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Independent Box Office: ‘Austenland’ Tops Trio of Sundance Openers

Tale of obsessed fan averages $10K while 'Ain't The Bodies Saints" does $9.6K per theater and doc "Cutie and the Boxer" manages $7K

“Austenland,” directed and co-written by Jerusha Hess, had the best debut of the three movies from the Sundance Film Festival that opened at the specialty box office this weekend.

The Sony Classics film, which stars Keri Russell as a Jane Austen-obsessed woman who heads to a resort celebrating the author, brought in $42,633 for four theaters for a $10,658 average.

Also read: Oprah Winfrey's 'The Butler' Wins Big at Box Office – And Title Fight Helped

That was a little better than IFC Films’ David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.”  The Western romance, which stars Casey Affeck, Rooney Mara and Ben Foster, rustled up $28,800 from three theaters for a $9,600 per-screen average. Lowery wrote and directed.

The documentary “Cutie and the Boxer” – about the  chaotic 40-year marriage of famed boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko – brought in $21,093 from three theaters for a $7,031 per-screen average for the Weinstein Company’s specialty label Radius. 

Also read: Sundance 2013 Pickups Are Outperforming Last Year's Crop

Radius received some more good box-office news. Its “20 Feet From Stardom,” an examination of rock backup singers that was released June 14, became the year’s first documentary to cross the $4 million mark.

Paladin and Film Buff opened the SXSW award-winning documentary “Spark: A Burning Man Story” on two theaters in New York and Los Angeles, one week ahead of this year’s opening of the event. It took in $9,100 for a $4,550 per-screen average.

Woody Allen's “Blue Jasmine” expanded from 119 to 229 theaters in its fourth week and grossed $2.35 million for a very solid $10,303 per-screen average.

The Sony Pictures Classics drama stars Cate Blanchett and features an ensemble cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Louis C.K., Tammy Blanchard and Bobby Cannavale.

Also read: Darkness of Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine' Brightens Box-Office Outlook

It could become Allen’s highest-grossing film ever, ahead of 2011’s Best Picture Oscar nominee “Midnight in Paris.” Next week’s nationwide expansion will put its chances of topping it in better perspective. 

Roadside Attractions upped the theaters count on Lake Bell’s look at voiceover artists from three to 37 in its second week and it brought in $230,510 for a $6,230 per-screen average.

The broad Indian comedy “Chennai Express” took a tumble from its first week, falling off nearly 60 percent from its opening last week. It brought in $840,000 from 190 locations and raised its overall total in the U.S. to $3.9 million. That puts it third on the all-time list of Bollywood movies behind 2009's “3 Idiots” ($6.5 million) and 2010's “My Name is Khan” ($4 million).