"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "The Descendants" also continue their solid runs
Roman Polanski's new comedy "Carnage" had a solid opening at the box office this weekend, while "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" and "The Descendants" continued their strong runs.
The strong debut comes after Foster received a Golden Globe nomination earlier in the week for her work on the film.
The R-rated movie, distributed by Sony Classics, is based on the play "God of Carnage," by Yasmina Reza, who wrote the screenplay with Polanski.
In the movie, Alan and Nancy Cowan go to the apartment of Michael and Penelope Longstreet to apologize for their son, who hit the Longstreet's boy with a stick. They are there to resolve issues around the playground melee, but end up having a series of childish arguments of their own.
Meanwhile, in its second weekend of release, Focus Features' R-rated "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," an espionage thriller based on the John le Carre novel, continued to perform well.
Expanding from four locations to 16, the film grossed $452,278 for a substantial per-screen average of $28,267.
The second-weekend average is the highest for any movie expanding in such a pattern — from four theaters to 16 or 18 in its second weekend, according to Focus Features.
Until this weekend, 2004's "Sideways" had the highest such average, with a second-week per-screen average of $25,288 in 16 locations. "The Wrestler" in 2008 was just behind that, with a second-week per-screen average of $21,529 in 18 locations.
It has now grossed a total of $851,842.
In its third week of release, meanwhile, Steve McQueen's "Shame" expanded by 30 theaters to 51, and grossed $305,000 — a solid $5,980 per screen. It has now taken a total of $1.2 million.
The NC-17-rated movie, starring Michael Fassbender, is distributed by Fox Searchlight. Fassbender has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in the film.
The Weinstein Company's two films, both in their fourth week of release, continued to post strong numbers, as well.
"The Artist," the silent, black-and-white PG-13-rated movie earned Michel Hazanavicus a Golden Globe nomination for best director. It grossed $276,879 at 17 locations — one more than last week — for a per-location average of $16,875 this weekend. The movie, nominated for six Golden Globes, now has a total gross of $1.3 million.
The movie, nominated for three Golden Globes, has grossed just short of $6.1 million.
Finally, "The Descendants" increased by two theaters, to 878, since last week, grossed $3.35 million in its fifth week of release — a per-location average of $3,815. It has now grossed $28.7 million.