Can you open a movie in 2013 on publicity alone? So far, distribution upstart A24 is proving you can. Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" debuted in only three theaters in New York and Los Angeles this weekend for a monster $270,000 gross or a might impressive $90,000 per screen.
Historically, "Breakers" now has the highest per screen sine "Zero Dark Thirty's" $83,430 in December and ranks alongside "The King's Speech," "The Tree of Life," "Lincoln" and "There Will Be Blood." Many were skeptical that "Breakers" could be a real hit, but no film that has debuted to at least $75,000 per screen has ever grossed less than $13 million and only two ("The Master" and "The Tree of Life") made less than $24 million. Hollywood will get a better idea of how wide "Breakers" can play when it expands to over 1,000 theaters on Friday.
The highest per screen for an art-house film is "The Master's" $147,262 per in five theaters last September.
Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco, "Breakers" received positive reviews as it earned a 64 rating on Metacritic and a 70% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It also earned raves from The New York Times, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, the Associated Press and London's The Guardian.
Again, "Spring Breakers" opens nationwide on Friday.