Fox Searchlight’s romantic comedy “Ruby Sparks,” the first film from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris since ‘Little Miss Sunshine,” took in $151,881 from 13 locations in its debut weekend at the box office.
That’s an $11,683 per-screen average and ups the gross for the film, which opened Wednesday, to $191,717. Fox Searchlight is planning to add 20 new markets next week.
Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Annette Bening and Antonio Banderas star in the R-rated tale of a struggling writer (Dano) who finds that one of his characters, Ruby Sparks (Kazan), has come to life, but that complete control over another person is both irresistible and terrible to wield.
"Little Miss Sunshine” was made for $8 million and went on to gross more than $100 million worldwide and earn a Best Picture Academy Award nomination in 2006.
Fox Searchlight also scored with its expansion of Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild." The film took in a $914,000 after widening to 208 theaters from last week's 129 in its fifth week. That's a $4,349 per-screen average and raises the film's overall domestic gross to $4.1 million.
Fox Searchlight's sr. vice-president of domestic distribution Frank Rodriguez said it was the best weekend yet for "Beasts" and that plans call for the film to add 12-14 markets next week.
Elsewhere among openers, LD Entertainment’s “Killer Joe” made $37,864 from three screens, a $12,621 per-screen average. Matthew McConaughey stars in William Friedkin’s NC-17-rated crime thriller.
Alison Klayman's documentary "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" grossed $45,000 from five screens, a $9,000 per-screen average. The film, distributed by Sundance Selects, follows the Chinese artist as he clashes with his government over a series of exhibitions.
Sundance Selects also expanded Michael Winterbottom's "Trishna," starring Freida Pinto, from 16 to 37 screens in its third weekend and it made $51,800 for a $1,400 per-screen average.
Sony Pictures Classics’ “Searching for Sugar Man,” a documentary from Malik Bendjelloul about a South African duo in search of their musical hero, makes $28,533 from three screens, a $9,511 per-screen average.
Focus Features' "Moonrise Kingdom" averaged $1,626 in its tenth week, making $1.3 million after cutting back from 895 locations to 853. It's overall gross is $38.5 million and it should pass the $40 million mark this week.
In its eighth week, FilmDistrict's Mark Duplass comedy "Safety Not Guaranteed" got a boost from Facebook.
Based on a number of requests on the social media site, FilmDistrict opened the time travel tale in six extra cities and gave fans free tickets. It all worked: the film brought in $164,000 — a 4% increase from last week — and saw its overall domestic gross rise to $3.1 million. The six cities were North Brunswick, N.J., Fairfield, Conn., Farmington, N.M., Hilton Head Island, S.C., Tuscon, Ariz. and Las Vegas.
The Weinstein Co.'s "The Intouchables" had its best weekend in two months of release, making $512,000 after expanding from 91 to 194 theaters. That's a $2,639 per-screen average and ups its overall U.S. gross to $4.7 million, best for any foreign-language film this year.
Lauren Greenfield's Sundance doc "The Queen of Versailles" distributed by Magnolia went from 3 to 23 screens and took in $138,000, a $6,000 per-theater-average and a new total of $223,097. The film follows timeshare mogul David Siegel as he attempts to build the biggest house in America. It's slated to expand to 25 more locations next week.
Documentary "The Imposter," from Indomina films, grossed $13,526 from two screens. Director Bart Layton's tale follows a young Frenchman who appears on the scene after a family's 16-year-old son goes missing.
There were two films based on President Obama in theaters. The critical documentary "2016 Obama's America" from Rocky Mountain Pictures took in $36,572 gross from six screen, averaging $6,095.
Arc Entertainment's feature "The Obama Effect," directed and starring Charles S. Dutton, averaged just $1,000 on two screens in its second week.