The movie "Blue Jasmine," directed by Woody Allen, is on its way to becoming the highest-grossing independent release of the year after taking in $4.3 million over the weekend.
Sony Pictures Classics aggressively expanded the drama, in which Cate Blanchett plays the wife of a Bernie Madoff-type swindler, into 1,283 theaters in its fifth weekend, up from 229. That's the widest release ever for an Allen film, and it averaged $3,352 per location and raised its domestic total to $14.8 million.
That leaves it behind the pace set by "Midnight in Paris," the 77-year-old auteur's biggest box office hit. That 2011 comedy averaged $4,706 in 1,038 locations in its fifth week, before going on to make more than $56 million domestically and $151 million worldwide.
But it is on track to eventually pass the current top-grossing indies, the Matthew McConaughey drama "Mud," which has brought in $21.5 million for Roadside Attractions since opening in April, and Fox Searchlight's "The Way, Way Back," which has rolled up $18.6 million since early July.
"Blue Jasmine," like "Midnight in Paris," is generating significant awards buzz. The comedy, which starred Owen Wilson, earned Allen an Original Screenplay Oscar and it was nominated in three other categories, including Best Picture. Allen, who also wrote and directed "Blue Jasmine," is sure to be in the awards discussion.
But Blanchett's portrayal of the wife, a delusional Manhattan society wife who loses everything and moves in with her sister when her husband is sent to prison, has drawn the most attention. She tops a strong ensemble cast that includes Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Louis C.K., Tammy Blanchard and Bobby Cannavale.
SPC says Allen doesn't disclose his budgets, but like nearly all of his films, it's devoid of special effects and "Blue Jasmine" is almost surely in the same $17 million range as "Midnight in Paris."
On its opening weekend, it averaged $102,011 per screen in six theaters – the year's best limited opening.