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Independent Box Office: ‘The Sessions’ Scores $30K Per-Screen Debut

Fox Searchlight's sex surrogate tale "The Sessions" debuts impressively in four theaters in NY and LA

Fox Searchlight's "The Sessions" took in $120,000 from four theaters in Los Angeles and New York over the weekend, for a $30,000 per-screen average in its debut.

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Writer-director Ben Lewin's R-rated film is based on a true story and follows a 36-year-old writer (John Hawkes) who was afflicted with polio as a child and who has to spend as many as 20 hours a day in an iron lung. He decides he wants to lose his virginity, and enlists the aid of his parish priest (William H. Macy) and a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) to do the deed.

Also read: 'The Sessions': John Hawkes, Helen Hunt Embrace Movie That Is 'Sex Positive'

Fox Searchlight's senior vice president of distribution Frank Rodriguez said that the opening was "even better than we had expected. This is Ben Lewin's film, but the acting performances are really drawing attention."

Fox Searchlight will add nine theaters in five new markets next week (San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Wash. DC, and Toronto), as well as expanding slightly in N.Y. and L.A.

Ava DuVernay's "Middle of Nowhere" expanded from six to 21 screens and took in $54,395 for a $2,590 per-theater-average. That's well off the $78,000 and $13,000 per screen it managed in its debut last week.

Summit Entertainment’s “Perks of Being a Wallflower” crossed the $7 million mark in overall domestic grosses after bringing in $2.1 million in its second week in wider release. It was on 745 screens and had a $2,886 per-screen average.

Also passing the $7 million mark in overall grosses was Roadside Attractions’ Richard Gere financial thriller “Arbitrage,” which added another $318,000 from 168 screens in its sixth week.

"The Master" took in $535,000 from 412 screens, a $1,299 per-screen average, for the Weinstein Co, Its overall gross is $14.7 million.

Oscilloscope’s “Samsara” added $136,111 from 70 screens over the weekend, a $1,945 per-screen average that raised its overall gross to $2 million after nine weeks. The company’s “Wuthering Heights” added $16,765 from 11 theaters – a $1,524 per-screen average — in its third week. It’s overall gross is $44,741.