Box Office (Specialty): Princess Diana Biopic Bombs in North America
Richard Curtis' "About Time," starring Rachel McAdams, is soft in its debut, while "Dallas Buyers Club" sports the weekend's biggest location average.
Oliver Hirschbiegel's critically reviled biopic Diana -- starring Naomi Watts as the late Princess of Wales -- was quickly dethroned by moviegoers in North America, grossing $64,914 from 38 theaters for a bleak location average of $1,708.
From a screenplay based on Kate Snell's 2001 book Diana: Her Last Love, the ill-fated biopic recounts the final two years of Princess Diana's life, including her love affairs with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and Dodi Fayed.
Diana opened a month ago in the U.K., where it also bombed (one British reviewer called it "car crash" cinema). Entertainment One, which is distributing the film in the U.S. and a number of other key markets, including the U.K., is hoping Diana finds an afterlife on DVD, VOD and other digital platforms.
British pic About Time -- Working Title Films' latest movie from Richard Curtis (Love Actually) -- got off to a soft start in North America, grossing $1.1 million from 175 theaters to come in at No. 13. The romantic fantasy-comedy stars Rachel McAdams opposite Domhnall Gleeson.
Universal opened the film in a limited run in hopes of building word of mouth before expanding About Time nationwide on Nov. 8. Females fueled the movie's opening (70 percent).
Overseas, About Time has grossed $34.2 million to date from 37 markets.
Getting off to a solid start was Jean-Marc Vallee's acclaimed AIDS drama, Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. The film grossed $264,128 from nine theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Canada for a location average of $29,348.
The results were muted by a soft showing in Canada; if counting just the six theaters in New York and Los Angeles, the gross of $210,335 would make for a location average of $35,055.
"We had a really good week in the United States," said Focus distribution chief Jack Foley, adding that post-Halloween celebrations on Friday night may have dampened traffic, evidenced by a 71 percent jump in ticket sales from Friday to Saturday.
On the documentary side, Tom Donahue's acclaimed documentary Casting By -- which laments the fact that casting directors are snubbed by the Academy Awards -- grossed $7,850, opening in two theaters in New York. In a rare letter to Hollywood that appeared in the The Hollywood Reporter timed to the film's opening, Woody Allen extolled the work of the casting director he has worked with over the years.
Among holdovers, Fox Searchlight's 12 Years a Slave climbed up the top 10 chart to No. 7 as it expanded into a total of 410 theaters, grossing $4.6 million for a domestic total of $8.7 million.
J.C. Chandor's drama All Is Lost saw a bump, as well, as it expanded into a total of 131 theaters in its third weekend, grossing $593,700 for a domestic total of $1.5 million. Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate are distributing the film domestically.