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‘Moonlight’ Illuminates Indie Box Office at Start of Awards Season

”The Handmaiden,“ ”Michael Moore In TrumpLand“ also lead limited releases

Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed “Moonlight” topped the indie box office this weekend in its limited-release opening.

Grossing an estimated $413,175 from four theaters, the A24 and Plan B film received a huge per screen average of $103,685.

About a boy struggling with bullying and his own blossoming sexuality in 1990s Miami, the film received rapturous applause when it first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and has a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score of 99 percent.

Executive produced by Plan B’s Brad Pitt, among others, the film stars relative newcomers Ashton Sanders, Alex R. Hibbert and Trevante Rhodes — all playing the same, troubled young man at three different points in his life.

Rounding out the cast are Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris and Janelle Monáe.

The film is receiving early awards season buzz and marks Jenkins’ highly anticipated second feature film, following his praised 2008 drama “Medicine for Melancholy.” It already won a Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Performance.

Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”) has delivered a specialty box office hit from Korea with the drama “The Handmaiden,” loosely based on a Victorian-era crime novel. The Magnolia movie made an impressive $91,000 from one theater.

Meanwhile, Michael Moore‘s surprise documentary “Michael Moore In TrumpLand” made $50,200 in two locations, for an estimated per screen average of $25,100. It only has a 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Janus Films’ re-release of the 1985 Japanese comedy “Tampopo” made $17,200 from one theater.

IFC crime drama “King Cobra” earned a respectable $9,500 from a single location. Starring James Franco, Alicia Silverstone, Molly Ringwald, Garrett Clayton and Christian Slater, the film revolves around the early rise of gay porn star Sean Paul Lockhart a.k.a. Brent Corrigan.

Drafthouse-distributed documentary “We Are X,” about the Japanese rock band X, earned $8,300 from one theater. It has an 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Kino Lorber doc “Fire at Sea” made $11,350 from two theaters, for a per screen average of $5,675. The film, which has a 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, centers on Europe’s migrant crisis happening on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

“The Uncondemned,” a documentary tracing a 1997 rape case prosecuted as a crime against humanity, made $5,146 from one theater. The film comes from distributors at Abramorama.

Starring and directed by Ewan McGregor, with Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, Lionsgate drama “American Pastoral” made $151,000 from 50 locations for a per screen average of $3,020. The film takes place in 1968 as a young woman’s politics threaten to bring down her family.

Pure Flix drama “I’m Not Ashamed” made $900,000 from 505 theaters for a per screen average of $1,782.

Focus World’s Western “In a Valley of Violence,” starring Karen Gillan, John Travolta, Ethan Hawke and Taissa Farmiga, made $30,000 in 33 theaters for an average of only $909 per screen. It has a favorable Rotten Tomatoes of 78 percent.