Focus Features’ “The Zookeeper’s Wife” opened to a solid $3.34 million debut weekend at the box office, showing in 541 screens for a per screen average of just under $6,200 during a busy weekend at the indie box office.
Starring Jessica Chastain and directed by Niki Caro — who was recently signed by Disney to direct next year’s “Mulan” remake — the film tells the true story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski, the owners of the Warsaw Zoo who saw their animals slain by the Nazis following their invasion of Poland in 1939. With their life’s work destroyed, the Zabinskis pressed on and formed an operation to smuggle Jews out of Polish ghettos as the Nazis’ genocidal plans began to take form.
Johan Heldenbergh and Daniel Bruhl also star in the film, which received a mixed 59 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Also opening this weekend is the Chinese mystery import “The Devotion of Suspect X,” which was released by China Lion to coincide with China’s Qingming festival, a popular time for moviegoers on the other side of the Pacific.
Based on the Japanese crime novel by Keigo Higashino, the film tells the story of a professor who assists in a murder investigation, only to find that a friend from his college years may have had something to do with the crime. The film got a day-and-date release in the States and made $330,000 from 43 screens for a PSA of $7,674.
The cult classic “Donnie Darko” saw a limited return engagement in celebration of its 15th anniversary. The re-release from Arrow Films made $53,200 from 21 theaters.
Among holdovers, “T2 Trainspotting” crossed the $1 million mark in its third frame, making $400,000 from 140 screens to bring its total to $1.17 million.
Fox Searchlight’s “Wilson” continued to struggle after expanding to 311 theaters, making $115,000 for a PSA of just $370 and a two-weekend cume of $592,300. Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song” has just under $326,000 after three weekends after adding $58,747 from 95 theaters.