Nov 09 2009

Precious' Spectacular Box Office Debut!

< > Precious Sets Box Office Record - Entertainment Weekly

The most newsworthy box-office story of the weekend was the record-breaking opening for Precious, the Oprah-endorsed and Sundance-winning drama starring Mo’Nique, Mariah Carey, and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe. On only 18 screens, Precious grossed $ 1.8 million for a per-screen average of $ 100,000—the largest per-screen average ever for a movie opening in more than 10 theaters. With many Oscar prognosticators—including EW's Dave Krager—calling the film one of the front-runners of the awards season, Precious has an undoubtedly bright future in store as it gradually expands into additional markets throughout November.

Krager lists "Precious" as a Best Bet to get into the Best Picture category, and lists Mariah as a possibility to get nominated in Best Supporting Actress:

Best Supporting Actress, Mariah Carey: Once people get past the strange concept of Carey as an Oscar contender, they won’t be able to deny the power of her few scenes as a social worker. If you ask me, she more than deserves to be in this race.

"Precious" Stuns with $ 100,000k weekend average - IndieWire

Lee Daniels’ “Precious: Based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” has exceeded even the highest of expectations in its opening weekend, according to estimates provided by Rentrak earlier today.  The film - which has been the source of much anticipation and buzz since its Sundance debut in January - grossed a stunning $ 1,800,000 from just 18 theaters over the weekend, averaging an essentially unheard of $ 100,000.  That gives it the third best live action per-theater-average of all time, surpassed only by 2006’s “Dreamgirls” and 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain.”  However, those two films had opened on 3 and 5 theaters respectively.  “Precious”‘s wide-by-comparison 18 theaters make it all the more impressive.

“Precious” was distributed by Lionsgate, who had acquired the film shortly after Sundance in a heated bidding war.  The deal, brokered by Cinetic, was said to be worth $ 5.5 million, and weaved in the support of both Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, who came on board as executive producers.  The plan obviously seems to have worked so far, with theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta reporting large crowds and sell out shows for “Precious.”  The film grossed $ 587,859 on Friday, and then rose to $ 699,514 on Saturday (averaging $ 38,800 per theater on that day alone), and was estimated to take in an additional $ 512,627 today. That already makes it the fourth highest grossing Sundance Narrative Grand Jury Prize winner this decade.

The numbers countered the early expectations that director Lee Daniels says he had for the movie. “It’s still a bit premature as all the weekend numbers aren’t in yet,” Daniels told indieWIRE on Saturday, just as the film passed the $ 1 million mark. “Remember, I thought ‘Push/Precious’ was going straight to DVD and I was cool with that. So, when I got this info I was slayed.”

“Precious” will expand considerably this Friday, November 13th, both within the markets it debuted in and in the Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, San Francisco, and Houston areas.

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