According to Indiewire, the art house/specialty movie box office numbers are in, and the biggest winner among small debuts was, justly, “Mother of George.” Andrew Dosunmu’s transportive, gorgeously-shot film — set amongst a Nigerian community in Crown Heights, Brooklyn — grossed $22,456 from a single theater at New York City’s Angelika Film Center. This may have been a hometown support deal; few films have been shot in this particular neck of the city. But the win was deserving anyway, and let’s hope that beautifully made films on unique subjects will appeal to those in other cities and non-cities alike.
Another worthy indie, “Blue Caprice,” had a similarly promising showing from a single screen. A docudrama semi-loosely based on the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, with Isaiah Washington as the ringleader, it grossed $15,200, and will expand over the next few weeks.
In fact, many of this week’s new releases fared well. “GMO OMG,” an activist doc targeting genetically modified organisms, debuted to $15,121 from, again, one location. “Wadjda,” the first film ever shot entirely within Saudi Arabia — and by a woman filmmaker, no less — opened on three screens and amassed $40,491, for a $13,497 average.
Faring less well, sadly, was Bill Bob Thornton’s first directed film in 12 years:. The ensemble film, “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” featuring Thornton, Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, John Hurt and many more, did $7,400 from 11 theaters, for a dismal $673 average. (Ed note: This is not good. The film is too ambitious, but in a way that’s largely productive. Besides, Thornton needs to be encouraged, not discouraged, to work in film.)
Back to good news: This weekend, both “Blue Jasmine” and “Instructions Not Included” became the top two highest grossing specialty releases of 2013. “Jasmine” hit $27.9 million while “Instructions” made it to $26.6 million.