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WEEKEND Movie: Gay Love Story Tops Per-Theater Box Office

Weekend movie Tom Cullen and Chris NewWeekend movie box office. (Photo: Tom Cullen and Chris New.) Weekend, writer-director Andrew Haigh's gay love story featuring Tom Cullen and Chris New, scored the highest per-theater average this weekend (Sept. 23-25) at the North American box office.

Weekend movie per-theater average

Screening at one New York City theater, the Sundance Selects-distributed Weekend — which, by the way, has nothing to do with Jean-Luc Godard's 1967 film of the same name — grossed an estimated $25,200 according to Box Office Mojo. For the mathematically challenged: $25,200 at one theater equals a $25,200 per-theater average.

In Weekend, Tom Cullen and Chris New are two gay men who discover that a one-night stand has metamorphosed into something more profound. The British, independently made romantic drama has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Haigh's movie, in fact, has a 96 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' critics, with Salon's Andrew O'Hehir calling it "one of the bravest, most honest and most accomplished stories of gay love and sex ever rendered on film."

So, Weekend is unquestionably a critical hit, but was its North American debut a box office hit as well? Well, considering that it's a niche, low-budget movie with no box office names in front or behind the camera, a $25,200 per-theater average on opening weekend — even if only at one movie house — isn't bad at all, especially if the theater question is the usual small arthouse establishment. Having said that, one should remember that all things being equal, the fewer the number of theaters showing a film, the higher the per-theater average should be.

Gay movie romance at the box office: Weekend, Latter Days, Shelter

For comparison's sake: back in January 2004, C. Jay Cox's Latter Days, another small gay romantic drama featuring little-known players Steven Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey, averaged $14,310 (approx. $18,350 today) at four locations. At one site in March 2008, Jonah Markowitz's generally well-received Shelter, a gay-surfer love story featuring Trevor Wright and Brad Rowe, collected only $3,464 at one single theater. (Perhaps as a result of good word-of-mouth, the following weekend Shelter's average increased to $4,701 after the film expanded to six locations.)

To date, Weekend has won Best Film jury awards at the Nashville Film Festival (in addition to a Best Actor win for Tom Cullen), Los Angeles' Outfest, and Toronto's Inside Out Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. Weekend was also the audience winner at the SXSW Film Festival (in the Emerging Visions sidebar) and the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Weekend opens in the Los Angeles area (West Hollywood, Pasadena, Santa Monica) next Friday. The UK release is scheduled for November 3.

For more information on the movie, visit the Weekend official website.

Weekend movie / Chris New / Tom Cullen picture: Glendale Picture Company / Sundance Selects.

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