Lest anyone think movie box-office is a zero sum game, it was good news all around this weekend for studio and independent films alike. To paraphrase The Simpsons: “In a way, you’re all winners. But in another, more accurate way, Evil Dead is the winner.” With $26 million against a $17 million budget, the remake of Sam Raimi’s cult classic proved that its possible to open a movie without Bruce Campbell and still be successful. Along with last year’s Sinister, it also signals a possible resurgence of R-rated horror fare to beat back the weaksauce PG-13 kind, perhaps with a firehose full of blood. It also sets up the strange problem of a sequel, which, in the Raimi tradition, would be more of a slapstick comedy and would be unthinkable without Bruce Campbell. The 3-D version of Jurassic Park also proved successful at $18.2 million for fourth place, a number that looks good next to the $10 million it cost to add an utterly useless dimension to a perfectly good 2-D movie.
In limited release, Shane Carruth’s experimental sci-fi movie Upstream Color collected a strong $31,500 on one 210-seat theater over the weekend, a healthy percentage of which goes back to him, since the film is self-distributed. (Carruth taking it to Sundance with a “not for sale” proviso is a prime example of his autodidact badassery.) Upstream Color rolls out to a few more cities this weekend—including Chicago, where Carruth will be joining yours truly at Music Box for an opening-night double feature with his debut feature Primer—and will be available next month digital and on DVD/BD. Meanwhile, two more heavily promoted studio “indies” fared equally well: Robert Redford’s Weather Underground snoozer The Company You Keep made $29,200 per screen on five screens while Danny Boyle’s thriller Trance collected $34,000 per screen on four. Meanwhile, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers is approaching the $13 million mark, which would be 520 times more money than Trash Humpers made in its entire run. In other words, that “Look at my shit” reference is more likely to score at parties than “Shake it, shake it, don’t break it.”
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.