'The Grand Budapest Hotel' Dominates The Box Office, 'Veronica Mars' Sets the Stage

We're working our way out of a box office funk but just shy of the next huge franchise releases — and it's this limbo that's made this weekend's box office numbers all the more interesting. You can bet Divergent will rule the game come next weekend, but this weekend's box office crown belongs to Mr. Peabody and Sherman, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel 's expansion to wide release.

Grand Budapest did spectacularly well last weekend, as well, pulling in a bonkers $800,000 for just four theaters ($200,000 per screen). It continued to do damn well in its wider release of 66 theaters, raking in $4.77 million. Mr. Peabody and Sherman pulled in $21.1 million, bouncing back from its subpar opening weekend performance.

It's immediately clear, however, that this week's most interesting case belongs to Veronica Mars — for plenty of reasons, really, but mostly because it is a case that is, to put it simply, unprecedented.

Opening in 261 nationwide — many of which were rented out by Warner Bros. due to the simultaneous release of the film On Demand. In those theaters it pulled in $2 million total. It's a pretty healthy number for quantity of seats, but that's the thing: When it comes to opening weekend numbers, this film doesn't have any precedents from which to guess what's gonna happen next. Could it keep up this momentum and make the film's full budget back within the week? It could. Could the hype peter-out come tomorrow and the film slog along from here? That's also possible.

Forbes' Scott Mendelson expounds on some of the business of all of this:

With $1m on Friday, it’s arguably the least-shocking 2.0x multiplier in modern history. Maybe it has something vaguely resembling legs and gets to $6m, or maybe it’s the most front-loaded movie of all time and it’s done after today. It will be interesting to watch because, again, there is just no precedent for this. Of course, at least some of that $5.7m raised was “compensated” via digital downloads of the film, so that’s a sizable chunk of the VOD audience already accounted for. Again, this is a strange release, completely without precedent in box office history.

In the coming weeks we'll get Divergent and Captain America: The Winter Soldier to make our box office a little more predictable. Until then, we've got some interesting case studies to bide our time.

Image: Fox Searchlight