While screening in only four theaters in the US, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom has broken the all-time record for best indie film debut of all time. Opening in New York and Los Angeles movie theaters, it collected an average of $130,750 per cinema, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
The figure is especially impressive when compared to $12,947 per movie theater for Men In Black III, the No. 1 film in the US, or $9,392 per theater for The Avengers, playing in about 4,000 cinemas across the country.
Anderson's quirky comedy, starring Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Bruce Willis, drew a total of $522,996 for the weekend but it broke the record for its per-screen record, previously held by Brokeback Mountain, the Ang Lee Oscar winner starring Keith Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, which averaged $109,485 per screen in December 2005.
Anderson's Cannes opener won strong reviews, with a 96% positive ranking on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, prior to its US launch in art-house movie theaters.
Other independent films that have earned an impressive reception at the box office include Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, another Cannes selection, which took a big $99,834 per-screen average across six theaters.
Lee Daniels's Precious, starring newcomer Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique, averaged a strong $104,025 in 18 cinemas in November 2009. Generally, the number decreases with more theaters screening a film.
Moonrise expands to San Francisco, Dallas, Washington DC and Chicago this weekend and then goes wider on June 8.
Another big opening last weekend was The Intouchables, the huge French hit film by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, which made $137,438 over the four-day weekend, averaging $34,360 per screen, the best foreign-language film debut.