Specialty Box Office: Indie Film Business Enjoys a Banner Memorial Day Weekend

1:58 PM PST 05/28/2012 by Pamela McClintock

Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" scores the highest per-theater average of all time for a live-action film; French comedy "The Intouchables" also does good business in its U.S. debut.

The specialty box office came to life over the Memorial Day weekend as Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom made history.

Focus Features' Moonrise grossed $523,006 from four theaters during the three-day weekend for a per-location average of $130,752 -- the best ever for a live-action film, eclipsing the $126,317 location average of Dreamgirls, which opened in three theaters in December 2006.

For the four-day holiday weekend, Moonrise earned $669,486 for a theater average of $167,371.

Moonrise, which opened the Cannes Film Festival this month, is playing at AMC Lincoln Square and Regal Cinema Union Square Stadium 14 in New York City and the ArcLight Hollywood and Landmark Theater in Los Angeles.

The film marks the first time Focus and Anderson have worked together.

"Moonrise is a story of love's improbable triumph and, for Wes Anderson and his team, a labor of love from start to finish'" Focus CEO James Schamus said. "How wonderful it is to congratulate him."

Anderson's film headlines Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Jason Schwartzman.

Focus president of domestic distribution Jack Foley said the film played to both older and younger moviegoers, evidenced by the fact that 65 percent of the audience was under the age of 35. He said it also played beyond Anderson's core fan base.

The Weinstein Co. also did well by French comedy The Intouchables, which likewise opened in four theaters in New York and Los Angeles during the long Memorial Day weekend. For the three days, the film -- which has grossed north of $343 million internationally -- grossed $103,507 for a location average of $25,877.

For the four days, Intouchables grossed $137,438 for a location average of $34,360. The film received an A CinemaScore.

"It's right in the wheelhouse for a strong foreign-language film," TWC president of domestic distribution Erik Loomis said. "And it received some of the highest exit polls I've ever seen."

In its fourth weekend, Fox Searchlight's specialty film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came in No. 8 with an impressive four-day gross of $8.2 million as it expanded into a total of 1,233 theaters. The film's cume is $18.4 million.

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