First-time writer/director Justin Simien’s highly anticipated film “Dear White People” debuted in very limited release this weekend, just 11 theaters, but that didn’t stop it from drawing in some surprisingly big numbers, according to Box Office Mojo.
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Crowds reacted in a big way, propelling the satirical film to a $344K opening weekend. That may not seem like that big of a debut, but from just 11 theaters, that means the per-theater average was a heavy $31,273, which is phenomenal given the circumstances. A massive media marketing push following the film’s successful Indiegogo funding campaign and a talk show/interview tour featuring Simien and star Tessa Thompson helped get the word out in a big way. “Dear White People” expands into 350 total theaters next Friday, so we’ll see if its legs remain sturdy.
The tank-heavy WWII action flick “Fury,” starring Brad Pitt, debuted at #1 this weekend with a draw of $23.5 million. That’s a respectable opening, but pales in comparison to other R-rated flicks like the recent “Gone Girl” ($37.5 million) and the Denzel Washington-led “The Equalizer” ($34.1 million). The movie also didn’t connect well with women, who only made up 40% of total ticket buyers, while 51% were over the age of 35.
Speaking of “Gone Girl,” the David Fincher-directed thriller eased just 33% this past weekend, adding another $17.8 million worth of receipts, for a $107.1 total. It’s already outgrossed Fincher’s last two films “The Social Network” and “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” and is on its way to a $160 million finish.
In its second weekend, the franchise-starter “Dracula: Untold” fell from second to sixth place, making $9.9 million this past weekend and suffering a 58% drop from its $23.5 million debut. Universal’s nascent Monster franchise, including new Frankenstein, Wolfman, Mummy, and Creature from The Black Lagoon movies, depends on “Untold” to keep moving, and it’s tracked to end up with about $60 million at the end, so we’ll see if Universal invests more time and cash.
“The Equalizer” pulled in another $5.4 million, dropping 43% from last weekend, for an $89.1 million total thus far. This is looking to be yet another $100 million grosser for Washington, following the $126 million gross of his thriller “Safe House” from two years ago.
Dylan “CineMasai” Green is a movie geek, hip-hop aficionado, and pita chip enthusiast. Find him on Twitter.
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