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Independent Box Office: ‘The East’ and ‘Kings of Summer’ Start Fast

The two films debut impressively in four New York and L.A. theaters

“The East” and “The Kings of Summer,” got off to strong starts in their box office debuts this weekend.

Directed by Zal Batmanglij, Fox Searchlight’s "The East" opened in four theaters in New York and L.A. and took in $75,628 for an $18,907 per-screen average.

Brit Marling, Ellen Page and Alexander Skarsgard star. Batmanglij and Marling co-wrote the screenplay, which follows a former FBI agent (Marling) who infiltrates an anarchist collective but begins to fall in love with one of its leaders (Skarsgard).

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The plan is to expand “The East” into six more cities next weekend, according to Fox Searchlight Distribution sr. vice-president Frank Rodriguez.

“‘The East’ is a smart and modern thriller with a very strong female protagonist, and we believe that since there really isn’t another film out there like this, audiences are seeking out this very unique film,” he said.

CBS Films’ R-rated “The Kings of Summer” was also in four L.A. and New York theaters and took in an estimated $58,000 for a $14,500 per-screen average. 

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Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts' big-screen debut, known as “Toy’s House” when it played Park City, focuses on three teenage friends (Nick Robinson, Gabriel Basso and Moises Arias) who decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Chris Galletta wrote the screenplay. Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally and Alison Brie co-star.

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Audiences – 48 percent male and 71 percent over the age of 25 — were in step with critics (76 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes) and gave it an “A-” CinemaScore. Attendance surged 31 percent from Friday to Saturday, indicating strong word of mouth.

“We will be expanding the film into another 22 markets next Friday and look forward sustained playability as more audiences discover this Sundance gem,” CBS Films vice-president of communications Grey Munford said Sunday.