Magnolia Pictures rolled out Terence Malick's "To the Wonder" in 17 theaters this weekend and brought in $130,000, but the strong nationwide expansion of "Place Beyond the Pines" stole some of its thunder.
The $7,647 per-screen average was just OK for "To the Wonder," the tale of an American (Ben Affleck) traveling in Europe who meets and falls in love with a Ukrainian divorcée (Olga Kurylenko), who is raising her 10-year-old daughter Tatiana in Paris.
"To the Wonder" also debuted on VOD Friday. It's early to judge its box office prospects, but few are expecting it to match the $36.4 million of Malick's top-grossing film, "The Thin Red Line."
Releases from Malick, the director behind "Badlands," "Days of Heaven" and "The Tree of Life," always draw attention. This one landed in an extra spotlight last week, because it was the last movie Roger Ebert ever reviewed, in a kind and thoughtful notice that was posted two days after Ebert's death last week.
"Places Beyond the Pines" kept its box-office motor running in its nationwide expansion, breaking into the top ten by taking in an estimated $4 million from 514 theaters.
That's up from 30 theaters last week, and the Ryan Gosling-Brad Cooper drama averaged $7,937 per screen, best of any film in wide release except the top movie "42."
Focus Features' "Place Beyond the Pines" tells the story of a motorcycle stunt rider-turned-bank robber who turns to crime to try to feed his family. Derek Cianfrance directs from a script he wrote with Ben Coccio and Darius Marder. Gosling stars in the film, and Cooper plays a hotshot cop on the biker's tail. Cianfrance also collaborated with Gosling on 2010's "Blue Valentine."
Also expanding was the Danny Boyle thriller "Trance," which went from four to 438 theaters this weekend. It grossed $925,000 for a $2,112 per-theater average and raised its overall domestic total to $1.1 million for distributor Fox Searchlight.
Among other openers, Disconnect," director Henry Alex Rubin's thriller about people searching for human connections in today's wired world, took in $123,597 in its debut in 15 theaters for LD Entertainment.
That's an $8,240 per-screen average for the film, which stars Jason Bateman, Hope Davis and Jonah Bobo with a script by Andrew Stern.
Director Ken Loach's Scotland-set dark comedy "The Angels' Share" debuted on three theaters for Sundance Selects and took in $21,000 for a $7,000 per-screen average.