Why 'Spring Breakers' Is Already a Huge Small Hit

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Harmony Korine's ode to debauchery and delinquent youth, Spring Breakers, opened in theaters this weekend. It did really well! It did well enough to warrant a separate report from our usual box office musings because, while it only opened in three theaters, it brought in an insane amount of money.

You only got to see Spring Breakers this weekend if you crammed into one of the three theaters in in New York or Los Angeles where it was playing, which happen to be among the biggest grossing theaters in the country: the ArcLight Hollywood in L.A. and the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square and the Regal Union Square in New York. Breakers pulled in $270,000 over the weekend, which averages out to about $90,000 per theater, and makes it the most successful limited release movie this year. It's drawing comparisons to the limited release performances of last year's The Master and Moonrise Kingdom, which were both big time awards movies, from Deadline's Brian Brooks

It also should be noted that Spring Breakers is already Harmony Korine's most successful movie to date by a mile, the L.A. Times' Amy Kaufman was quick to point out. While plenty of people have seen, or at least heard of, his other movies like Kids, no one really paid to see them. His highest grossing movie before Breakers only took in $167,396 -- like, in all. 

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Spring Breakers got a boost from being one of the most blogged-about movies in recent memory. It also helps that the movies stars -- former teen and Disney starlets Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine -- have been everywhere. "The crowd this weekend was overwhelmingly young," Nicolette Aizenberg, a rep for Spring Breakers' distribution company A24, told the Times. "I think James Franco was a huge draw, and the girls have been everywhere. Selena’s fans are a little bit younger, so we didn’t go after them directly, but her audience still showed up." Oh yes, James Franco is also in this movie and he's really, really weird in it. Breakers' success is just the cherry on top of Franco's box office sundae, anyway -- he also stars in the movie that's dominated the box office over the last two weeks. We bow to thee, James Franco. You box office wizard, you.

Eyes will turn towards this weekend when Spring Breakers opens wide. The movie expands to 1,000 theaters in North America. Since it's already played at the highest grossing theaters in industry hotbeds of Los Angeles and New York, its per-screen average has nowhere but down to go. Still, it's a standard movie distribution strategem that hopes buzz and strong box office there can help out in the rest of the country and even some places in Canada, which will get to finally get to watch this thing. An extra bonus? While the the films' budget isn't publicly available, The Hollywood Reporter says it only cost about $2 million to produce. That means it's looking like it's one its way to profitability and, depending on its performance next weekend, and even a decent moneymaker.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.