Specialty Box Office: 'Foxcatcher' Conquers New York and Los Angeles

Jon Stewart's directorial debut, 'Rosewater,' isn't as fortunate

A slew of awards hopefuls debuted at the specialty box office this weekend — and the big winner was Bennett Miller's biopic, Foxcatcher.

The Sony Pictures Classics release, starring Channing Tatum as Olympic wrestling champion Mark Schultz and Steve Carell as his fanatical millionaire coach John du Pont, grossed $288,000 from six theaters for a rousing location average of $48,019, one of the best showings of the year and Miller's best for a limited debut.

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Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave also star in Foxcatcher, which Sony Classics will roll out slowly as awards season heats up.

Director Tommy Lee Jones' The Homesman also made its theatrical debut, grossing $48,033 from four theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a more modest location average of $12,033. Westerns are an inherently tough sell, and Homesman outpaced Jones' previous Western, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which posted a location average of $4,711 when opening on five screens.

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Homesman, from Roadside Attractions and Saban Films, stars Jones opposite Hilary Swank and Meryl Streep. Roadside and Saban intend to expand the drama nationwide by Dec. 5.

Another awards hopeful testing the waters at the box office was Jon Stewart's feature directorial debut, Rosewater, starring Gael Garcia Bernal as Maziar Bahari, the journalist imprisoned for 118 days in Iran, a story covered by Stewart on The Daily Show.

The drama underwhelmed, grossing a so-so $1.2 million from 371 theaters to come in No. 13 for distributor Open Road Films. The film, posting a theater average of $3,235, now faces the challenge of remaining in theaters.

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Among holdovers, Focus Features' awards contender The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, continued to show momentum, grossing $738,000 as it expanded from five to 41 theaters in its second weekend for a location average of $18,000 and domestic total of $1 million. (Last weekend, the Stephen Hawking biopic sported an opening theater average of nearly $42,000.)

And Fox Searchlight's Birdman is still flying high. The dark comedy cracked the top 10 as it expanded into 857 theaters in its fifth weekend, grossing $2.5 million for a domestic total of $11.6 million.

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