‘American Hustle’ Cons Way to Year’s Biggest Limited Box-Office Debut

David O’s Russel’s Abscam tale rides Golden Globes nominations to average $115K in six theaters

David O. Russell’s Oscar frontrunner “American Hustle” rolled out with $690,000 from six theaters for a $115,000 per-theater average, the year’s biggest limited box-office debut.

The comedy-drama set against the backdrop of the 1970s Abscam corruption scandal was riding a ton of momentum, after capturing seven nominations at this week’s Golden Globes, including best picture.

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“American Hustle,” from Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures, is set to go nationwide into around 2,500 theaters on Wednesday.

“We’re set up to be a contender and we’re very much looking forward to this ride,” Sony’s distribution chief Rory Bruer told TheWrap Sunday, “and we think it’s going be a long one.”

Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” which stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in the story of the making of “Mary Poppins,” opened in 15 major-market theaters to $421,000, a roughly $28,000 per-screen average. Also in the best picture conversation, “Mr. Banks” goes nationwide on Wednesday, too.

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So does the Ethan an Joel Coen’s “Inside Llewyn Davis,” which brought in $344,000 after CBS Films expanded it from four to 15 locations for a per-screen average of $22,931.

Also planning to expand next weekend is the Weinstein Company’s “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.” It was in four theaters this week and brought in $31,809 for a $7,953 per-location average.

Fox Searchlight “12 Years a Slave” dropped from 1,072 to 497 theaters and totaled $685,000 for a $1,378 per-screen average. “12 Years” — which also earned seven Golden Globes nominations — raised its domestic total to $36.3 million, making it the year’s highest-grossing English-language platform release.

Paramount Vantage added 137 theaters for Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” this weekend, and the drama starring Bruce Dern and June Squibb brought in $850,000 from 250 theaters for a $3,400 per-screen average.

Focus Features’ Matthew McConaughey-Jared Leto AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” dropped from 734 to 574 theaters and brought in $1,129,592 for a $1,968  average. It’s domestic total is $14.2 million.

Sony Pictures Classics brought Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” back into roughly 300 theaters  and the  comedy-drama starring Cate Blanchett took in $100,904 to raise is domestic total to $32.8 million.