Box Office (Specialty): 'American Hustle' Scores in Debut

Columbia Pictures
"American Hustle"

David O. Russell's newest movie bettered the opening of his "Silver Linings Playbook," while Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks" also staked out its turf before moving into wide release.

David O. Russell’s American Hustle, making its debut in just six locations, enjoyed a buoyant limited opening, taking in an estimated $690,000 for a per-location average of $115,000.

The movie, loosely based on the Abscam scandal of the late ’70s, bettered the limited openings of Russell’s last two films -- last year’s Silver Linings Playbook, which bowed in 16 locations with a $27,687 average, and 2010’s The Fighter, which was introduced in four theaters, where it punched out a $75,002 average.


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The Sony release, co-financed by Annapurna Pictures, will move into wide release Dec. 20, moving up to about 2,500 theaters.

Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, didn’t attract quite as much initial interest as it was unveiled in 15 theaters, collecting $421,000 for an average of $28,066 per location. It, too, moves into wide release Dec. 20.

In its second weekend, CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen brothers, moved from the four theaters where it first appeared last weekend to 15 houses. It picked up $344,000 (for an average of $22,933), which brings its domestic tally to date to $898,000. It’s also slated to expand further next weekend.

Meanwhile, in its third weekend of limited release, The Weinstein Co.’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which celebrates the life of the late Nelson Mandela, took in $31,800 in four theaters (for a $7,950 average) and a $237,800 total as it readies to go wider Dec. 25.

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Other awards contenders staking out territory included TWC’s Philomena, which managed an eighth-place showing as it attracted $1.8 million in 835 theaters in its fourth weekend for a domestic cume of $11 million; Focus’ Dallas Buyers Club, in 11th place with $1.1 million from 574 theaters in its seventh weekend for a $14.3 million total; Paramount Vantage’s Nebraska, in 13th place with $850,00 from 250 theaters in its fifth weekend for a $3.3 million total; Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years a Slave, in 16th place with $685,000 from 497 locations, bringing its purse to $36.3 million after nine weeks.

With lots of critics awards for Cate Blanchett’s performance in hand, Sony Pictures Classics added theaters for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, which went from five locations to 302, taking in $101,000, which brought its domestic total to $32.9 million.

Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions’ All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford, picked up $163,392 from 261 screens, bringing its domestic take to $5.7 million.