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‘Calvary’ Blessed With Strong Opening at Specialty Box Office

Tale of Irish priest clicks in debut as ”A Most Wanted Man“ and ”Boyhood“ impress in expansions

Moviegoers blessed “Calvary,” an indie comedy-drama about an Irish priest who receives a death threat in a confessional, in its limited opening this weekend at the box office.

Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh and starring Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd, “Calvary” brought in $72,000 from two theaters in New York and two in L.A. for a per screen average of $18,000.

That was the second-highest highest of any film in release, behind only “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Also read: 7 Reasons Why ‘Guardians of Galaxy’ Blew Up the Box Office

“Based on the very good reviews, (91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) we expect the film to play well through August as we roll out the film on a limited platform basis,” said Frank Rodriguez, sr. vice-president at distributor Fox Searchlight. “Based on the reactions from various screenings we have held, we are aware of the film’s great playability and expect that good word of mouth will help to direct audiences to see ‘Calvary.'”

He said the plan was to add eight new markets next weekend as well as expanding in NY and LA, for a total of 35-40 theaters.

Two holdovers, the spy drama “A Most Wanted Man” and writer-director Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood,” both expanded successfully.

Also read: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ‘A Most Wanted Man’ Debuts With Eye on Oscar

Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate roughly doubled the screen count of “A Most Wanted Man,” and the John le Carre adaptation starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman took in $3.3 million from 729 screens.

That made for a $4,560 per-screen average, and the Anton Corbijn-directed thriller moved up into ninth place at the overall box office.

“The gross went up a terrific 73 percent from Friday to Saturday,” said Roadside’s co-president Howard Cohen, “showing continuing great word of mouth.” Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, Willem Dafoe and Daniel Brühl co-star.

Also read: Critics Love ‘Boyhood,’ But Can It Actually Win Best Picture?

IFC Films took “Boyhood” from 107 to 311 theaters and it brought in $2.5 million. That was good for an $8,110 per-screen average. Its domestic total is at $7.5 million after four weeks.

“The word of mouth remains very positive as the film’s audience expands,” said Mark Boxer, sr. vice-president of distribution at IFC. “User ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are extremely high and the film has now achieved a very rare 100 on Metacritic. Next week the film will continue to expand to 500 screens.”

The Dinesh D’Souza documentary “America” kept rolling. It brought in $375,000 from 478 locations to lift its domestic total past the $14 million mark for distributor Lionsgate.

Watch video: Dinesh D’Souza Targets Michael Moore and Sen. Elizabeth Warren in ‘America’ Clip

D’Souza’s book, “America: Imagine The World Without Her,” hit the top of the NY Times bestseller list this week and that helped. “America” is about to pass Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story” to become the sixth-highest grossing political documentary ever.

Sony Pictures Classics expanded Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight” from 17 to 63 theaters and it took in $770,430 for an $11,853 per-screen average that raised its domestic total to $1.3 million after two weeks.

“Snowpiercer,” from the Weinstein Company’s speciality label Radius, dropped to 100 theaters from 149 in its sixth week and brought in $110,000 for a $1,100 per-theater average. It’s taken in $4.1 million at the box office while doing healthy video on demand business.

Also read: Jon Favreau’s ‘Chef’ Tries to Turn Up Box-Office Heat in Crowded Comedy Kitchen

“Chef” kept simmering for Open Road Films. The Jon Favreau food truck comedy lifted its domestic gross to $28.3 million after taking in $680,280 from 350 theaters in its 13th week. It fell just 11 percent from last week, despite dropping 55 locations.