Lone Survivor, August: Osage County limited box officeThe Specialty Box Office went up against an onslaught of studio hardware in what could shape up to be a record-breaking holiday weekend overall. With a number of new or almost new power-houses vying for moviegoer dollars, The Weinstein Company bowed its star-packed August: Osage County in 5 theaters in what will surely be the beginning of a sizable run after putting off its initial planned theatrical roll out in the fall.August: Osage County The film grossed almost $180K for a $35,895 screen average. That number easily gave the film starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch and others the highest specialty PSA of the weekend, but given its lauded cast and awards possibility, including its Golden Globes noms, its initial prowess at the box office suggests the title has room to dazzle. TWC will move the Toronto Film Fest title outside its exclusive New York and L.A. runs into two additional markets next weekend before going wide the following week.

TWC noted August: Osage County had an A- Cinemascore and said its exit polls were “through the roof.”

Lone Survivor Box officeAlso notable this weekend, Universal opened its Mark Wahlberg and Taylor Kitsch starrer Lone Survivor in limited release. Though not a straight “Specialty” title, the studio went for a two theater bow for the true-story drama adapted from Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell’s memoir of 2005′s failed Operation Red Wings, in which 19 soldiers died. Uni is hoping to gain awards traction for the pic, and it did start off solid at the box office grossing $92,468 in two runs for a $46,234 average. Universal will take the pic wide in the coming weeks.

SPC’s The Invisible Woman began its theatrical run in a trio of locations, also receiving a limited bow among theater-goers with an array of choices. Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, the Charles Dickens bio-drama grossed over $37K, averaging $12,383. Fiennes only other directorial effort, Coriolanus, opened in 9 theaters, grossing $61K-plus for a $6,793 PSA, so Invisible Woman is showing some comparative heft, but it will need some good word-of-mouth to propel it into a long theatrical life. It will expand into January.

Sony Classics added two theaters for The Past in its second weekend, grossing over $39K for a $7,848 average. The film by Oscar-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi opened with a $10,314 average in three theaters last week. China Lion kept Personal Tailor in nine theaters in its second frame, taking in $51K ($5,670 average). It opened with an $11,555 PSA last week. China Lion said it expects the film to “continue to play well into January.” The film will expand next Friday.

Mandela: Long Walk To FreedomTWC’s Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, however, had by far the weekend’s biggest Specialty expansion. After spending several weeks in just several theaters even as Nelson Mandela’s death was covered widely at the beginning of the month, the film about the venerated South African leader headed into a whopping 975 theaters, hoping to capitalize on some of that public interest. It grossed over $2.42M, averaging $2,484. It ranked 13th in the overall box office. TWC’s Philomena boasted a slightly higher PSA in its sixth week, grossing $1.829M in 727 theaters (down from 738 last week), averaging $2,516.

CBS Films continued its incremental expansion of awards contender Inside Llewyn Davis, adding 13 theaters in its fourth weekend. The Coen brothers-directed period drama starring Oscar Isaacs, nevertheless increased its PSA over the previous weekend. It grossed over $1.25 million in 161 theaters, averaging $7,792. Llewyn Davis grossed just over $1.06M, averaging $7,169 last week. Noted CBS Films Sunday: “The most encouraging news of all is that the film is playing broadly in markets across the country suggesting that positive word of mouth is not limited to just NY and LA.” It has cumed over $4.625M and will head into wide release next month.

Janus Films’ Best Foreign Language hopeful The Great Beauty also had a PSA jump. The Italian feature maintained its 42 theater run in its seventh weekend, grossing over $73K for a $1,746 PSA. Last week it averaged $1,638 in the same number of locations and has cumed over $786K.

NEW

August: Osage County (The Weinstein Company) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $179,475, Average $35,895
The Invisible Woman (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $37,149, Average $12,383, Cume $58,265 (Wed. Open)

Returning / 2nd Weekend

The Past (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Weekend $39,240, Average $7,848, Cume $93,244
Personal Tailor (China Lion) Week 2 [9 Theaters] Weekend $51K, Average $5,670, Cume $253K

Holdovers / 3RD+ Weekends

Inside Llewyn Davis (CBS Films) Week 4 [161 Theaters] Weekend $1,254,574, Average $7,793, Cume $4,625,289
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (The Weinstein Company) Week 5 [975 Theaters] Weekend $2,422,000, Average $2,484, Cume $4,731,468
Philomena (The Weinstein Company) Week 6 [727 Theaters] Weekend $1,829,000, Average $2,516, Cume $16,506,423
The Great Beauty (Janus Films) Week 7 [42 Theaters] Weekend $73,344, Average $1,746, Cume $786,373
Nebraska (Paramount Vantage) Week 7 [250 Theaters] Weekend $800K, Average $3,200, Cume $5,773,469
The Book Thief (20th Century Fox) Week 8 [481 Theaters] Weekend $640K, Average $1,331, Cume $17,910,492
Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features) Week 9 [124 Theaters] Weekend $286,805, Average $2,313, Cume $15,774,369
All Is Lost (Roadside/Lionsgate) Week 11 [66 Theaters] Weekend $63,950, Average $968, Cume $5,946,900
12 Years A Slave (Fox Searchlight) Week 11 [154 Theaters] Weekend $388K, Average $2,519, Cume $37,813,984
Inequality For All (RADiUS-TWC) Week 14 [1 Theater] Weekend $402, Cume $1,191,394
20 Feet From Stardom (RADiUS-TWC) Week 29 [8 Theaters] Weekend $4,223, Average $145, Cume $4,808,373

For more estimates listed by title, see box office results here...