The list of top per-screen averages tends to be dominated by Disney fare, everything from “The Lion King” to “Frozen” putting up staggering numbers. But sometimes something on the art house circuit can put up a whopper of a number, such as “Red State” or “The Master.” Late last year, “American Hustle” surged in this frame, and just a few years ago, Wes Anderson proved his fan base was hungry for “Moonrise Kingdom” on just four screens, averaging over $130,000 per screen.
Well, this weekend Anderson broke his own record and entered the top 10 of limited releases as “The Grand Budapest Hotel” averaged over $200,000 on four screens for an opening weekend tally of $800,000.
The film is currently playing at the Arclight Cinerama Dome and Landmark theaters in Los Angeles, as well as the Regal Union Square and AMC Lincoln Square theaters in New York.
“Moonrise Kingdom,” released by Focus Features, ended up surging to a $45 million domestic gross on the heels of a Cannes premiere in May of 2012. Fox Searchlight looks to roll out “Grand Budapest” a tad more aggressively next week, moving onto 65 screens, whereas “Moonrise” moved to an interim of before pushing past 90 screens in its second week. But the potential is certainly there for Anderson's latest to be his biggest hit to date, and that will certainly go a long way toward insinuating it into the awards season conversation later this year (particularly if the studio keeps it in theaters as long as possible, a tactic Sony Classics tends to play out with summer releases).
Searchlight must be over the moon. Just a week after the mini-major nabbed its second Best Picture Oscar to date (for “12 Years a Slave,” wrapping up one of the most contentious and competitive Oscar seasons in years), they have a major play on their hands both with the public (given the box office) and with critics (given the reviews). That's a powerful mixture, and it's entirely possible it feeds the beast as the circuit begins to fire back up in six or seven months.
If you've gotten around to “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in either LA or New York yet, do tell us what you thought, or circle back to that post in the coming weeks as it continues to expand.