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Independent Box Office: Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ Debut is Year’s Best

The comedy starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin averages $102K in six theaters

This weekend’s debut of Woody Allen‘s “Blue Jasmine" is one of the veteran writer-director’s best ever, and easily the year’s strongest specialty box office opening.

The comedy, starring Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin, took in $612,726 from just six theaters for distributor Sony Pictures Classics. That’s a spectacular $102,128 per-screen average, topping the $87,667 average that “Spring Breakers” managed on three screens in March.

Also read: How Cate Blanchett Got Ready to Play a Boozer in Woody Allen's 'Blue Jasmine'

The “Blue Jasmine” debut tops that of “Midnight in Paris,” Allen’s 2011 hit that went on to take in $151 million globally. That film opened to a $99,834 average, also from six theaters.

“Paris” received four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Allen won for Original Screenplay; the success of “Blue Jasmine” is sure to set off awards buzz for the movie and Blanchett in particular.

Also read: Hugh Jackman's 'The Wolverine' Wobbles in U.S. but Rips Up Foreign Box Office

Louis C.K., Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg co-star in the PG-13-rated tale of a woman facing a life crisis, who heads to San Francisco and reconnects with her sister (Sally Hawkins).

Only five other movies have debuted with per-screen averages of more than $100,000: “Dreamgirls,” “The Master,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Precious.”

Two movies that expanded this weekend – the Weinstein Company's “Fruitvale Station” and Fox Searchlight's “The Way, Way Back”- both connected.

“Fruitvale” went from 34 to 1,064 theaters in its third weekend, and cracked the national top ten with $4.6 million, an average of $4,377 per location.

Also read: 'Fruitvale Station' and Trayvon Martin Murder Case: Art and Life Collide on Eve of Film Release

First-time director Ryan Coogler's drama is about the last day in the life of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by a guard after an altercation on a BART train in Oakland, Calif., on New Year's Day, 2009.

The film, which stars Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz and Octavia Spencer, is clearly tapping into the national discussion surrounding the recent verdict in Trayvon Martin murder case.

“It’s hard not link them, and we’re getting more mention than we otherwise would have because the media is making that connection,” said Weinstein’s head of distribution Erik Lomis. “But this is a movie that deserves to be seen, and we’re glad diverse audiences are discovering it.”

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“The Way Way Back” went from 304 theaters to 886 and brought in $3.3 million, a $3,725 per-screen average for the coming-of-age comedy.

Steve Carell, Tony Collette and Liam James star in the film, written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. It’s taken in more than $8.9 million since opening on July 5.

CBS Films opened its Aubrey Plaza comedy “The To-Do List,” written and directed by Maggie Carey, in 591 theaters and it brought in $1.5 million – roughly its production budget.

This is the movie Plaza was promoting when she crashed Will Ferrell’s presentation at the MTV Movie Awards in April, with the movie’s title written on her chest. (For the record, CBS says the stunt was all her idea.)

Young women were the target demographic for the R-rated film, and audiences broke down 60 percent female, but 58 percent over 25. The story follows high school girl Brandy Clark (Plaza) who, feeling pressured to become more experienced before she goes to college, makes a list of sexual achievements to accomplish before heading off to college.

Bill Hader, Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Adam Samberg co-star in the film, which has a 72 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.