) NEW [8 Theaters] Weekend $10,000, Average $1,250

Vox Lux (Neon) NEW [6 Theaters] Weekend $162,252, Average $27,042

RETURNING/SECOND WEEKEND

Anna And The Apocalypse (Orion Pictures) Week 2 [35 Theaters] Weekend $132,211 – $134,211, Average $3,777 – $3,834, Cume $$214,106 – $216,226

Mirai (GKIDS) Week 2 [15 Theaters Friday and Sunday; 742 Theaters Saturday] Weekend $199,076, Cume $671,908

HOLDOVERS / THIRD+ WEEKENDS

Becoming Astrid (Music Box Films) Week 3 [13 Theaters] Weekend $7,739, Average $595, Cume $49,750

The Favourite (Fox Searchlight) Week 3 [91 Theaters] Weekend $1,430,000, Average $15,714, Cume $3,468,646

A Cool Fish (China Lion) Week 4 [34 Theaters] Weekend $50,000, Average $1,471, Cume $459,016

Green Book (Universal) Week 4 [1,181 Theaters] Weekend $3,935,000, Average $3,332, Cume $19,976,911

At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films) Week 4 [174 Theaters] Weekend $310,000, Average $1,782, Cume $1,071,000

Boy Erased (Focus Features) Week 6 [622 Theaters] Weekend $420,000, Average $678, Cume $6,330,000

Maria By Callas (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 6 [149 Theaters] Weekend $102,313, Average $687, Cume $1,040,232

A Private War (Aviron Pictures) Week 6 [35 Theaters] Weekend $24,000, Average $686, Cume $1,569,008

Border (Neon) Week 7 [74 Theaters] Weekend $52,626, Average $711, Cume $668,797

Suspiria (Amazon Studios) Week 7 [33 Theaters] Weekend $26,450, Average $801, Cume $2,422,420

Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Fox Searchlight) Week 8 [265 Theaters] Weekend $245,000, Average $925, Cume $6,977,874

Wildlife (IFC Films) Week 8 [48 Theaters] Weekend $20,482, Average $427, Cume $989,633

Beautiful Boy (Amazon Studios) Week 9 [196 Theaters] Weekend $108,495, Average $553, Cume $7,431,531

The Great Buster: A Celebration (Cohen Media Group) Week 10 [6 Theaters] Weekend $2,170, Average $361, Cume $110,032

Free Solo (National Geographic Documentary Film/Greenwich Entertainment) Week 11 [182 Theaters] Weekend $252,641, Average $1,388, Cume $10,510,593

The Old Man & The Gun (Fox Searchlight) Week 11 [136 Theaters] Weekend $85,000, Average $625, Cume $11,050,284

The Wife (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 17 [421 Theaters] Weekend $222,547, Average $529, Cume $8,011,664

UPDATE:

With a $50,045 opening weekend PTA, Mary Queen of Scots was almost double the weekend’s next highest per theater average, Vox Lux at $27,042. The opening frame per theater average for Mary is just below Black Panther at $50,250, though that film was in far more locations. Mary Queen of Scots’ numbers put it just outside the top ten of the year and it’s less than half of the year’s top PTA getter, The Favourite, which reigns over the year at $105K.

Mary Queen of Scots’ numbers are impressive given that was helmed by first-time director Josie Rourke, who was helped by Oscar-nominees Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, who buoyed the film’s attention at the box office and possibly for recognition as awards season rolls on.

Focus noted Sunday morning that the film had a 35% jump Friday to Saturday, saying word-of-mouth was “solid.” Added Focus Features president of Distribution Lisa Bunnell: “Saoirse and Margot shared the crown this weekend at the box office bringing in over $50K per theater average. Our first-time film director Josie Rourke took a fresh take on this incredible drama of these two queens and made it resonate with audiences in a powerful way paralleling so much of what is still going on today for women.”

Mary Queen of Scots will expand to around 30 theaters in five additional markets next weekend.

Neon’s Vox Lux by Brady Corbet and starring Natalie Portman, Jude Law and Raffey Cassidy received a strong start in its six locations Friday to Sunday, grossing $162,252 ($27,042 average). This is the second feature for Corbet who has been primarily seen on screen as an actor.

“When we learned of Natalie Portman’s involvement and with Brady as director, it really excited us,” said producer DJ Gugenheim earlier this week. Gugenheim said Neon had been tracking the film before it picked up the title earlier in the fall following its Toronto and Venice bows. “They really understood the material and understood how the film is unique,” said Gugenheim. “Their approach was that it did not fit into a box.”

Vox Lux will head out around the country December 14 to about 300 runs.

Peter Hedges’ Ben Is Back starring Oscar-winner Julia Roberts as a mother to her drug addicted son, played by Hedges’ son, Oscar-nominee Lucas Hedges. Released via LD Entertainment, Roadside and Lionsgate in four theaters, it grossed $80,972 for a $20,243 PTA. The opening is a solid start, though it trails Lucas Hedges’ other fall starrer, Boy Erased which had a $207K opening frame weekend in five theaters, averaging $41,411 (Boy Erased by the way crossed $6.33M this weekend).

Ben Is Back had momentum as the weekend went on, jumping 52% Friday to Saturday, according to Roadside, which reported numbers Sunday, commenting: “Ben Is Back showed strong word of mouth… The Friday-only [average] on four screens was $5,067 and Saturday [it was] $7,747. This bodes well as we expand throughout the month of December.”

Orion Pictures expanded Anna And the Apocalypse to 35 U.S. runs in its second frame. As last week, the company reported a box office gross range of between $132K and $134K Friday to Sunday ($3,777 – $3,834 average). comScore reported a $143K gross in 46 theaters ($3,111 average), which also includes Canada.

Fox Searchlight’s The Favourite jumped its location county by 57 vs. the previous weekend, bringing it to a total of 91. The film by Yorgos Lanthimos grossed $1.43M, averaging a still stellar $15,714.

“It goes without saying that we are pleased with the results for The Favourite so far as the film has earned consecutive per screen averages of $105K, $31.5K, and now $15.7K,” said a Searchlight spokesperson. “It is a very competitive marketplace presently, and it is only going to get more crowded. Fortunately, our reviews continue to be excellent, and moviegoers are responding at the box office in theaters from the Alamo Brooklyn and Landmark West L.A., to the AMC Burbank and Regal Lincolnshire (Chicago).”

Fox Searchlight said The Favourite will expand to 54 additional markets bringing its location count to between 525 and 575.

CBS Films’ At Eternity’s Gate starring Golden Globe-nominated actor Willem Dafoe crossed seven figures in its fourth outing. In 174 theaters (126 over last weekend), the Julian Schnabel-directed feature grossed $310K, averaging $1,782, bringing its cume to $1,071,000.

Sony Classics added 80 theaters for doc Maria By Callas in its sixth frame. In 149 theaters, the title grossed $102,313, averaging $687. Last weekend, the title took in over $115K, averaging $1,671.

Fox Searchlight’s The Old Man & The Gun starring Robert Redford crossed $11M in its 11th weekend in theaters. In 136 locations, the feature grossed $85K ($625 PTA).

Documentary Free Solo is en route to $11M after crossing eight figures last week. The Telluride debut grossed $252,641 in 182 theaters, giving the film directed by by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi a $1,388 PTA in its 11th outing.

And Sony Classics gave The Wife starring Glenn Close another burst of showings around the country, taking its location count to 421 in its 17th weekend of release. The Wife grossed $222,547, averaging $529, enough to bring the film’s cume to over $8M.