‘The Post’ Scores Big Limited Release as Awards Contenders Compete at Box Office

“The Shape of Water” and “Darkest Hour” also expanded in time for Christmas

While “The Greatest Showman” isn’t performing as well as Fox might have hoped, the studio still has reason to smile this Christmas weekend as its major awards contender, “The Post,” is off to a great start in limited release.

Steven Spielberg’s recounting of The Washington Post’s acquisition and publishing of The Pentagon Papers opened on nine screens this weekend and is looking at a four-day start of $715,000, good for a per screen average of just under $80,000. The film has had glowing reviews with an 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

“The Post” stars Tom Hanks as famed WaPo editor Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as the paper’s owner, Kay Graham. Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, and Sarah Paulson also star. Josh Singer, who won an Oscar for his script for “Spotlight,” wrote the script with Liz Hannah.

Meanwhile, two other awards contenders, Focus Features’ “Darkest Hour” and Fox Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water,” expanded nationwide this weekend. “Darkest Hour,” Gary Oldman’s biopic of Winston Churchill, made $4.1 million from 806 screens to bring its total to $8.7 million. “The Shape of Water” expanded to 726 screens and made $3 million to bring its total to $9 million.

A24’s two titles, “The Disaster Artist” and “Lady Bird,” made $907,000 from 517 screens and $1 million from 402 screens respectively. “Disaster Artist” has a total of $15.7 million while “Lady Bird” sits at $28.3 million. NEON/30WEST’s “I, Tonya” expanded to 37 screens and made $712,000, bringing its total to $1.3 million. Sony Pictures Classics’ “Call Me By Your Name” expanded to 114 screens and added $850,000 to bring its total to $3.1 million.

Finally, two other new limited releases hit theaters in L.A. and New York this weekend: Entertainment Studios’ “Hostiles” and Sony Pictures Classics’ “Happy End,” both rolling out on three screens this weekend. Estimates have “Hostiles” making $23,000 over the four-day weekend for a PSA of $7,600, while “Happy End” made $23,800 for a PSA of just under $8,000.

“Hostiles” stars Christian Bale as a U.S. Marshal tasked with escorting a tribe of Native Americans to their ancestral home to give their dying chief (Wes Studi) a proper burial. Rosamund Pike and Jesse Plemmons also star in the film, which is written and directed by Scott Cooper. The film currently has a 67 percent RT score.

“Happy End” is the latest film from “Amour” director Michael Haneke, following a bourgeois family and their barely veiled tensions amidst the background of Europe’s refugee crisis. “Amour” stars Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant star. The film has a 64 percent RT score.