“Men in Black 3″ may have led a disappointing mainstream box office this weekend, but “Moonrise Kingdom” powered the art house box office to a strong holiday take. Wes Anderson’s latest effort averaged a stunning $130,752 at four locations with an overall four-day $669K gross. That handily blows away the previous record for a live-action feature in a regular theatrical run, the $126K per theater average debut in three theaters for “Dreamgirls” in 2006.
It’s not hard to figure out what happened here–Wes Anderson is an eye-catching brand name to the art house audience, and “Moonrise,” which opened the Cannes Film Festival, got fairly good reviews, which is important to an audience that actually cares about reviews. Plus these obviously weren’t the same people who had any interest in “Men in Black 3.” Focus Features plans to add to the theater count each weekend in June; I’m assuming they’re hoping for a “Midnight in Paris” word of mouth type of succes.s (As for me, well, I adored Anderson’s “Rushmore” and pretty much hated everything he’s done since except for “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” There are things I’ve read about “Moonrise” which really annoy me, so no, I probably won’t be checking this one out until maybe when it hits video.).
“The Intouchables” was another new art house opener this weekend. The French language film (though Belgian produced) was a huge hit overseas, earning over $300 million. It had a good opening here, $34K in four theaters, but I don’t know if it’s going to be quite as big a hit here (to be perfectly honest, it looks like one of those “socially responsible” movies that Hollywood might have made in the late 1950s or 1960s, like “The Defiant Ones”).
Holdover “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” continued its strong performance in week four with $8.2 million from 1,233 theaters. Don’t worry, Mom and Dad, it will get to your area eventually.