Resident Evil: Retribution won the box office this weekend with $21.1m domestic (an average amount for the franchise), but it was The Master which impressed most with a stunning $146,000 per theater average (scoring a total of $730,000 before expanding next week) and Arbitrage which scored over $2m in just under 200 theaters.
The 5-theater feat from Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest makes it the second-highest opening per theater average in history for a limited release live-action film (behind Red State). If that seems like a lot of qualifiers, it’s because it is. However, it’s important to keep in context that top record-makers for per theater averages are 6 Disney-released films (The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Hercules) followed by Red State, followed by another Disney-released film (Atlantis: The Lost Empire), followed by The Master in the #9 spot.
So it’s not like this is a wide-open field or anything. This is an achievement almost solely regulated to animated features, but it’s unsurprising considering the massive buzz that The Master has achieved ahead of a very small release. [Box Office Mojo]