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Mark Duplass’ ‘Blue Jay,’ ‘Theo Who Lived’ Lead Tepid Weekend at Indie Box Office

Critical raves couldn’t help these art-house films

Zeitgeist documentary “Theo Who Lived” was the top performer during a lackluster weekend at the specialty box office.

It opened to a tepid $5,539 from one theater, according to estimates, in spite of a strong 80 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. The film is about American journalist Theo Padnos, who was captured and tortured in Syria.

Orchard dramedy “Blue Jay” didn’t attract a high concentration of moviegoers either, grossing an estimated $5,235 from one theater. The film, starring Mark Duplass (who also wrote the script) and recent Emmy winner Sarah Paulson, received glowing reviews, reflected in its 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Directed by Alexandre Lehmann (“Where Hope Grows”), “Blue Jay” revolves around two former high-school sweethearts who reconnect by sheer chance during their middle aged years.

“Newtown,” Abramorama’s documentary about the Newtown tragedy of 2012, which marked the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in America, also earned critical raves with a 92 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. But that did not translate into thriving opening box office numbers with estimates reflecting $6,796 from two theaters, for a per theater average of $3,398.

Meanwhile ArtAffects drama “Voiceless,” about a military veteran who takes a stand against an abortion clinic, grossed an estimated $250,000 from 100 theaters for a low per screen average of $2,500. The title did not receive a Rotten Tomatoes rating.

FilmRise horror comedy “The Greasy Strangler,” which has a barely fresh 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, made an estimated $25,000 from 11 theaters, for a per location average of $2,273.