IFC Films‘ Boyhood had momentum and expectations building as it headed into its opening weekend after a tremendous run of festival awards and word-of-mouth screenings. Opening in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, it proved to be a very big boy indeed, with one of the year’s biggest box-office debuts among Specialty releases, second behind only Searchlight’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which opened March 7 with a nearly $203K PTA in four theaters.
Boyhood, directed and written by Richard Linklater and filmed over 12 years as its star Ellar Coltrane grew up, grossed $360K to $385K for a spectacular per-theater average of $72K to $77K, depending on how much box office drops Sunday. Given that the title opened against Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes on turf typically ruled by studio mush, the numbers bode especially well for the film, which also stars Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and Lorelei Linklater. Given its pre-launch buzz, the film has already been tipped as a strong contender when Awards Season grinds into into full gear this fall.
“I think we knew the movie would play,” IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring told me this morning. “(Fellow producer) John Sloss and I were at screenings with audiences and we were more than gratified by the audience responses. There were dozens of sell outs [in Manhattan, Brooklyn and L.A.]. It was crazy. It wasn’t an old audience, not young, it was a mix of everyone.”